Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recognize this story?

When I was a young adult, fresh home from a Mormon mission, I worked for most of a year at a saw mill earning some money to return to college. The first few days of that job were brutal. The foreman put me to work building pallets by hand... just me, a stack of boards, a box of nails, and a hammer. I could barely life my arms at the end of that first day, and I'm sure I was sore the next morning. Looking back, I suspect that he was testing me-- trying to see if this skinny kid could hack a "real" job.

This is the mill where I worked, Great Lakes Timber Co. in LaPoint, Utah. 

After those first two or three tough days, my Dad handed me a short story to read. It was about a young man going to work in a mill or a mine or something. The old codgers around the place were convinced that the "kid" wouldn't last-- that the job was too tough for him and he'd quit. Of course he didn't. He stuck it out.

That story was my Dad's way of encouraging me to stick out the mill job, and I did. I worked there for about 10 months, as I recall, and I even got promoted. (I learned, upon my promotion, by the way, that the mill had a air-driven nail gun for building pallets. Kinda confirmed my suspicion that the foreman was up to something.)

Now that I'm the dad, and have boys of my own to teach about work, I've been wanting to find that story. I don't recall the title, who wrote it, or much more about it than I told above. The detail that mattered at the time was that I could/should be a finisher.

Does anyone recognize the story based on these watery details? It's not much to go on, I know, but perhaps you can help me out.

Oh, and this last  is long overdue:

Thanks, Dad. 


Murphy's Freshman Composition Blog said...

“Life in the Iron Mills” by REBECCA HARDING DAVIS maybe? I kinda hope not, too depressing.

Clark Draney said...

Hmmm. Doesn't seem like the one I remember. Thanks though!