I often think of what I would like to accomplish in this life. Once upon a time, my aspirations included the following: to be a man of some means, to be a great husband and father, and to treat my spouse the best that I could. I wanted a marriage that would stand the test of time, and children that would have a positive impact on humanity. The goal was for my children to attend the best universities and to live happy and full lives. Alas, things have not turned out the way that I wanted. However, I am more than satisfied with my life and how it has turned out.
I have worked in a dairy, been a construction worker, bagboy, busboy, and a soldier. Also, I have cut grass, picked watermelons, thrown hay and done other miscellaneous jobs throughout my life. I started cutting grass at 8 to buy a pair of Reeboks. I liked the feeling of working and earning my own way, so I continued to cut grass until I was 14. At that point I went to work in a watermelon field in Purvis, Mississippi. I did that for an entire summer. We didn’t just pick melons, we also cut okra, picked butterbeans, and threw hay bales. At fifteen, I went to work in a seafood restaurant. I was a bus boy and a dishwasher. Sadly, they closed the doors and for the first time, I was unemployed. I was heartbroken. The next day I went to the local grocery store and found me a job as a bagboy. I did that until I graduated from high school.
My father had purchased a milk route and he needed a good hand. So, I started working with my father. My father and I worked that route for a couple of years, and then he purchased another route. Now we had two routes to run, so I ran the one in Poplarville, and he ran the other in Picayune. We did this for several years. He offered to sell me one of the routes, and in my youthful foolishness, I turned it down. To this day, that is one of my biggest regrets. My dad had injured his back and he decided that he needed to sell the routes. I went to work building bridges in Mississippi. It was hot work. I worked everything from building forms, to bull floats to tying steel and pouring asphalt. One day the river got out of its banks, and the lumber we were using floated off downstream. In the middle of January, our foreman tasked me and one other to go pick up the lumber. It was cold. Trying to be a good hand, I walked along the banks gathering what lumber I could find. However, that was not enough. He wanted us to get in the river and get the lumber. At that point I quit. That was the first job that I had ever walked away from. On my way home, I stopped by the dairy that my father had purchased his routes from. I walked in and asked to speak to the manager. When he came out I told him, “I just walked off from the construction site, I need a job.” He looked at me in surprise, and then responded, “I don’t have a position available.” I told him that I wasn’t looking for a position, but rather a job. He called that evening and told me to come in at midnight. After that it was downhill from there. I stayed at that dairy for eleven years until the terror attacks occurred on September 11, 2001.
9/11 is a day of infamy to be sure. I was on my way to the bank when the news of the plane hitting the World Trade Center came over the radio. I could not believe it. That afternoon, I talked to my spouse and told her that I needed to join the military and she agreed. On a blistering, frigid day in November, I shipped out to basic training. I stayed in the military until May 2012. At that point, I retired from active duty.
In some instances, I have been successful in my aspirations, in other ways, I have been a colossal failure. There are many regrets in my life. However, the present is filled with happiness and joy, and the future is filled with promise. There is no time like the present to give your absolute best in carving out the life that you want to have.