My least favorite day of the week has always been Saturday. For most people it was a day of rest or recreation, but I never quite had that experience. My father enjoyed spending every weekend doing little projects, and most were larger than little. Saturday morning, he’d pound on my door and call out, “Rise and shine. It’s gonna be a workday,” and indeed it was. He liked to remodel houses and clean out things that would get messy again in the not-too-distant future. But his favorite activity for his darling daughter was to move a giant pile of bricks. The summer I was twelve he bought an old house and we remodeled it and what luck, we found a brick-lined root cellar in the back yard. Prior owners might have used it for storing food stuffs like potatoes and onions, but my mother, the field marshal, said, NO and my dad thought removing it would be a good Saturday morning project. He and I extricated all the bricks and because you can’t throw perfectly good red bricks away, we stacked them in a nice, neat pile next to the garage. The stack was about four feet high and twelve feet long and four bricks deep, larger than our kitchen counters. It was a good-looking stack of about 5,000 bricks, solid and rather attractive, as far as a pile of used bricks goes. That project occurred during the summer of my fifth grade, started on Saturday and spilled over to the next Saturday, when he and I sat on the back steps admiring our finished project. He drank a beer and my mom made me a root beer float. The bricks were out of the way, time for celebration.
My older brother had a job and didn’t participate and I’m sure he’s going to feel bad after reading this blog. My younger brother at age nine was too little and he somehow finagled his way out of this project. He probably won’t feel bad, though.
Fast forward to mid-summer when Dad decided we were going to paint the garage, so guess what, the bricks had to be moved. Since I was an experienced brick mover, he let me do this project by myself. He planned to make a back yard patio and thought the bricks were perfect, so I donned my gloves and got busy moving them to the back of the house where they would be handy whenever he could find time for the masonry job of patio building. A nice brick patio would improve the value of our home, he declared.
The patio was put on hold because of something, I don’t remember what, and my mother got tired of waiting. A guy who ran a cement company owed my parents money and she contracted him to pour a cement patio. Guess what? Brick-moving time again. There was no doubt that I was the premiere brick mover on our block, probably in all of southwest Idaho, so I moved them a third time, this time to the rear of our property because Dad thought they would make a nice fence and keep the neighbors’ dogs out of our yard. It didn’t work because the dogs could easily vault the stack of bricks, but it looked nice and it was out of my dad’s line of sight.
The bricks sat at the rear of our property for a couple years without being moved. When I was about fourteen, I spent my summer as a lifeguard at a church camp in the Sawtooth Mountains, a nice reprieve from Dad’s Saturday workdays. But, when I got home in late August, he had sold the house and bought another that needed a little remodeling and he had plans for those bricks, so we moved them again, first to a trailer, then to the new house where my mother wanted a raised vegetable garden. Five times I moved those bricks, which is probably a record of some sort.
My dad instilled the Saturday workday in my psyche and I’m sure it gave me some sort of work ethic that I still have to this day. Getting through Saturday is a challenge and I’m always glad when Monday rolls around. Compared to moving bricks, it’s a do-nothing day and I love it!
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