Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year, and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.
If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit uhcmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more.
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Vanguard Marketing Corporation distributor. This is Lee Habib, and this is our American Stories. And we tell stories about everything here on the show, and we especially love stories about our own history. And today we have Winter Presapio, an author from Texas. Here she is talking about the time she wrote a book called Weird U.S. Laws. Strange, bizarre, wacky, and absurd.
Here's Winter. Ten years ago, I took a sabbatical from working, and I decided I really wanted to pursue writing a little bit more seriously. So I started to look for opportunities to write. Because I like humor writing, and it comes very easily to me, and a long time ago I had also worked for something called Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. So I had actually worked in tort reform, talking about how small businesses were getting killed by these little frivolous lawsuits. I reached out to an editor who was looking for a writer to write about the weird U.S. laws, and they're a Canadian company, so they find us incredibly amusing from that standpoint. And it was a lot of fun.
I got to work with an illustrator and another writer, and we took on the book. I know a lot of the weird laws in Texas, some of which still exist, like you cannot carry a pair of fence cutters in your back pocket. And all of these things, you know, whenever you come across a law like that, you're like, that is just dumb. When you trace its history, that's where I think it's so interesting, because everything has a story.
That's what makes it a lot of fun. There's the story because someone used to cut the fences, and then when the cows would get out from these areas, they were considered anybody's. And then they would take those cows and rebrand them as their own, and just say, well, you know, he was wandering loose.
So it was all about stopping that kind of cattle theft. But the law is still on the books. And, you know, it's hard enough to get a law to pass, let alone try to deal with all the messy laws that are on the books. I don't think anyone in modern times has been convicted from carrying, you know, one of those wire cutters in their back pocket. I don't take any chances.
I don't carry them in my back pocket, just in case somebody's super serious about it. There were a lot of laws about spitting. You know, there are days where I feel like that law should be more followed.
Again, spitting on the sidewalk. This is back in the day when we had to deal with a lot of spittoons and all that kind of stuff. So those were laws that were pretty common back at that time period. There were a lot of laws around the idea of what was allowed with women, you know, like what women could do, what they could wear, all those kinds of things. It all reflects back on our long history as a country, right, where we're all trying to adjust behavior. And that's what happened throughout all of the U.S., is that we have all these laws that are all about, you know, managing behavior that one person found incredibly annoying and one person happened to be in a position to pass a law.
And so a lot of these laws are historical remnants. You know, they're like your attic. You know, you put something in there, you thought it was worth saving, then you move. Somehow you don't have time to unpack that box to see if you really want it. You move, you carry it with you.
You still haven't unpacked it. You know, it just becomes this thing that follows you from place to place. And that's the way some of these weird U.S. laws are. And some of this speaks back when people were, when we were in a more rural kind of community, right? We had chickens everywhere. We had all kinds of different animals. So in Tennessee, they passed law, Tennessee Code 70-4-208, which made it illegal to import skunks unless they were headed to bona fide zoological parks and research institutions.
We have a skunk that comes to our house and eats our cat food, and I feel like I don't need to import any. So at one time there were bunnies in New York City. It was a significant problem, and somebody thought that it was a good idea to shoot them from trolley cars.
Just think about that. You're out there, you're waiting to catch the trolley car, and then all of a sudden there's some rabbit hunter on there who just spots a rabbit headed for the tracks, and they just decide to shoot it. So they decided to make that illegal. Something, I think, a law that should continue to exist, maybe. And then in Kansas, they made it illegal for hunters to shoot at rabbits from motorboats.
And it is motorboats specifically, so if you're in a kayak or a sailboat, I guess it's okay. That's the kind of law. That's the one where, for example, that makes me think, somebody had a serious enough problem with people shooting rabbits from motorboats that they felt like they needed to come up with a law saying that that wasn't okay. That's when you're thinking, that's a law about one person. It's Ted over there who has the ten acres and he brings his boat out, and he's just trying to pop off the rabbits on shore of Roger's place.
And then, unfortunately for Ted, Roger is a city council person. I think what it really says about us is that when we want to solve a problem, we want it solved forever. Canadians are notorious for their politeness. They're notorious for their tolerance.
We're not notorious for our politeness. I think that this speaks to that whole thing saying, not only am I going to tell you not to do that, but I'm going to pass the law, so you never get to do it again, whatever that thing might be. It also speaks to, it's illegal to have an elephant in downtown Tulsa. So when you think about that, well, sure, of course it should be illegal to have an elephant traipsing around town, but it wasn't enough to just say, you can't have an elephant here. Apparently, the person who had the elephant there just said, no, I can't, there's no law against it. So you just get into the slippery slope of, you know, surely that's just a public disturbance or, you know, wild animals in general. Non-domesticated pets can't be loose in downtown Tulsa, but no, they have to be very specific about it.
So what I think it says about us is that we want to say not just no, but heck no, you can't do that. Thanks to Winter Persapio for giving us a little bit of humor, shooting bunnies from a motorboat, and so much more. Stories about strange laws, funny laws, here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country, and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about America's rich past are about the stories we tell about America's rich past. Know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture, and faith, are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, a place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life, and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.
Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. Doing household chores can already be time-consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more than that. Time-consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done.
I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So, if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try All-Free Clear Mega Packs. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. Which, my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So, the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that All-Free Clear Mega Packs, they have your back.
Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Hey, you guys. This is Tori and Jenni with the 902.1 OMG Podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NURTEC ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th Poll Event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NURTEC ODT Remigipant 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango? It's true! I had one that night and I took my NURTEC ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NURTEC ODT Remigipant 75 mg. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.
But thankfully, NURTEC ODT Remigipant 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So, lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.
If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit uhcmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we're back with our American Stories. Up next, you're going to hear from Tracey Ugele. She's telling the story of her adoption and the 46-year-long journey of searching for her sisters, who were adopted by different families.
Here's Tracey with her story. I had mom and dad, and they had a son and a daughter, and my brother was almost 20 years older than me. Then I had a sister named Mary, and she was 15 years older than me. So I was kind of the only one in the house with mom and dad, and a lot of people think my life sounds like something you would have on Oprah or have on a talk show. But honestly, my life was very, very low-key and chill. Every day my dad came in from work, and my mom had supper on the table, and she washed the dishes, and I dried them.
And we watched TV at night and got up in the mornings, and my mom made breakfast, and it was just very normal. Of course, I never knew I was adopted. I was adopted sometime before I was a year old, and my parents treated the word adoption like a bad word, so we never said the A-word at our house.
And so therefore, I didn't even know. A neighbor's child told me I was adopted, and I was like in the fourth grade, and I didn't even know what that meant. She sat me down. She kind of walked back and forth in front of me, and she was like, okay, so you know your parents? Well, they're not your real parents. They adopted you. And of course, it was a little scary, and it was sad, and she said, have you not ever noticed how much older they are than everybody else's parents? And I said no, and I noticed from that point on. So when I went home that night, of course I asked my mom if I was adopted, and you could just see the blood drain out of her face. I guess it was kind of her worst fear happening because she didn't ever talk to me about being adopted, and so I had no concept of what that even was.
And of course, I didn't get to play with that little girl for a year, but my mother just really put it to bed for me. She said, we chose you. We wanted you. We picked you.
You're special. And I felt like a prized possession. It was very, very comforting what my mother said to me.
The only drawback was the fear that I kind of had. Every night then, I was sad because I was afraid something was going to happen to my parents because now I was super aware that they were older than everybody else's parents. So you fast forward, and now I know and I'm aware, and so I had a cousin that I was really close to. She was like a year and a half older than me, and she told me one day when we were playing, I was probably in about the sixth grade now, she said, you know we're really sisters. And I said, you know, no, I had no idea because when I found out and my mom and we talked about it, she didn't say any details. So now, all of a sudden, I find out I have a sister. I loved finding that out. It was kind of our little secret.
We didn't talk about it. It was just something we knew, and we have always had really close bond, and so it's always been wonderful to have Renee in my life. And she had another sister and a brother, so we all had the same biological mother. So now I know that I have a sister and then her younger sister, and then we have an older brother.
So now I realize there's three girls and a boy. Well, also my sister that was my friend, cousin Renee, she knew that there was two other siblings that were adopted out at birth. So she began to tell me the stories over the years. I guess as she found out more information growing up, she would share it with me. So there was two adopted out at birth, born in 73 and 75. We did not know them. They were adopted out through DHS and the system in Alabama. So as me and Renee began to get older and have families, the curiosity was a lot. It was very, very private adoptions.
It was through the state of Alabama. I grew up and became a nurse, so I went and looked at my file in the health department. And I asked questions to friends and people that were there. Of course, they couldn't tell me anything. But the truth was, their files were sealed so that you couldn't find out anything because it was a private adoption through the state of Alabama. Nobody, even from our town, knew where they were because we were friends with the attorney that handled it.
We were friends with judges and they couldn't even help us because it was private adoptions through the state and everything was done in Montgomery and you couldn't find them. I just knew their biological names and I knew the date that they were born on. So I would always kind of, out of curiosity, say, hey, when's your birthday? Any time anybody would say, hey, you kind of look like so-and-so's wife, you know, or have you met so-and-so? They really look like you.
I always wondered, is this somebody that's in my school? When we went to Disney World, I wondered, oh, could they be here? If we were shopping out of town, I would wonder when I passed people. It was not a little thing.
It was kind of a big deal. Where are these two siblings? Where are my two sisters? Because I was very close to the ones that I did know. And you would be surprised at how that just was a theme in life. No matter where I was, if someone looked close to my age and favored me in any way, I had this burden almost to find out what their birthday was. It was just such a letdown every time.
I don't know what I expected. At some point, I just thought somebody was going to say those dates, and when they never did, it was just another letdown. It was hundreds of times. It was my whole life. In 2018, I got a call from my friend that had also had a situation where she found out about her adoption.
She called me and said, you have to get on Ancestry.com. Of course, I was just, I don't know, I've been burned so many times in finding out things that I just was like, okay, I'll do it. So I got on there and ordered my kit, and it came in in just like two days.
I did the kit, sent it off, but really just forgot about it. Well, in about six weeks, I opened my email one morning and absolutely freaked out. I opened my email and had a match. I immediately had a match for a half-sister, and it blew my mind. Ancestry is a little hard to read.
It gives you several options. It said half-sister or first cousin once removed. It was like, okay, so this possibly could be. So I messaged her and said, okay, hey, I think we may be related. Call me. Well, then I called my sister Renee, and I told her, okay, you're not going to believe this, but I've messaged someone that we have a match with. I can't wait to hear back.
I don't know what it is, for sure. And so she didn't respond, so of course I messaged her again about lunch, and I kept thinking, whoever this is, maybe she'll see it during lunch, and she didn't. So then I continued to Facebook. Her spelling of her name was a little different, so it was easy to find her.
I was like, oh, my goodness, that looks like me. And you're listening to Tracy Ugli, and she's on a mission, a sort of a CSI case, to find out who her sister is. By the way, hearing her parents say these words, we chose you, we wanted you, you're special. And her saying, I felt like a prized possession, well, it says everything about the power of love and adoption, and we love adoption stories here on Our American Stories, and they're complicated.
When we come back, more of Tracy Ugli's quest to find her siblings and find out who she is and who her people are here on Our American Stories. Doing household chores can already be time-consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try All-Free Clear Mega Packs. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs, which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that All-Free Clear Mega Packs, they have your back.
Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. It's true. I had one that night and I took my NURTEC ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NURTEC ODT Remedipant 75 mg. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.
But thankfully, NURTEC ODT Remedipant 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.
If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. Music And we return to our American stories and to Tracy Ugoli telling the story of her adoption. When we last left off, she just matched with someone on Ancestry.com who could possibly be her sister. So I messaged her on Facebook. And by the time she got off work, she had several missed messages from someone named Tracy. So that afternoon I had a call and me and my husband passed her church.
And so I was actually in church and I got up and ran to my office. And immediately when we heard each other's voices, it's hard to describe. We just knew something special was happening. And the first thing I asked her was her birthday, which was the question I had asked so many people for so many years. And she said that magical date, January 21st, 1975. I can't explain all of the emotions that happened in that moment because it was like an age-old puzzle was put together for me. And it was amazing.
I could have just laid down on the floor and felt like my life is starting to come together in this area. And she didn't understand that question. It was my question to be answered. So it was big. I tried to explain to her how we had looked for her and how we were so curious about her for all these years. And she was overwhelmed to find out that people were out there that really cared about her and wanted to know where she was. And she told me about having great parents. And I guess the next thing she said blew my mind. She said, you know there's two of us.
And I said, I know there's two of y'all, but how do you know there's two of y'all? And she said, well, I found the other one when I was 18 years old. So I said, okay, what's her name? And she said, her name is Stacy. So I was talking to Sherry and Sherry then told me there was a girl named Stacy. And she was the 1973 girl. She was the girl that was right after me. And one thing that was so neat about it is their birth names were changed.
So it would have been very, very difficult to find them because their names were changed. And when I finally talked to Stacy on the phone, the first question I asked her was her birthday. I don't remember thinking about it. It was just a reflex. And she told me her birthday and it was just crazy. So we quickly started having correspondence with all of us. And we planned a meeting place. They lived 30 minutes apart.
And of course me and Renee lived 30 minutes apart. So we just picked a place that was halfway and met in the lobby of a hotel. And it was very, very surreal. We were all crying, hugging and crying. I don't know that we really said anything at first because we were just overcome with emotion. And then we wound up just renting a suite and we went upstairs and just spent the day laughing and talking. So we had just the best day together. That day will probably always really stand out in my mind, just having all of my questions answered.
It was really, really special. We talked about birthday parties. We talked about things we had missed with each other. We talked about each other's families and our kids and our life growing up. We talked a lot about our likes and how they were similar.
We did not grow up together, but you could not tell it about the way we wore our hair, ways we dressed and things we did that were very, very similar. This sounds crazy, but it was the very first day we met. We were in a restaurant and we were saying, I wonder if they have this kind of dessert. We had gotten some pie and we were like, we wish they had strawberry cake. We were laughing so hard because it was like, is that your favorite too?
Is that your favorite too? It was kind of a funny thing just to think, okay, we all like the same cake. When we went back to the hotel room, we took bites of our food and would say, hey, this is for your eighth birthday.
Hey, this is for your ninth birthday. We just kind of celebrated the fact that we all love sweets and we all miss those times together, but we're going to have this now for that. I think we all liked Prince. We were laughing about, we all knew all the same words to the songs. I looked from, I remember being in high school and starting to wonder about people all the way. I'm talking about the summer before I found them. We were on the way from the beach and a girl at Cracker Barrel in South Alabama said, hey, you look just like this girl that was doing some theater. I literally thought, how do I find this person's phone number?
How do I find a way to ask this person their birthday? I really had not given up, but I sure had not envisioned how this would wind up happening. It felt like there was a piece of me that was full and fulfilled. I didn't know what they would be like. Of course, I had some reservations that it wouldn't be the kind of reunion that we really did have, but thankfully we were all people that just came together really, really easily and that we were ready.
I think that's the big deal. We were all ready for it. If in certain areas of our life, certain timeframes, I don't know that we would have been ready to just jump in the way that we did, but it worked out really, really well. I had no idea that our kids would love each other and our husbands would all get along and that we would enjoy each other's companies on this big scale that we do. We pray together. We have Bible study together some. We have made up for a lot of years in this short time by some of the things that we've been able to get together and do. We will get a lake house together a couple of times a year.
We love each other's kids and we get together for Christmas. As our families got smaller, losing parents and that type of thing, it's like now we've had this come into our world and all of us have each other. When we look back over it all, we all had great people loving on us and taking good care of us.
So much that we're so thankful for. We all get together and we just cook and laugh. Sometimes we'll just meet at my house and we'll swim. It's just fun going to Walmart together because we're just enjoying the fact that we found each other. We've only known each other a short time, but it feels like we just picked up where we could have always been. We're not bitter that we didn't have our growing up together. We're just thankful that we have each other now. And a great job on that piece by Madison. And the piece is dripping with gratitude and love.
And my goodness, imagine being in that lobby and just watching that and wondering what's going on. These strangers meeting and picking up as if they'd known each other forever. We all had similar hair. We all had a similar fondness for strawberry cake.
We even all liked prints. And for those who don't believe in God, this is a test. There's God's footprint all over this and a beautiful get-together, a beautiful gathering. And again, the power of love, the power of adoption. And if you have an empty home, think about it. Think about loving a stranger. Think about adopting one and how it could change a world and then the world.
The story of Tracy Ugli, the story of so many adoptees here on Our American Stories. Doing household chores can already be time-consuming and tedious. And there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done.
I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack that's bigger. And two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. My family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that all free clear mega packs, they have your back.
Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Did you all attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango? It's true. I had one that night and I took my NerdTek ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTek ODT Remedipants 75 milligrams. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.
Thankfully, NerdTek ODT Remedipants 75 milligrams is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage.
It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we're back with our American stories. Up next, one of our regular contributors, Dennis Peterson, with a story entitled Big Lessons for a Little Boy.
Here's Dennis. Daddy, a self-employed brick mason, realized the importance of following principles of good labor-management relations. From the time we were big enough to cause trouble for our mother at home until we left for college, he insisted that my brother and I go to work with him. It was on the job that he began teaching us those common-sense principles of labor and management. I certainly did not enjoy the work at the time, but it taught me many valuable lessons, and I frequently recall them. One principle Daddy taught us was to use our time wisely. Wasting time on the job was stealing from the employer.
Using time wisely helps not only the boss, but also the employee. Another lesson that Daddy taught me was never to be found sitting down on the job. If I completed an assigned task and was caught loafing around, he quickly gave me another assignment. I remember cleaning out his cluttered toolbox countless times when there was nothing to do. As a kid, I was often tempted to do as little as possible and to waste time.
Why should I go out of my way to find more work? But Daddy didn't pay my brother and me by the hour. Instead, he paid us by piecework. The more bricks or blocks we helped him lay, the more money we earned. I remember working for 25 cents per hundred bricks carried. Being only a little kid, I could carry only three bricks at a time, but I kept an almost hourly account of the money I was making.
I counted how many bricks I carried and compared that number with how many Daddy was laying. It made me work harder and helped Daddy complete his jobs faster. Samuel Smiles wrote in Thrift, It is the idler above all others who is undignified and dishonorable. No idle or thriftless person ever became great. It is among those who never lost a moment that we find the men who moved and advanced the world.
Daddy also taught us to be loyal and obedient. Workers today are transient creatures. Few of us stay at the same job for any great length of time. A constant shifting of jobs often results in a lack of loyalty. Daddy worked as a full-time, self-employed mason for more than 30 years. Most of that time, he worked for the same few contractors who usually kept him as busy as he wanted to be without expanding his company. He was consistent in his pricing, attendance, and work quality.
And he taught us boys by his example, the importance of loyalty to customers and clients. During that same time, however, he had many different employees in addition to Dale and me. Although many of them were good workers, others were simply job hoppers. They wanted good pay for little effort.
They did not want to show up for work on time, and they wanted to quit early. The workers who worked for Daddy longest were also the most respectful, most obedient, and most diligent. Their years of work gained them not only a good income, but also a good reputation. John Ruskin once said, The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it. Daddy also taught us that to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay was good. But honesty in labor goes far beyond hard work in return for a wage.
It encompasses producing a high-quality product, being truthful in advertising, and desiring to do one's best. I vividly remember Daddy's teaching me to rod joints. He emphasized the importance of getting them smooth and straight. He warned against rotting them before they had had a chance to dry, and of letting them get too hard. Despite these admonitions, I sometimes tried to finish early, making an unsightly mess on the bricks.
Or I procrastinated, making dark, ugly marks in the joints. It took a while for me, childlike as I was, to realize that my ineptness and procrastination or hastiness could affect Daddy's reputation as a mason. Daddy didn't want us to be satisfied with good enough for government work. He wanted us to do the best of which we were capable, not just good enough to get by. Samuel Smiles pointed out the danger of having the wrong attitude toward quality when he wrote in Thrift, It will do is a common phrase of those who neglect little things. It always means stopping short of the right thing.
It is a makeshift. It is a failure and defeat. The old Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, prior to being taken over by Tenneco, tried to combat the it will do mentality. Their slogan was, we shall build good ships here, at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good ships. As if these lessons weren't enough to keep us young boys busy, Daddy also worked to develop in us patience and delayed gratification. We grew up in an instant age.
We had instant coffee, instant tea, instant potatoes, instant winters, and instant pain relief. Like everyone else of that generation, we had so much stuff that was instant that we were sorely tempted not to tolerate waiting for anything. Daddy had to pay his other workers every week, but since Dale and I were his children, he could delay paying us, and he did. In fact, he typically didn't pay us for work during the summer until just before time for us to return to school in the fall. Even when he finally did pay us, he insisted that we save a portion of our earnings. What we didn't save, we were to use for our school needs, for example, clothes and supplies. If we wanted something that cost more than we could afford, he taught us to save our pennies patiently until we had enough to buy it.
Often, we discovered that by the time we'd saved that amount, that we really didn't want that thing after all. Although Daddy paid his regular employees promptly, we witnessed his practicing patience when contractors were negligent in paying him. Sometimes he waited several weeks for a paycheck to come for a job he had completed.
Finally, he would have to call and pester the person to get his payment. He gave the other guy the benefit of the doubt. Daddy was a man of his word, but I never recall his ever-threatening an employee as an incentive for his working properly. He never yelled at them. He established a standard he expected them to maintain in their work, and he worked patiently with them to get them to that standard. If they weren't making progress in that direction, he simply let them go.
No threats. He preferred a more positive approach. With us boys, he gave instructions, he set his expectations, and he expected us to meet them.
No idle threats or yelling. These lessons he taught us were simple, yet they were profound simply because so few people live by them today. I'm glad he taught them to us because they shaped us into who we are today. We've not applied them perfectly or even consistently, but our weaknesses and failures do not change the validity of the arguments. And they are lessons that the next generation would be better for learning and practicing.
And thanks to Robbie for the production on that piece, and a special thanks to Dennis Peterson for contributing the storytelling about his father. Big lessons for a little boy, and what an ingenious thing for the dad to do. Bring the kids to work. Give them jobs and give them hard jobs. And teaching them about labor and management, both sides of the coin, is really important. And my goodness, that idea that an honest day's work for an honest day's pay is good. Wow, what a terrific lesson for life. And also that his dad taught him to, well, work for their money by paying by piece work and not by the hour. By the way, the light bulb went off in the kid's head.
We'll get paid more if we're productive, and we'll pay less if we slow walk this. Great lessons, lessons only parents can tell. And parents, if not, well, the outer world will teach some lessons to the kids and they may not be yours.
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