My grandfather, Willie Byrd, was a mortician and a deputy county-coroner while my grandmother owned a well-known restaurant in our hometown. We kinda figured we had the best of both worlds if a customer became ill for some reason. My first job began when I was 13 years old washing dishes at the family restaurant.
Growing up in the restaurant business taught me an important lesson … namely, that when I grew up the last thing I wanted to do was own a restaurant.
When I came back from my first year of college I needed a job, but didn’t want to go back into food services. My mom was really encouraging me to work with my granddad, but I didn’t like the thoughts of being in his line of work, working with deceased people and all.
You see, a coroner’s job is to pick up the body when someone passes away outside of a hospital. Coroner’s are highly trained and investigate scenes of crimes, accidents, suicides or, as I saw my first day on the job (thanks Mom!) when someone passes away at home.
The middle-aged gentleman we picked up that morning died of starvation at home. He lived with a room mate, another gentleman, and they were both alcoholics. Granddad explained that alcoholics starve to death, depriving their systems of nutrients because rather than eating they will often assuage their hunger by drinking.
Granddad dispelled my angst about what a coroner does via this explanation. Society works because people fill needed roles. He saw his work as an act of service because he was honoring the person who passed away by treating their body with respect, investigating any odd circumstances and preparing them for a proper burial.
I’ve always remembered that lesson and appreciate the chance I had to work alongside my granddad. He’s always been an example of compassion, service, and love to me.
Now, to my point, I want to give a shout-out to all those who work around me in whatever capacity. When I see people laboring I often think of my own responsibilities as a husband and father and how much I enjoy providing for my family. I’m sure others are working for their own reasons special to them.
I see amazing people enjoying life and their work all around me. Occasionally I go through a particular McDonald’s drive through and the guy that works there is probably the happiest man on the planet! He’s also fast and efficient. The Fish Guys at Pikes Market in Seattle are a riot to watch, buy from and speak with and it seems that they love their work. The crowds who watch them are certainly entertained!
There are so many examples of people happily working and contributing to our society all around us.
My sincere thanks and shout-out to you all of you who’s work makes all of our lives better.