Thursday, December 29, 2022

123 Steps

 123 Steps to the Parking Lot. He’d counted it every day and today he was excited. “I’m going to be able to lay the last 3 steps,” he thought. 

He thought about it again, he’d been asked to finish the walkway down to the parking lot. It was really something that was well beyond the scope of his job’s duties but he took it on as a challenge because Joe, the man who had his job before him had been asked to do this and couldn’t finish it before he retired.

Joe did leave notes, which he appreciated, as a way to keep track of the job. The steps had to be stone or some kind of poured concrete topped with tile with non-slip rubber inserts for safety.

The steps weren’t pretty but they were sturdy. He knew, even after finishing the steps, that it would be necessary to put a handrail in but that would be the easy part because it would be made with pipe. His plan was to finish the pipe before he installed it so he could install it in sections.

Since he planned to finish the staircase that day he had all the supplies and parts set up there with a walk around pathway and a sign in big red letters - Construction Zone.

“Uh-oh, there she comes,” he thought. Every time he saw her he was reminded of a sailing ship in full blown sail. She arrived as if a trumpet was playing to announce her. She always glared at him even though she was the one who originally demanded that the staircase be improved. He said, as always, “Good morning miss,” even though her age was indeterminate with her grey hair quite obvious under her hat.

At the end of his day he was able to lay the final step and it was done. The next day was a holiday so the school was closed but he had been asked to put in the rail and he would be paid extra.

He had already put in the bases for the rail and it would be easy enough for him to install the whole thing that day as he had already finished all the parts.

The next morning, earlier than usual because it wasn’t really part of his job but he wanted to claim an unwritten construction tradition. The standard was if you had completed a long difficult job building or creating something you were allowed to sign it.

He had left a small inset space in the last step for a metal medallion that had the logo of the school on it. In very small writing he had etched his own signature: Staircase and rail by Rudy. 

As he was finishing fastening it, there she came in full sail as always but this time as he stood up and greeted her, “Good morning miss,” with a little smile as was his fashion she broke into a big smile and said, “What a wonderful staircase you have created. Something that makes life easier and more pleasant even though it would have been nice if they had created the parking lot at the level of the school.”

He nodded and said, “ Yes ma’am. that would have been a better idea.” “But still,” she said, “this staircase is a monument to the diligence of man and you are the person that carried that out.”

She came over, patted him on the shoulder and walked up the staircase like a queenly person that he felt she somehow was in her heritage because of her behaviors.

He didn’t know how to describe it but he felt rewarded in a way that seemed to lift him up.

As he started up the staircase he felt like he could run up even though he knew at his age, 72, he shouldn’t. What a wonderful thing he thought to himself, a smile, a pat on the back and a feeling of being rewarded. This is something that could be good for us all and walked on to work feeling much better then ever.


May it be big things or small things, a pat on the back and a “well done” might just make the world a little better whether giving or receiving.

Goodlife to you all.

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