Some days just turn out so much better than others. Last Friday, my bride and I were loading up a bed and mattress and box springs to take to a friend near Warrenton who was having more overnight company than they had beds for. Then the phone rang. I answered it in the garage and the voice said, “Mr. Brady?” I said, “Yes. What can I do for you?”
The gentleman told me that he had read in the paper that my sweet potatoes hadn’t done anything this year, and he had a few he wanted to share with me. Of course, I said, you don’t have to do that, but he said he had them in a box and wanted to bring them over, and would I be home a few minutes. I said yes, indeed, I’ll be here waiting for you.
That pleasant fellow was Mr. Ennis Jenkins, known to many as Penny. He had worked with my dad on the roads here in the county for a lot of years. Well, not only did he show up at my door in a very few minutes with a nice big box of the best looking sweet potatoes I have seen in a long time, he stayed long enough to have a good talk and share some stories with me about his work with my dad.
Mr. Jenkins had helped me once when I needed to put in an entrance to get some logging done, and we spoke of that. But, more importantly, he talked about how he was so glad to have worked with my dad and how he enjoyed working with him. Mr. Jenkins said that if anybody called the office to request some special attention to a section of road, they would almost always take care of it.
He told me that once, following a bad snowstorm, a fellow had called to complain about a piece of road. It had been plowed, and you could get over it, but it still had some hard packed snow and ice on it. He said the man told my dad if that road was not cleared by such and such a time that afternoon, he was going to find out why. He said the fellow was quite ugly with his demands. He said Mr. Brady told him that he had never seen snow or ice that warmer weather wouldn’t take care of, and if it wasn’t gone by July to call him back. And then he hung up the phone.
My father passed away in 1975, at the age of 72. I still miss him. And while the above story may not be the most complimentary story I could tell about him, it rang so true, I thought I would share it with you. He was a man of simple means. He believed in hard work and was dedicated to his job and to his large family. (I am the youngest of 10.) He felt fortunate to have employment when many people didn’t. He cared deeply for the men who worked with him, but expected every one of them to do their job to the best of their ability. Thank you, Mr. Jenkins, for the sweet potatoes and for sharing those memories.
Linda and I delivered the bed and came back through Orlean. We stopped at the store and ran into Ed Weaver, whom neither of us had seen in a long time. Another nice surprise. Then, we had a really good steak and cheese sub out on the porch that would have been enough food for lunch and supper. Even so, for supper we both had a huge sweet potato baked in the oven. And then I went and played a few old tunes with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long, long time. Some days are just winners. That was one of them. I hope you have one soon.