I know my FriPup contract states that these posts must be food related, but I think this is a pretty good story . I also know that these kinds of things happen to people every day, and aren’t particularly unique, but damn if I wasn’t knocked out of my chair.
AsÂ I was working at the annual soccer camp that I do at Hamilton College, I started to have a conversation with a camper who was sitting at the table.Â He started by commenting at how much better this week had been than the previous weeks of his summer vacation so far.Â This 14 year old (14!!) starting working at a dairy farm this summer at the wage of $5 an hour…a figure that the farm owner requested he set.Â I was riveted to this kid and his story…the 4am wake up, the final chores at the farm ending around 11pm, the 5 mile bike ride both ways ,Â the fact he paid for half of his soccer camp registration fee…not just because his story was great, but because he was so likable and matter of fact about the hard work he had chosen to do.
It also reminded me of our dad.Â He died about 10 years ago and I just don’t think about him as much as I used to. But now, as this kid is talking about his own life,Â all of these old stories about myÂ dad, who also worked on a farm as a kid, came flooding back to me. Their stories were reflections of each other…I was staring and listening to the kid but I was seeing my father starring in the lead.
There was also the mention that he wanted to go to college to be a DEC officer, a job held by my father’s best childhood friend, Bugger.
After being locked on to this kid for about 15 minutes, I asked his name. He said it was Brandt.
I opened my mouth but couldn’t say a word.Â My father’s name was Brandt Baumgartner.
He said it again.Â “Brandt…It’s spelled B-R-A-N-D-T’
I’ve met a few Brants in my life but never someone with that spelling.Â It’s actually a surname in my father’s case. ..the last name of a dear friend of my grandfather’s who was killed in World War II.
A few days later I ran into Brandt again and I let him know how much his story meant to me and that I hoped my son grows up to be a true, hard worker just like him…and the other guy I know with the same name.