Robert James Adkisson
B: January 31, 1902 — Rhea County, TN
D: April 28, 1983 — Boulder, CO
Just thought I’d write a little about my Grandpa since tomorrow would be his birthday. I remember him very well. My earliest recollections of him, and I must have been around 4, was that he was a big man and loved to fish.
At an early age the family moved from Tennessee to Arkansas. Grandpa’s mother died when he was young. He started working in the coal mines around Williams, OK. When the mines closed down the family moved to Colorado, but there was no work in the mines when they arrived, therefore, they lived in the Pitkin area and he worked as a lumberjack. The family of six lived in a one-room cabin in the mountains. After a short time there, the mines were hiring in Boulder County and the family moved to Superior, Colorado.
Grandpa spent thirty years working in the coal mines. He was also a truck driver, and when I came to know him he was working in the Boulder brick yard. All of this time he still loved to fish. Eventually that became the bond between us, he would take me fishing. Also, I went to the rodeo with him and ball games.
I guess the main thing I remembered about him was his work ethic. He worked hard and expected others to do the same. Besides fishing and baseball, he used to like to fight. Most of it was in fun–wrestling, but from I know he was known to be able to take care of himself.
Death sort of came the same way. He was sitting on the couch in the living room. My Aunt Bern asked if she could get him anything, perhaps a cup of milk. Grandpa liked milk. He said he would get it himself, got up, and coming back from the kitchen, just before sitting down he gave a big sigh and sat–dying.
“Man goes forth to his work and remains at his task until evening.”
–Psalm 104:23 (AMPC)
Whereas Grandpa was a hard-worker and maybe that was his lot in life, though he would not agree with that. He believed that he was supposed to work. He believed that all are supposed to work. That was not his lot in life, that was his purpose in life.
Definitely the work ethic in this country has changed. The newer generations bounce around from job to job. They expect beneifts an high salary from the start. Don’t dare tell them they have to pay their dues, if you do they’ll quit and go looking for someplace else to exploit.
Many, today, do not want growth, they want something that is free. They don’t want to earn their way, they want it given to them. They have yet to learn a major lesson in life: nothing’s free. What maybe even worse is that they do not want personal growth. That will take time and effort. It would be well to remember that work is the kin to character development.
Just because you give someone a tool, it doesn’t mean they will take care of it, or that they will learn how to use it. Elmer Kelton wrote, “Dull knife, dull boy.” Listen, there’s much truth in that statement.