When Men Were Men and We Were Just Boys
On a local sell or trade blog that is listed on Facebook, there was a listing to sell several round metal miners’ lunchboxes. Seeing the lunch buckets transported me back to my grandmother’s Rebecca Miner’s kitchen when I was just a young child. I saw the lunch pail many times on the countertop. The lunchbox was my grandfather Raymond Miner’s. He was a coal miner by night, working the farm during the day. His brass based carbide light was stored in the basement. My granddad never said much about the struggles that he and my grandmother had feeding and clothing seven children. In past blogs, I often mention my grandmother, sometimes overlooking my granddad. I learned a lot about him after his death. Stories from other family members filtered in adding layers of information about this small-statured, unimposing and quiet man. He was quick to smile with the grandchildren and sometimes all too tolerant as a parent.
I am not sure that I could be a coal miner delving deep underground, but my granddad did. One story that I was told about him made me angry. I didn’t find out until after my uncle’s death. My uncle worked in the coal mines with him and would sometimes sleep. My grandfather would cover for him, digging and loading the coal for two. I don’t see how my uncle could do that to his dad or why my grandfather allowed my uncle to do that and how Granddad could still have the strength and endurance to do the farm work too.
My brother and I would vie with each other to claim the coveted seat beside him when we would visit his house and eat at the granite red and white table. He most often reeked of the barn, but now the same smell has become perfume to my recollections.
When he died, Pastor Smith spoke at his funeral comparing my granddad to the biblical character Enoch. There isn’t much said about Enoch, but in Pastor Smith’s eulogy of my granddad, he described Enoch and my granddad as quiet men who walked closer and closer to God until they were no more. These are just a few of the memories stored inside of my brain of this good and Godly man, my granddad Raymond Miner.