It’s easy in any working world to become calloused and beat down. Balancing work with home life is very tricky and the stress becomes immeasurable sometimes. I’ve often forgot that a job is a job is a job. Then I met Vernon.
Vernon worked as a construction superintendent at the South Carolina electronics plant. In my job as a project engineer, I worked closely with Vernon and his crew to execute the capital improvements that were my responsibility. Vernon has to be the most positive man I’ve ever met.
I never, and I mean never, heard a negative word come out of his mouth. His job required him to supervise a complex group of craftsmen, electricians, carpenters, and millwrights, in addition to keeping his customer, our plant, happy. The plant’s chief engineer, a stickler for details and cost control, wasn’t the easiest guy to get along with, but Vernon never seemed to mind.
I found out after having worked alongside him for a few years, that he was from Alabama and one of his sons had played football for the Crimson Tide. Tragically, his son was killed in a car accident, I believe. Yet, Vernon kept on going. He was proud of the Tide. I understood why.
He was always looking to cheer everyone up and never gave the impression that he ever had a bad day.
“What’s wrong there?” he’d say, noting I had a frown on my face. “Someone lick the red off your candy cane?”
Sure it was corny, but coming from Vernon, I didn’t cringe. He made me smile every time and I soon was in a better mood.
I tried to use a little of Vernon’s magic later on my teenagers. My advice? Don’t ever try using that on a teenager. It backfired like crazy on mine!