Growing up in Jacksonville, my father was not only a minister, but was also a custom home builder. This meant that every time I was not in school, on summer break, spring break, holidays,etc.,I got to go to work with my dad. yay. To be honest I used to despise having to go to work because: 1. It wasn’t fun 2. It was hard work and 3. I would have rathered been at home or off with my friends. My dad use to tell me how much he needed me and how much he enjoyed having me go to work with him, but frankly I thought he could find just about anybody to do what I did, which for many years was pick up trash, sweep, and carry lumber and plywood, oh and let us not forget nailing on blessed hurricane anchors! Needless to say those days are long past and I honestly don’t miss those tasks (even though I still do them).
What I do remember best about going to work with my dad, was his employees. My earliest memories of going to work with my dad included a man who I thought hung the moon. John was everything I wanted to be. He hunted, he fished, and he had a beard (insert grunting here). John was always good for some kind of joke or weird saying but I really looked up to him. As I grew older, John went to work elsewhere but managed to stay in touch with me, by getting me interested in bow hunting and 3d tournament shooting, hunting in the Nassau WMA, and allowing me to hangout with him and be an influence on his kids. John is now a pastor and I haven’t heard from him in a few years but he will always be a part of my life! So thank you John!
Lawrence came to work for my dad when I was around eight. Right away he and I became friends because he showed interest in me and what I was doing. Lawrence always had some kind of story or useless historical fact and we both shared a love for Calvin & Hobbes. My greatest memory with Lawrence is the time we blew up a 55 gallon drum on the job site with this quite large “firecracker”. My Dad was hacked and I remember him going off about the dangers of that and how he could get hurt…but that sucker went 50 foot into the air! Lawrence went to seminary with my dad in Orlando. While he was down there he met a woman, they had some kids and they now live in Virginia where they are part of a study center and Lawrence is a pastor there. I haven’t talked to him in a couple of years either but he still influences my life to this day. Thank you Lawrence.
Mark is still in the home building business. He came to work for my dad not long after graduating high school. Mark and I became really close when I was in high school. He had been working for my dad ten years by this time but he knew how to relate to me and helped explain a lot of life lessons to me. There were many times when my dad would send Mark and I off to do errands and punch out on houses. My favorite memory with Mark was the Saturday morning my dad sent him to pick me up and we were to go dig a footer for a large house ina ritzy subdivision. I happened to have a box of Krispy Kremes at home so I brought them and a large container of chocolate milk to wash them down. On the way there we saw an advertisement for green boiled peanuts, and we thought that sounded tasty as well. Needless to say after the doughnuts, peanuts, milk and hot Florida sun, the footers did not get accomplished that day due to the fact we were too busy vomiting. Nothing like a miserable morning of regurgitated food to bring guys together! Thanks Mark for who you are!
These guys are not the only ones either. There was Richard, Darin, Alan, Eddie, Greg, and many more. However, there is a common thread in all of these guys. My dad. My dad invested his life in these men and in return they invested in me as well. The times when I thought my dad was pawning me off on somebody else, he was allowing me to be influenced by someone that he thought was worth investing in. My dad would sit around at break time and lunch time and have discussions and bible study with these guys. No doubt that these men are who they are today because of the time invested with them. Looking back, all of those times when I was “forced” to go to work, were times when I learned about life, and what it meant to be a man. Now that I am older, I see that my dad wasn’t just building houses, he was building Godly men. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything and I am thankful for the influence my dad has had on my life and the lives of these men! So thanks dad!