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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Story about my dad's dad

My grandpa on my dad's side was an interesting character. He was a full time farmer and a full time school teacher at the same time and a part time welder on the side among other things. He had a farm hand named Sprewell (I don't know about the spelling but that's what it sounded like) that lived in an old house on his farm.

One time my grandpa needed to move some hay and he wanted to get it moved soon so he needed another hand to help. He packed up Sprewell and my dad in the old farm truck and headed over to where the local day laborers hung out to wait for a job for the day. My dad said he was about 7 or 8 so that would have put this some time during World War II. At any rate Grandpa ended up hiring a black man to help load this hay on the truck and then unload it at their destination.

Being the boss my grandpa brought water can. At the first break my grandpa took out the only cup and filled it with water and offered it to the black guy first. After he had his drink my grandpa offered it to Sprewell.

Sprewell said "I'm not drinking after that n*****" and refused to take a drink.

My Grandpa said "That's fine with me" and he drank then gave the cup to my dad. My dad said he thought "If my dad is going to drink after him then it must be ok" so he drank.

This happened during the summer and it was hot loading that hay. The second break was a repeat of the first break and Sprewell still didn't get a drink.

I don't know what goes through the mind of someone like that. Even if he drank first on this break and the black man had to drink second then on the next break he'd still be drinking after the black man.

At any rate Sprewell finally got thirsty enough to drink after the black man. Sprewell was probably surprised that it didn't kill him.

Apparently my grandpa was satisfied with the work the new guy did because he hired the same man to help move some more hay the next day.

Sprewell brought his own water can and cup so he didn't have to drink after anyone.

Actions speak louder than words and my grandpa put his ideas into action that day. My dad said he always paid a fair wage for a fair days work regardless of who it was working. My dad told me that story many years ago and it has always stuck with me for some reason.


The Other Mike S. said...

That type of ignorance just floors me. I have always said that I hate diversity in the workplace - I want to hire ONLY the very best employee, regardless of their race or religion.

Especially out here in CA, that's sadly not always possible...

HT to your grandpa, btw!

Dragon said...

Yer Pap sounds alot like mine...PTL Pap and pass the water.


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