The Wisdom In Paint Splatter

The Wisdom In Paint Spatter

When I was a freshman in college I worked at a hardware store in my home town of Commerce, Ga. Wright’s Ace Hardware. The store was started by Bill Wright selling one product, shingles. He soon expanded into roofing nails then never stopped adding products. I came into the story nearly 20 years later when they hired a college kid, me, to sweep floors, stock shelves and anything else Pryor Wright, Bill’s older brother asked me to do. I was mentored by Howard, a kind and funny black man that walked with a limb caused from frost bite he had gotten in Korea during the war. I will never forget Howard. There was an older painter, Jack who came by most every mornings to drink the coffee Mrs. Wright would always make for the customers and get his paint mixed. Jack was always decked out in painter’s white clothes that were freshly washed but would be covered with tiny drops of every color of paint imaginable. I always enjoyed mixing the paint and Jack was always patient with me as I learned how to get the colors right. Sometimes I would mess up and get it wrong, but Jack would have another cup of coffee and allow me to remix until I got the shade he desired. One day while letting Jack’s paint shake in the paint shaker a man older than me, he must have been 30 came in to ask Jack for a job. He went on and on how well he could paint. The man and was very convincing, at least to me on how he and Jack would be able to do three time the work. At one point he pointed to Jack’s paint spattered clothes and commented how his paint would be put where it went and not on clothes or anywhere else it did not belong. Jack listened then told the man he did not need any help now. After the “painter want to be” left Jack turned to me and said words that have served me well my entire life. Jack’s remark was, “Anybody that doesn’t make mistakes is not doing anything.” Whenever faced with a task I was unsure of my ability to do I would remember the wise words of Jack the painter. It gave me confidence to attempt the task knowing that if I failed it would not be for a lack of effort.

til next time,

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