As part of our anniversary celebration throughout 2017, we will feature some of our favorite stories from the past 25 years. These will include some of our award-winning stories and photos, and re-prints of the unique articles that make this publication special. These stories are easily identified with our “25th Anniversary Feature” banner.
This Mother’s Day I would like to acknowledge the best employee I have ever had on the payroll: my mom, the proofreader. She happily reads every single word of this publication, and this paper is nearly error-free because of her commitment.
As a retired teacher, mom had some outstanding credentials, and was considered a blue chip prospect for the position. I had to let a proofreader go, who came with the paper when I bought it many years ago. I figured that former employee understood the reason.
It was a good idea to hire mom. She sort of keeps the balance here. When it gets stressful at deadline and everything seems out of control and on the verge of outright violence, I remember that my mother works here and that helps me reel everything in a tad.
Now she works for me, but a long time ago I used to work for her. Mom used to do some envelope stuffing, labeling and mailing for a small business owner. I was about 5-years-old, and I could help out by licking stamps and sealing envelopes. My dad was in law school at night, so this little bit of work mom had was an important part of our family’s income.
There is a long history of work in my family. Our family tree is a well-aged hardwood, with branches of labor both physical and mental. Like most Americans, some of my family’s forefathers arrived here from some European country (Holland / Netherlands / Germany) a few centuries ago, and they showed up early for work the next day.
This work ethic has been passed down from previous generations and still continues today. I can remember quite well being put to work on my grandparent’s farm in Indiana. I was around 7 or 8, and already they were eyeing my spine, hoping it was going to be mule-strong so they could get some mileage out of me.
The next chapter of the Bruns family has already taken the baton in this race and is off to a serious lead. Our son Hambone* has contracted some bizarre adult work disorder. The kid would rather work than play, and I don’t mean he’s excited to come to the office and pay a little visit. I mean the kid would rather have a job at this point in life, complete with a salary, benefits and a good chance for promotion.
It’s something we’re still trying to figure out. If you want to occupy Hambone’s entire afternoon, put him on trash and recycle duty at the Arcadia News office. Yardwork does the trick, too – he loves to work a broom, but the hose is his favorite for cleanup time. And even though he isn’t allowed to operate the gardening sheers, he’s all over the entire operation, directing movements and explaining duties, especially the ones that have been overlooked. (Daddy. Daaaaaady. Daaaaaaaa-DEE! You missed a spot.)
Our fear at this stage is that Hambone is going to burn himself out before he even gets into grade school. I expect the kid to hold a job through college, but at this rate he may not make it out of the third grade.
If Hambone goes over to my mom and dad’s house for a weekend, it’s fairly certain that he will want to work for the entire visit. Being the good grandparents they are, my parents make sure they save a lot of the little house duties that Hambone can help out with.
By the time he comes back home, he’s got colorful stories about work gloves, some tree trimming tips, and basic lawn maintenance concepts that we should be utilizing on our own property. Toss in a visit to Home Depot and the entire weekend is a raging success, better than any visit to any amusement park in the country.
That’s good work ethics through genetics, I suppose. Like mother, like son; like father, like son.
*To prevent preschool ostracizing, this is the name our first son has been given for this column.