Another summer at camp, this year started a bit earlier and
work with maintenance team getting the entire campground ready. Mowing, airing
out buildings and cabins, minor repairs and of course back to my job of pots
and pans. The summer flew by and I mostly have good memories of this time. Many
new experiences help with that even when one is working hard.
Summer back to school I went, now it has been a day or two, I am not sure when I started training to be a lifeguard and the local YMCA. I do remember by the time I could drive I had job there. Basic lifeguard duties in around the pool. This is a good job to have and you get to me many interesting people.
When I look back this is one of my favorite summers ever. We read about, watch tv shows and movies about going off to work your stay with a relative. This was that time for me. I took a break from lifeguarding and went to work with my Grandfather and Uncle in the family business of tree removal & demolition. Talk about a summer of learning and education.
They got me an old Chevy pickup, 3 speed, straight 6, it was rough, had to be careful because only one brake worked well so if you had to slam the brakes good chance of going sideways. I don’t remember who thought it up, at that time I was planning on becoming a mechanic, a good way for me to learn my traded was to work on that old beast. I did a lot to that truck over the summer and by the end it was quite mechanically sound. Still rough around the edges that would change in the years to come. What was supposed to be some summer transportation ended up staying around and switch hands back and forth a couple times.
I had many firsts that summer,
Learn to use a chainsaw properly
Cut a tree down – Middle of nowhere
Run end loaders
Move big trucks around
How to properly rake a yard
How to hustle
Work hard and enjoy the evening & time off
The list of experiences goes on, this is just top high lights of a 16 year old.
One major lesson I learned over that summer doing a city contract of trimming and removal of hazard trees. One of my jobs was to sweep the street up when done, a big walk behind brush was bought. I believe in the 10-15k range, the price is important in this instance. We had been moving from location to location quickly. Somewhere along the day I quit putting the safety strap up after I loaded the sweeper in the back of the truck. I would just set the brake and move on to the next location. Sometimes not even more than block at a time. Well in this one instance, I popped the clutch a little hard, I had forgotten to set the brake, no safety strap, the sweeper rolled right out of the back of the truck. My uncle was around the corner watched it happen. First thing he did was pull around behind me. Walk up and ask if I was OK.
We proceeded to check out the sweeper no worse for wear besides some scratches. We got it load back up in the truck. Brake set safety strap in place. My Uncle paused; I received a life lesson that day. (many more in the years to come) I was a bit stressed; I had potentially almost broken a brand-new expensive piece of equipment due to me not following procedure. Thing is my Uncle was not upset with me he was upset at himself.
You see he had been watching me all day not put the strap on, he had even been pushing me to hustle to the next location. This is what he told me “He knew better than to let me not follow procedure. That not doing so cost us more time in the long run and possible injury. He was glad I was OK.” Here is the part that has stuck with me “that a piece of equipment can be repaired or replaced, yes there is a cost factor. That comes nowhere close to the cost of an injury or death of a person” It is only money, you can always make more, material things can be replaced. Even later in life when guarding multi million-dollar assets I kept that in mind.
I will leave you with that lesson for now, think on it when you go about your day.
Agnitio Veritas Macto