My Family (a long time ago)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Don't Take a Lazy Man's Load

Another post in a series on Famous Family Sayings

One of the things I learned at an early age was that everyone had to pitch in and help. With so many people in one household, there was just too much for Mom and Dad to do everything themselves. I mentioned in this post that we all had chores to do in order to help out around the house and we all helped bring in items when any kind of shopping was done. We used to fill a shopping cart, and sometimes two, when grocery shopping was done.

Think about all the bags of food that would have to be brought into the house after Mom, Dad (and some of us kids) went to the store for the weekly shopping. There were a lot of bags to take care of. If we were in the middle of a game or an “important” TV show, we really didn’t want to have to go out and get all the stuff out of the car, bring it in to the house and help put it away, especially in the winter. We had different ways of dealing with this. Some of us went out right away, took as much as we could carry and brought it in; others took their time and took as little as possible as slowly as possible. We all did our best and tried to not drop anything.

But here’s the thing that used to confuse me. Dad would often say to us, “Don’t take a lazy man’s load.” I always tried to take as much as I could so I thought he was talking to the few who were taking just a couple of things at a time. I figured they were being lazy by just taking a couple of things when they could take more. However, as time went on, I noticed that Dad said “Don’t take a lazy man’s load” even when we all had as much as we could carry. I figured he must be talking to the older ones because us “little ones” were carrying big loads. At least we felt like we were.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered what “Don’t take a lazy man’s load” really meant. It wasn’t that you took too little, but that you took too much. We would try to take as much as we could, probably too much, so that we didn’t have to go back and forth multiple times to get more. So even though we thought we were being smart and cutting down on the trips in and out, we were actually being lazy. All those years, when I figured Dad was talking to the others, he was actually talking to me.

It’s no wonder I used to hear that phrase a lot when I was helping carry things. He probably thought there was something wrong with me because as much as he told me to not take a lazy man’s load, I still did. What a knucklehead I was! I can see why he had that edge of aggravation when he told me. It’s too bad it took me almost ten years after Dad died to figure this out. Sorry, Dad.

After hearing “Don’t take a lazy man’s load” for all those years, you would think I would no longer do that, right? Well, unfortunately, I still do it today when we go shopping. I load up with as many bags as I can so I don’t have to go outside a bunch of times. The funny part of this is that I still hear Dad’s voice telling me to not take a lazy man’s load. I guess I still haven’t learned my lesson after all these years.

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