It’s been said that I’d talk to anyone. I’d say that’s mostly true, and one of my questions just about everyone gets is, “So, what did you do for a living?” You see, it’s mostly elderly people I care for, so it’s just always interesting to me to hear about their life, and it’s encouraging to them too, that someone would be interested enough to ask about it. So I ask.
Years ago, I cared for a 102-year-old woman who told me that she had at one time been an olive stuffer. She actually stuffed little green olives with little red pimentos. When I re-tell that story to people nowadays, they respond with the same question you probably just asked out loud, or at least thought in your head – “Don’t they have machines that do that now?”
Geez, I hope so. I mean, I love olives, but have to admit, not once since then have I ever eaten an olive and not wondered if it was stuffed by hand, or by a machine. But I still love olives, no matter how that red little pimento got in there.
Now when I ask the question, “So, what did you do for a living?” I am hoping to find something that tops the olive stuffer’s career, but at least for the last decade I’ve yet to find an occupation as odd.
Yesterday I met a grave digger.
And I asked the question you’re probably wondering, because I too, was wondering….
“So, what’s the strangest thing you ever came across?” First, he laughed. Then he taught me a few things I’d have never guessed. Apparently, grave diggers don’t only dig graves for coffins to rest in. Grave diggers dig up old graves, and open up coffins.
What ?!!!!!! Ewwwww!
Apparently, yes! For DNA testing, for when family members relocate to other states and want to bring Grandma and Grandpa with them…. and no, I don’t know the logistics of all of that, BUT! The oddest thing this fellow said he ever came across was when he had to dig up a grave and open the coffin to get out a ring that the daughter said she had wanted for the 30 years since her mother had been buried.
30 years! And according to my new grave digger friend, Mama hadn’t changed a bit because, apparently if you purchase a nice enough vault, no water can get in, and you don’t decay. (Who cares, right?) And, Mama didn’t take her bling with her when she left! It was on her finger, just like the last time they saw her, so her daughter got the bling she’d wanted for three decades, and then Mama was re-buried.
I don’t have another decade of work ahead of me, so this grave digging career might have topped the olive packer’s career, and I may never come across an odder occupation during my own career. But! I’m going to give it my best go!
And the moral of this story is…
Wear your jewelry. You can’t take it with you. And if you’re not going to wear it, give it to MEEEE!!!
No seriously… All I could think of after hearing this story was Luke 12:15, “And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
If that daughter’s Mom could come back and tell her daughter anything, I’ll bet it would be the insignificance of all of the meaningless stuff we collect during our lives, but the significance of the meaningful relationships we had. Oh, the stuff I ponder at night…
I wonder who I’ll get to meet tomorrow.