I enjoy reading comments from my friends and family that are also on Facebook. Once in a while I’ll read a posting where a friend is mad at someone and using Facebook to rant. I also notice political comments and sometimes even some nasty words or comments, but I don’t offer my opinion on those.
Yesterday I saw something that I posted four years ago. It said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live life; he lived and let me watch him do it.”
I started thinking about him and how he enjoyed life. When I was a young boy he had a country pickup milk route in the Acton and Wanamaker areas and delivered the milk to a dairy in Indianapolis.
I remember riding with him, but I was too small to be of much help. Sometimes he hired a high school boy from the farm community to assist him during the summer.
Many of the farms had closed gates at their driveways. When dad was working alone he would have to get out of his truck and open the gate. He then drove his truck onto the property and closed the gate before driving to the milk house. There were farm animals on the property and the gate could not be left open.
After unloading the empty cans that he picked up the day before and then loading the full cans onto the truck, he had to go through the gate process again.
When he had a helper, the boy opened and closed the gates. I remember my father complementing those boys all the time and how fast they were, how strong they were, how quickly they responded to a problem, and lots of other things. It seemed to me that the more he complemented and encouraged them, the faster they ran and harder they worked.
I remember a few years later trying to do my best as I scampered out of the truck to open and close those gates. I recall a cousin riding with us one time and he seemed impressed with our teamwork at each farm as we gained entrance, exchanged empty cans for full ones and exited the property.
When my father had a helper, he finished his route an hour earlier.
My father sold his route in the mid-1950s to open a Sunoco service station on Madison Avenue in the Edgewood area. I thought it was really cool that a couple of the boys who assisted him on his milk route came to work for him at the station.
As I look back I can see and understand some of my father’s management skills and how he would adjust a skill if it wasn’t providing the results he desired.
I was a junior high student when the station opened. We operated that business for about 10 years before moving to a larger facility in Southport. That building is now known as Long’s Bakery.
One of the main things that I learned from my father was, “Never miss a chance to learn something.”
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.