Cecil Shaver, my first father-in-law, had the dogged tenacity of a pit bull. He had come out to Southern California when the oncoming Depression hit Idaho and his father's investments tanked.
Even though Cecil was only nine at the time (1922), he set to work on his own to help support the family. First, he sold bags of potato chips door to door in residential neighborhoods and in office buildings He would take the street car all over Los Angeles by himself. We parents today would be appalled at the thought of letting our nine-year old roam around L.A. on his own.Yikes!
But they let him. He didn't mind and he was extremely self-sufficient. One morning while he was on the Red Line and standing at the front of the car, a large lady climbed on. In getting her change out of her purse as the car jerked forward, she lost her balance and landed on top of Cecil's whole day's stock of merchandise.
He didn't let that faze him. He sold every single bag of crumbs before he went home that night.
Then he graduated to peanut brittle. He knew a man who made the candy and before long, he had mastered the recipe and was making it himself, cutting out the middle man.
One day he was carrying his wares around a neighborhood and a pit bull dashed out of a front yard, leaped on him and bit his cheek just below the eye. (Cecil was a short man.) Not only bit him but hung on until the dog's horrified owner could run out and somehow persuade it to let go.
"Let me drive you to the hospital," the man urged.
Cecil stood there bleeding and needing stitches but he wouldn't move. "I haven't sold all my peanut brittle yet."
The man could not persuade him to forget about the peanut brittle. Finally, he said, "Here, I'll buy it all! Now can I take you to the hospital?"
Only then would Cecil let go. That was the kind of boy he was and that was the kind of man he became.
(To be continued)
Today I am thankful for hospitals.
"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998