The View From Shanty Pond

The Course of Industrial Decline
The Northern Valley
The Northern Valley.

Mount Tom from the Highland
Mount Tom from the Highland.

In a Crafts' Hill Cornfield
In a Crafts’ Hill Cornfield.

        I heard, the other day, a very good story of one of our best known and most prosperous business men. He was a farmer’s boy, and when he was ten years old he went out for the first time with the men into the potato field to help in hoeing the potatoes. It was a large field, and the soil was stony, and there were many weeds, and the progress was slow. After they had been at work for some time, the boy lifted himself up and looked around upon the few rows that were hoed, and then over the wide field upon which so small a beginning had been made, and said with a sigh:
        "Can this field of potatoes ever be hoed?"
        Well, the work went on, and after a good while the last row was finished. It had been a long and tedious job, but it was done. By and by it was necessary to hoe the potatoes the second time, and the boy was summoned to help. He had not been at work very long when he straightened up, this time with a very different comment:
        "This field of potatoes," he said, "has been hoed once, and it can be hoed again."
        There it is — the whole philosophy of it. The boy had learned a most salutary and precious lesson. He had learned that it was possible to accomplish a long and difficult and disagreeable task by settling right down to it, and keeping at it, hill by hill and row by row—hour after hour and day after day—until it was done. He had learned the value of patience and persistence and steadiness. That is the lesson that a farmer’s boy has a good chance to learn, and that any boy is likely to learn for the future; to any boy who has not learned it, the education of the schools is worthless and money is a curse.
        You see, then, boys, that those of you who belong to the class of which I first began to speak—those of you who are not obliged to do any regular work, and who have half or more than half of all your working time in which to amuse yourselves--are not, after all, in a very favorable position. You are sometimes talked to about your advantages; but the fact is you are laboring under great disadvantages.
        It is an immense disadvantage to you that you are not learning in these years when the habits of life are formed, the habit of steady, patient, plodding work.
The Lower Gatehouse
The Lower Gatehouse — Whiting Street Reservoir.
The River and Valley
The River and Valley, from Southampton Road.

© Laurel O’Donnell 1996 - 2006, all rights reserved
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