What’s better: writing or digging ditches?
July 11, 2020
He finished digging long before I finished writing. I paid him much more than I earned writing.
To quote CP3:
“I can either write or dig ditches.”
I have done both.
When I was a kid, I did all kind of odd jobs to earn coins to buy tickets to the “pitchure” show and buy big, ice-cold Town Hall “sody” waters and to pay my way into Fort Worth Cats games where I sat with the Knot Hole Gang and bought 5-cent red hull peanuts to put into my nickel, bottle Cokes.
So one day this man asked me to dig a ditch to extend his septic tank lateral line.
He pointed south in the direction of the railroad tracks, which seemed to be about a mile away, said just keep digging in that direction.
Visions of “pitchure” shows, icy Town Halls, baseball games danced in my head.
Said he was going to buy some pipe and would be back soon and when he returned he would have me put in the pipe and cover it up.
Well, off he went.
I dug, dug, dug.
He seemed to be gone forever.
The railroad tracks got closer and closer.
Maybe I waved at the train engineer a time or two.
Maybe even heard ‘em say, “Howdy.”
Finally, the man who hired me to dig returned.
He had stopped for more than a good bit of libation.
I put in the pipe. Covered it up.
Of course, I had dug the trench what seemed like hundreds of feet longer than was needed.
Maybe a mile too long.
Thought about taking a break by walking along the railroad tracks, which were now nearby.
So the man paid me to cover it up.
It was a forerunner to some of things I would later do when I served in the military: Dig a hole, cover it up; dig a hole, cover it up, dig . . .
Since I was paid by the hour, there was lots ‘n’ lots of extra money for “pitchure” shows and Town Halls and baseball games.
Later, I signed on as a newspaper writer – at about the same rate of pay.
Liked that better than digging ditches.
Not long ago, I hired a man to dig me a trench.
While he dug, I wrote.
He finished digging long before I finished writing.
I paid him much more than I earned writing.
But, what the hey.
I had more fun.
And when you’re mid-octogenarian, as I am, fun is the name of the game.
So, as the toddler used to ask her father:
“Are we having fun yet?”
Roger Summer is author of Songs From A Washboard Road. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.