Men at Work

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There is a stereotype of road workers standing around leaning on their shovels. While this photo reinforces the stereotype, I believe these guys are waiting for a fresh load of asphalt. I worked construction when I was young, and no matter what the stereotypes are, construction workers have hard jobs, and often have to work outside in bad weather this time of year. I remember digging footings and having to use a pickaxe to break up the frozen soil in single digit temperatures back in my days as a construction worker. I was young and stupid back then.

But today’s photo reminded me of when we were living in Spain, and we came home one summer. Tristan had a rat that died and we were having a funeral for it. I had dug the hole and was leaning on the shovel, with Laurie and my parents gathered around the hole while Tristan read from a book of prayers from the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church. While we were in the middle of the funeral for a rat, one of my guitar students drove up in his pickup truck with his windows down and music blasting, parked, got out and asked what was going on. I told him we were burying a rat, so he stood around the hole with us while we finished the last rites, then I gave Tristan the shovel, and went off to give my student his guitar lesson. After we started the lesson my student paused and said “I’m sorry I barged in on the funeral like that. When I saw everyone standing around a freshly dug hole, and you leaning on a shovel, it looked like a normal work project for New Mexicans!”

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