Falling Short

As a kid growing up we didn't have much in the way of material goods. Dad was a school teacher and Mom stayed home to be sure the four of us got started off on the right foot. In an effort to stretch the family dollars as far as they'd go, resourcefulness became one of my Dad's great qualities.

Our family home was loaded with antiques, not high-brow pieces, but old things cast off and refurbished. Basements, garages, and curbs were the places we shopped. Stripping, painting, staining, repairing, and recovering were always happening in our garage.

In keeping with the family ingenuity, we decided one time that it would be nice to build a barbecue pit in the back yard out of used bricks that Dad and I picked up off of a vacant lot. My job was to chisel the old mortar off the bricks. I worked for what seemed an eternity in my third grade sense of time.

With one fateful swing, my hammer glanced off the chisel. My knuckle and the brick met in a mismatched duel. It was my first experience of getting dizzy with pain as the skin and the blood and the dirt and the mortar mixed together.

I left the tools beside the brick pile and went inside. Mom patched me up and Dad reassured me.

I didn't say it, but inside I wanted to quit and leave the pile of bricks where they were. But that wasn't an option.

I finished the bricks. Dad and I built a nice barbecue pit behind our house on Clegurne Rd. in Edmond, Oklahoma. It worked great and hosted lots of wiener roasts.

I am indebted to my folks for making sure I learned the value of finishing a task and doing it right. Many years have passed since I was in third grade, but the scar on my knuckle is still visible. It reminds me: Falling short is not an option.

Next blog? Falling short of grace