Monday, July 11, 2011

The Value Of Hard Work

So the Civil War almost killed me.

I worked at the museum this weekend for both days of the Civil War Re-enactment. 2 twelve hour days. My normal job entails sitting in an air conditioned building at a desk, walking around the museum a bit, typing on the computer and sometimes I get in the car and drive somewhere for a meeting about something. Most days I wear cute heels.

This weekend I wore sneakers. The 24 hours I spent this weekend entailed selling ice to the troops in the morning, driving the golf cart around and running food service stuff all over the museum grounds, delivering ice to food service locations, hauling growlers & bottles of beer, serving food, selling water & soda, hooking up kegs, bartending at the Freight House bar, etc, etc, etc.... To be fair, my boss, the CEO, sold ice with me in the mornings and worked a roast beef stand during the day. Everyone worked hard this weekend. There were people who put in more than 12 hours a day. I was no exception and no hero.  My food service staff fed 2500 people a day who seemed like they all wanted to eat between 1-2 pm and they did an awesome job. I'm feeling all proud of them tonight. I wish I could give them all a raise. Today I laid down for a few minutes that turned into 2 hours. I was exhausated when all was said and done.

Last night when I was talking to my mom on the phone I realized something. I told her that I could not remember another time in my life where I have worked 2 12 hour days doing physical work. I really don't think there is one. I mean, sure I've worked hard at work before, and I garden (but not for 12 hours at a time) and I can paint walls, and lots of other things. I have just never spent 12 hours ever doing any of those things. 

I supposed in many regards this makes me a lucky person. There are women in sweatshops who routinely work 12 hours days or longer and they don't have a golf cart to drive around in.  There are farmers and doctors who work on their feet all day long. The list goes on.  And while I may be lucky it made me feel a little ashamed saying that in my almost 40 years I cannot ever remember working this hard.   At the very least it makes me someone who hasn't always understood the value of manual labor-And I mean to the economy as well as to the soul.

Because it felt good to move 300 bags of ice. It really did. When it was done, it was done. A task completed. A job well done. (Now I really don't want to do it all again tomorrow honestly) but there is a certain satisfaction in stuff like that. In serving the public (most of them anyway.....) and in participating in a way that you don't normally.   It kind of felt like a summer camp version of my real job. Well maybe a work camp version of my real job. I liked it........

I'm ok going back to the air conditiong tomorrow though.

The Civil War reenactment itself was awesome! I've never seen it before. My boss and I remarked at how some of those men looked so much like they belonged there. The camps were so interesting and there were oer 800 people camped in the village between soldiers and civilians which transforms the village and give life to it in a big way. The cavalry charge and cannons were awesome to watch and  having never actually seen a live reneactment battle before, it was pretty thrilling!

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