Growing up, I was lucky to be in a family that loved. Hard. My parents loved each other, and they loved us kids with all of their being. I was also very blessed- eventhough at times I was ungrateful and unappreciative. We grew up in a beautiful home- and never really wanted for anything. Big Daddy Mike and Judy Booty never told us "No". They always did what it took to give us the opportunity- The opportunity to try whatever we wanted. The opportunity to achieve our dreams- no matter what they may be. Whether it was playing travel soccer, driving a convertible in high school, having my dream wedding, or finishing college without a penny of student loans, they did what it took. Well, that's not completely true- I did have a student loan from when I partied too hard my freshman year. They threatened that I couldn't go back to school without a student loan... but when I never got below a B the rest of my college career, they paid them off at graduation.:) Well played- lesson learned.:)
With all that being said, I never felt like I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth- not even close. My Dad taught me the true meaning of the word provider. He wasn't a top executive or someone that even graduated college. He was a hard-working, blue collar man that worked his ass off to provide for us. And to me, that is the most honorable thing ever. My dad says his biggest accomplishment is putting his three kids through college. He would always say, "Kids, your education is the one thing in life that no one can take away from you." My mom tells stories how he always believed this and when we were young if it meant cleaning a movie theater at night or building a deck just so we could go to preschool, that's what my dad did.
Ya see, our family was in the paper business. For 28 years, my dad was a distributor for The Washington Post. We've seen the business evolve- been through the ups and downs- and my Dad's time at the Post has come to an end. Tonight was his last night working on the job.
My mom and dad were a team. Distributor #5428. There are so many things I'll miss- Having access to as many rubber bands as I want... rubber band fight! I'll miss free samples, getting the comics and sale ads (including Black Friday ads) before anyone else, and perks from my Dad making his goals- mostly due to us being those annoying kids that go door to door or call begging you to "take the daily paper free" during the Fall promotion.
And trust me- there are so many things I won't miss... my dad being stressed when there are down routes, black stained hands, the stale smell of wet papers, and Sunday mornings when the phone is ringing bright and early with complaints.
There are little things that people don't think about... like when our family sees rain, we think, "Damn, it's a double bag night", or when you hear that my dad has a paper carrier call out and you just automatically pray that it's not someone that delivers apartments- third floors suck! We know the difference between red and green dots, Sunday only and Daily/Sunday, and that it's trouble with a capital T when someone gets a vacation stop not honored. We know how to put a knife ring on our finger and open the bundles and sort. We know how to collect bad pay. We know that snow isn't a reason to get excited for a day off- it just means a really sucky day on the job because those papers have to go out!
So, tonight is bittersweet. The end of an era has come. My father is retiring... and the funny thing is this has only inspired my brothers and me.
Dad~ We love you with all of our hearts. You have taught us what hard work and sacrifice mean. You would do anything for us- and we without a doubt know that. Now, it's your time to enjoy the next chapter of your life. It's our turn to start picking up the tab and to show you what your years of service afforded us. If I have one dream, it's for my kids to be as lucky as we were- To always have the opportunity- but to be raised where it's not just handed to them. Things in life are earned. And just like you always instilled in us- we're not too good for anything and it's important to know where ya came from.:) We are from Arcola, VA... the children of a newspaper man- and so very proud of it!
Take this time to live, laugh, and love. Now go... catch up on your sleep... And for the first time in your life think, "If ya don't get it, I don't care." Adios Washington Post! It's been real.:)