Monday, June 22, 2009

Pitching the poop


There is a program on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio on NPR called simply, "The Story." It is produced by Dick Gordon out of North Carolina Public Radio in Chapel Hill. I have listened to it for a long time. It is repeated during the day and sometimes Dick Gordon telling a story becomes my bedtime story.

He is doing a short series right now on Summer Jobs. Today he interviewed a grocery chain executive who started in a sauerkraut factory in Iowa. He was paid 75 cents an hour to walk around in the vats to stir in the salt that was added. He also had to work in an onion dicing operation. One observation that he makes today is that it taught him the difficulty of jobs normally relegated to women. Today he has over half of his employees and a majority of his customers who are women. He feels that he was sensitized to the needs of women at a very early age.

I too grew up in Iowa but what I remember was much different. During the school months I worked in a welding shop and in gas stations. During the growing season I would work in the fields. I made 25 cents an hour in the gas station and welding shop. I would make $1.25 an hour working in the fields. Of course the fields were much harder work. I baled hay, cut the corn out of the bean fields and my least favorite, cleaning the manure out of the barn and off the feed lots.

It was hard as a rock and we had to use pick axes to break it apart and then pick up the large pieces to throw them in the manure spreader. A job I will never forget. I suppose that prepared me to become a politician.

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