Coal Miners Are Stubborn!

I grew up in a coal mining family.  They are strong, both physically for the hard labor they have to endure, but they are also strong mentally, or to be more direct, the are stubborn as heck.

My father is a great example of stubborn.  He was a mine Foreman at 21 years of age, the youngest Foreman that particular mine had ever had.  He was dedicated to work and to the men he oversaw.  He went to work sick with the flu, vomiting, it really didn’t matter.   He always went to work unless he was dying, literally. and then it was a tossup.  Very stubborn!   He always said, “I can’t miss work, I’ve got youngins to feed”.  He said that he worked all the time, including double shifts at times, to keep from hearing three little words, “Daddy, I’m hungry”.  We never had to say that to daddy out of lack of food, although playing in the hills all day would work up quite an appetite.  He says that he has cooked more hot dogs and hamburgers than anyone because we seemed to always  have friends over.  He would grill and mom would make the other food preparations.  There is one thing I can say about my daddy, he always worked, unless he was absolutely on death’s door.  He is still that way.  Stubborn!

My daddy almost met his maker in the mine on several occasions.  First he got his head smashed in a piece of equipment.  He told me that he remember’s crying out to God and saying, “if you let me live through this, I will go to Church”, then his world went black and as it did, he knew he was dying.  He lost his hearing in his left ear because his ear was almost completely severed by the machinery.  My papaw, also a miner, was called and told that my daddy had been in an accident and if he wanted to see him before he died, he would have to come quick.  Daddy had been carried out of the mine  by his mining co-workers and it was not looking good for him.  But, wouldn’t you know it, Daddy was too stuborn to die!  He fought for his life.  He lost his hearing in his ear, but they were able to reattach it using plastic surgery.  He lost all of his reflexes that day too.  If you hit his knee or elbow with a hammer, you will find nothing.  One thing daddy did not loose in that accident was his sense of responsibility to his family and his determination.  As soon as he was released from the hospital and given permission, he was back underground.  He did not go and sign up for social security.  Coal Miners are a proud people.  He went back to work without hearing on one side, without reflexes, but with his self esteem intact.  Everyone advised him that it was time to lay mining down.  He would hear none of it.  Back underground he went.  Stubborn!

A few years later my daddy had the accident that would end his mining career.  A piece of lead went through the pupil of his left eye.  He lost his vision in is left eye.  He is now deaf and blind on is left side and has no reflexes.  Did that stop daddy?  No, he is stubborn, he tried his best to go back underground.  This time though, the mine drew the line.  He was not allowed to go back in.  I watched him go through that experience and it will be with me always.  He felt so useless because he couldn’t go back in the mine.  He refused to go on social security because he felt it was his responsibility to take care of his family.  He had to relearn how to judge distances because of his loss of depth perception which affected everything from driving and even pouring liquid into a glass without spilling it.  I watched him as he struggled to relearn things, saw his frustration.  He may not have know it then, but as I watched him regain his life, I was taught two valuable lessons.  The first is that Lord will always provide.  It might not be the path that we want, but it will work out fine.  The second lesson was perseverance.  Failure is not  an option.  Even with his frustrations and adversity, he struggled though learning to judge things again and  he went back to school to gain another vocation.  I watched him study.  I don’t know if he realized that he was also making me stubborn by example.  I will not give up on myself, because my daddy did not give up on himself.  Sometimes its good to be stubborn!

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