“Don’t Complain, If it Don’t Hurt a Little You Ain’t Workin’!”
We didn’t really know one another until I went to work with him that summer of my senior year in high school. Being the son of the foreman, you get treated like an outcast on the job, especially with the blue collar crowd, and he knew it.
When I first met him on the job site, he handed me a shovel, in the rain and told me to dig a ditch, wheel that gravel, lay that pipe and fill it in. It took 2 hours to lay 200 feet of drain pipe, but when I was done, you could barely tell the ground had been disturbed.
You could here my dad’s boss ask him, “Hey Bob, how’d Junior get that done so damned fast?”
“He wasn’t standin’ around complaining about the rain, he worked hard and just got it done. He’s always been like that.”
That was the first time I realized that my dad knew me and that I didn’t really know him.
Bob Yeager Sr., my father, was a great dad to us when we were growing up. He worked hard for the little he made, but he didn’t get to spend much time with us.
For years, I figured he didn’t understand me, but on the job site that summer, he couldn’t stop telling folks how I was the first one in our family to go to college and that he knew I was going to make something of myself.
That summer, my dad and me became friends.
Fast forward, nearly a decade later.
“Take Care of the Roof Over Your Head, Food On the Table and Be There for Them”
My sisters would agree, Dad was the best grandfather you could ever hope for for your children. When my daughter came along, he started coming around nearly everyday to help out with projects around the house. When my son came along, he saw the legacy of his name multiply again and he gave him the name “Number 3”.
Robert Wayne Yeager gave his son the name Robert Wayne Yeager Jr. and HE gave his son the name Robert Wayne Yeager III.
What a trio we were lol.
I went through periods of sickness, hardship and struggle at times and, Dad would just say, “Take care of keeping that roof over your head, keep food on the table and always be there for your wife and kids.
He never told me how much I would need THEM but, I know he needed all of us.
“He’s Still Telling Me What to Do!”
When I build something, he’s telling me to “nail it straight and just HIT that thing!”
When I’m loving and laughing with my wife he’s telling me “just remember, she’s too good for you and how lucky you are!”
When I’m playing with my kids, he’s telling me, “You’re lucky, you got really sweet kids.”
When I’m mowing the lawn he says, “Keep those lines straight and make sure you clean up your tractor when you’re done!”
“Get some sleep, we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.”, rings in my ear everyday.
65 years ago, he came into the world screaming and 3 years ago, he went out spending his last day working in the rain, even though it hurt.
He was taking care of the roof over my mother’s head, food on the table and being there for all of us up to the very last moment. When I found him the next morning, he had the phone in his hand because he was sitting down to call my little sister to tell her happy birthday.
Even in his final seconds of life, his kids were on his mind.
On the beginning of this day, October 23rd, 2015; my first thoughts is to say, “Happy Birthday Dad. We’re all fine, we miss you everyday and we love you.