American Dream

Sitting here watching the wind whip the snow around outside the dining room window. We are fortunate this year. The heavy snows have passed north and east of us. It is though, colder out than a well-digger’s back side. In its present state, my fireplace is not much help. It’s been rendered to a large grayish white block of mortar. It blends well with the wind swept snow and the single digit temperature. The new facing brick to be installed next week.

I can see the snow because the Secretary of War directed me to remove the drapes. And I did it. With the painter working, it is the logical time to take down the curtains and carry them to the cleaners. Oh, geeze I am sorry. I meant to say custom window treatments from Sonni’s House of Drapes. Makes me long for the days in the trailer park in Newport News, Virginia when a bed sheet got the job done until we could afford a pack of curtains. We did not mind it much. When we left there on our second Army move, everything we owned fit into one box. When I look at Adolph’s revenge standing smugly against the wall, I consider that we have traveled quite a distance from there seeking the American dream. Too many moves and too much busted furniture to contemplate.

Did you hear? Under the president’s executive amnesty decree illegal immigrants may be able to claim up to four years of tax credits? As much as 24 thousand dollars. Looking at my social security records, I believe my first year’s wages as a working American was three-thousand dollars. I worked hard for it. Is this the fundamentally transformed American dream?

The brick mason who is renovating my fireplace, learned his trade from his father. He is a hardworking man. Typically has a helper or two with him. He told me he went off to the Navy for four years and then came back and started school. He had no intention of being a brick mason like dad. But, here he is. A craftsman. A trade well learned. He tells you what it is going to cost and when it will be complete. Then delivers. From experience, I trust his work. I am happy to be along his path to achieving the American dream. Independent craftsmen like him are becoming rare in our society. They are the people who built this nation one brick at a time. I wonder how unskilled underpaid labor will impact how they earn their money.

The painter is as interesting. He is the Pastor of small church. From a congregation of around fifty, he does not earn Joel Osteen level money. The other difference is that he’s an actual preacher and not the prophet of abundance. To augment his meager Pastor’s salary, he paints houses and mows lawns while also fulfilling his pastoral responsibilities.

I am very particular about anyone I hire to work at Pendry manor. The brick mason was recommended to me by another craftsman who did work for me. People such as him do not recommend hacks because their own reputation is on the line. The brick mason recommended the painter. These men are independent contractors. They do not belong to any company or union. The quality of work they produce is what keeps them working.

The American dream. We have been told the playing field must be leveled so everyone has an equal chance achieving it. Government wants to provide the path to the dream. Does not everyone have an equal chance now? The freedom to choose a path? Is government going to redistribute the dream? Take some of the brick mason’s or pastor’s dream and dole it out to illegal immigrants?

Yes dear, turning of the computer now. Headed for the dry cleaner.

© 2015 J. D. Pendry American Journal

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