I’ve often heard about people who can’t wait to leave their mark on the world. I read about these people in books, watch them in movies, and occasionally meet a very passionate one, in person. They dream about doing great things, building landmarks, or making a difference in the world somehow; they want to leave a legacy behind, and they have big plans of how to do it.
I never understood that passion, until today.
My dad’s profession is as a mason. Stone, brick, marble, tile; you name it, and he can make something out of it. When he was still well enough to work, he had quite the demand for his skill, and he would have to juggle jobs in order to have enough time for each one; being the man he is, he couldn’t turn a job down. And BOY, did those jobs come! There never was a time that I remember when he was struggling for work. He was just that good.
His skill was passed down to all four of my brothers--including my brother-in-law--who each had their fair share of time working by his side, learning the trade. I remember many arguments over the years, either with other construction workers (over space, time, respect, theft of my dad’s costly materials), or with my brothers (when they got older it was about who knew the best/fastest way to finish the job). Hard labor can get rough sometimes, and the construction business is no exception.
Whatever the situation, my dad always pulled through, not only finishing the job, but putting up some of the best masonry work around. I haven’t ever thought much about what he did for a living. To me, it was just a job my dad did that earned money. He went to work, got all dirty, and came home. End of story. But I wasn’t thinking about the big picture.
He drove us to Mason’s radiation appointment today, up in Salt Lake. When it was done we drove through the Avenues, while he pointed out various houses that he had worked on. They were older houses, and the work most likely done before any of my brothers were old enough to help. This was purely my dad’s work. Later, as we drove past downtown Salt Lake, he would point out random buildings, walls, and planters that he had built, each with its own story.
I began to remember times in my past when he had done the same thing. Times when, as we were driving, out of nowhere he would pick out a house, building, wall, mailbox, and tell us the story of how he had built it, and anything interesting that had happened during construction. And I remembered what I always forget: the many places I pass each day, that he helped build; the beautiful fireplace in the entrance of the hotel in my hometown; the walls and businesses I see in Salt Lake every morning.
Thoughts began to enter my head, feelings of proudness for the work my dad has done his whole life; the knowledge that these buildings and structures he built can be found from here, to California, and all the way to Hawaii.
Whether he knows it or not, whether he ever felt a passion to do so, he has left his mark on the world, in the shape of warmth and comfort; in the shape of homes.
And not only that, but he has taught his sons the trade. And even though they have moved on to different professions, they will always have that skill to fall back on because it is not one that you forget. He has left a legacy behind, one that I never realized before. One that I am proud of.
All I can think now is that I want to leave my mark on the world, too, and that I want to leave behind a legacy of my own!!