Let me tell you this. Early on a cold, winter Sunday morning, just this past Sunday to be exact, I was driving my twelve year old son to his baseball practice. We were driving on the road parallel to Oyster Bay, when my boy saw this man out on the bay in his boat. I have lived just over a year in Oyster Bay, and I see men in boats daily, out on the bay practicing their trade. I am not entire certain exactly what these men are harvesting, but I believe it’s oysters. (*Edit: I have since been told they are harvesting clams not oysters) They can be seen with what appear to be rakes, raking the bottom of the bay from their boats. My son, likewise, has seen them doing this on multiple occasions, but on this particularity blustery morning, he felt compelled to say something.
“Hey Dad, that guy is crazy! It’s freezing, and it must be even colder out there on the water!”
I pulled over to take this picture. I looked at my son and said, “Well son, that’s his job. He probably has a family, and maybe even a son like you. That is how he earns his living. That is how he pays his bills and puts food on his family’s table. I agree, it is probably absolutely frigid out there, but that’s what people do. That’s what MEN do son. They provide for themselves and their family.”
My son looked at me, then back out at the man on the boat in the frozen bay.
“But Dad, it’s so cold out there! It must be really hard.”
I replied, “I’m sure it is son, but that’s his job.”
I was grateful that my son was able to appreciate just how hard this man, and the other men like him, work. I must admit, I’ve secretly thought similar things when seeing them out there every day, and I’ve always respected them for braving the elements as they do.
“Well son, look at you. You are on a baseball team, right? It’s the middle of the winter, and you can’t play baseball outside now, right?”
He shook his head, and said, “No, we can’t. We can’t play because all the fields are covered with snow.”
“But you still work hard, don’t you? You got up early on a Sunday to go practice, right?”
“Yeah”, was his response.
“Well son, you do that so you can play the best baseball you can for yourself and for your team. That man gets up early and goes to work so he can provide for himself and his family. My point is, you both work hard because that’s what men do: work hard to be the best you can be.”
It was clear by the smile that my son liked being compared with the hard working man on the bay.
“You worked hard too right Dad?”
“Yes, I did son.”
“You used to get up very early to go to work, right? And you worked in all kinds of weather too, right Dad?”
“Yes I did son. I’ve work in all kinds of weather. Snow, rain, wind, really hot days, and really cold days. Police work all the time in whatever weather there is, because we always need police.”
“And now you are retired, and don’t have to work anymore, right Dad?”
I chuckled, “Well son, that’s the plan, but we’ll see how that works out. If I have to go back to work, or if I decide I want to get another job, I will do whatever I have to do. Because that’s what people do son. That’s what MEN do. That’s what RESPONSIBLE MEN do.”
“Is writing on your blog work Dad?”
I chuckled again, “Sort of son, yes. I am practicing my writing just like you practice your baseball, and for the same reason: so maybe someday I can write a book. Then that will become my new job.”
“Writing isn’t the same as working in cold weather Dad.”
I laughed out loud this time and replied, “No, it’s not quite the same son, but it is still work. Not everyone is good at writing, and I’d like to get better. That is why I try to practice a lot, and write as often as I can. Think of it as what you do in school. It’s like school work.”
“Will you get famous Dad?”
I looked at him and smiled, “Probably not son, but you never know. It’s like you and your baseball. You could grow up and be a famous baseball player some day, but we both know how hard that is, and we both know the odds are not in favor of that happening, but you still practice hard all the time, and try your best. That’s what I plan on doing son. I plan on practicing a lot and trying my best.”
“Cause that’s what men do, right Dad?”
“That’s right son. That’s what men do.”
But hey, I’m just a cop.by