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Letter: Dirty nails worthy of respect

To the Editor:

This past week our septic tank runneth over and had to be emptied. The man who came out to pump it out was an older man who fit the part. He had gray hair and a long gray beard. He fit the description that most people would call a “redneck”. As I watched him go about his work, I was impressed with his efficiency and competence. I had always heard that no matter how humble your job may be, be the best that you can be, and take pride in your work. This gentleman sure did. Some people might look down on him for his job, but he provides a needed service to the community and he is not on the public dole. Before he left, I brought out the water hose so that he could wash his hands. I noticed that his hands were calloused and there was dirt under his fingernails. That started me to thinking.
When I was growing up in Richmond, just about every man in town had dirt under his fingernails. The people there were farmers, coal miners, or worked in manufacturing in Kansas City. This same people were the ones who were picked to go off to fight in our country’s wars.
Lately, I have noticed that the people who are admired are the CEOs and Fortune 500 types who have people come into their offices and give them manicures, even pedicures. The problem is that if the guys with dirty finger nails were not around, they would have to do like the rest of the people and get out the trusty old fingernail clippers.
I am going to try to refresh younger peoples minds, that the ordinary working men and women are the ones who built our railroads, bridges, skyscrapers, dams, and interstate highways. They are the true heroes of our society who get up every morning and do the jobs that keep our country moving. The are the night shift workers in the hospitals and convenience stores. They are the people who harvest the crops and haul them to market. You can hear them in the early morning hauling off your garbage. They are the ones who fix our cars and air-conditioners and build our homes. Without these people, our country would grind to a halt. It’s true that we need the Capitalists, but they in turn need the workers.
Please never look down your nose at anyone who making a honest living. There are a lot of the manicured people in three- piece suits stealing us blind.

– Robert D. Smith, RHS Class of 1957

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