The air conditioner poured cool relief into the car while an ipod attached to the stereo played the melodious joy of classical music. One hand wearing a white opera glove held the wheel while the other rummaged through a Gucci bag on the passenger seat until it found a bottle of Vitamin Water and brought it to a woman's full lips. It was she who wore the gloves and sang along in Italian. Her ebony tresses brushed languidly against the Giani Bini shirt she wore as she cruised over hills and bridges. Approaching a construction scene, her eyes grew moist and the overflowing love of her heart enfolded something she saw there.
A man, old and worn, with a salt and pepper beard adorning his sun baked face sweated profusely. His look was tired, weary and it proved evident that this was not the occupation of his dreams. Yet something kept him there and he labored and sweated every day in this endless purgatory of a blistering day job.
As is my wont, I enthusiastically waved to him with a gloved hand and smiled. I don't know the man, but I did know another one. He is a memory from my early childhood and I can still smell the sweat on his red flannel shirt as he held me on his knee. My grandfather lived in caves, labored on farms and finally worked in construction to support his family of eight children. He used to say that when he thought of his children and grandchildren, the wheelbarrow's burden seemed light as feathers and he would work happily with renewed vigor. It was his love for us that kept him working under the merciless desert sun. Perhaps it was the same with this man I saw working in the dirt. Whenever I see a man at hard labor my gratitude and compassion heightens. This might be my grandfather, poor and worn but fully deserving of the deepest respect. My grandfather's love gave my mother strength to also work in construction and eventually create Golden Star Properties, which produces the finest custom homes in Southern Arizona, and which also renders me the paycheck that supplies my opera gloves and education in classical tunes. Those humble workers are the mortal, genealogical roots with which God has blessed us. We don't know what their children or grandchildren may be able to do decades from now or how their descendents may someday give a much needed job to ours.