Sunday, October 25, 2015


“What a person is” and “what a person does” may become the primary barometer in defining an individual.   When we meet a stranger, we usually ask, “What do you do?” This is an informal way of asking one’s profession or what  kind of work they’re in.  A response to that question can be answered in many ways, depending on how, or how much a  person wishes to disclose.  For example, if someone were to ask me what I do, I can offer multiple responses—I’m retired; I’m a minister; I’m an associate pastor; I’m a Minister of Music; I’m a church choir director; I’m a worship leader in a local church;  etc.   All these responses are true, but do they truly define who I am?

Reflecting back on the Kilgore ancestry, and specifically to our patriarch. Papa Kilgore, many of us  might describe him  in differing roles —a farmer, a planter, a business man, a peddler, a blacksmith, a lumber man, a well digger,  a father, a grandfather, etc.  But no matter the role we ascribe to him, there is one common trait that stand outs.   It is a trait that Papa Kilgore also instilled in his children  

And what is that trait?   It is his strong work ethic.  There was no laziness with Papa Kilgore.  My father, Cecil Kilgore was a “chip off the old block”.  Daddy could always find work to do even to the point of pulling up Johnson grass by hand, stalk by stalk.  

For the most part, I only know of Papa Kilgore’s life through the stories told by those older than I.  I was 5 years old when he died in December, 1949.  But I did see and experience first hand, the work ethic he instilled into my father, who in turn, instilled into me and my siblings.  You’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  Work is rewarding, satisfying, and is more than “a means to an end.”  It is a way of life.  It is honorable.  It is who we are.  Do your best.  Give your best.  I think of my aunts and uncle, and they too, were a reflection of that strong work ethic.  

My mother is ninety years of age, and she too, exemplifies a strong work ethic.  She never slows down.  Some months ago, I painted the outside windows to her house.  But before I could paint the windows, the attached storm windows  had to be taken down.  Mother wanted all the window panes cleaned at the same time.   After taking the storm windows  down and placing them on the front porch, my mother cleaned every storm window as I stood on a ladder and painted the outside windows.  This made for a very long two days.  She never quit.  Truly, truly amazing!

Maybe a strong work ethic is a generational thing, but I think not.  I believe it is just a part of who we are.  I am proud to be a hard-working Kilgore.  How about you?

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