The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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 I interviewed Jed Shumaker at his longtime home in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.  He is a portly man with a starch- white mustache that rivals that of Yosemite Sam who worked hard his whole life, this memory perfectly describes his drive, determination, and work ethic.

As Jed arrived at his job site for the day, a lonely manhole in a field near Hershey, his thoughts were set on repairs and then going home.  After lifting off the lid, he carefully climbed down into the small space, bringing only the necessary tools with him to replace the outdated parts.  Although the space was small, his years of training and experience enabled his dirty and cracked, yet skilled hands to deftly maneuver around all his familiar tools.  With a relatively quick and easy fix completed, he gathered his tools and threw them up out of the hole.  However, upon trying to follow his tools to freedom, he encountered a problem, the new fitting he had used was slightly larger than the original and it was blocking his way out.  He tried to wriggle free again, only to once again be rejected by a piece of cold, blunt piece of metal to the sternum.  A few more attempts to escape proved just as unsuccessful and he remained in the hole with nowhere to go and nothing to do but think of an escape.  He had no way of contacting anyone and he regularly worked late, so his wife Judy would be unsurprised by his delayed arrival.  Only his boss knew where he was, but he would not be aware of his imprisonment in the hole until the following day when he failed to show up for work.  His only options were to give up and make himself comfortable for the night or to keep plotting an escape, so he chose the latter.  Escape yet again fell just out of reach, this time literally as he stuck his hands out of the hole to reach for his wrench which was lying just far enough away that he was unable to grab it.  With his hopes low and chances of rescue by a random passerby even lower, he mounted one last attempt at freedom.  The newly placed fitting made contact with his chest just at the top of the sternum, where the skin was already red and bruised from previous attempts.  With all his efforts, Jed exhaled as much as he could, sucked in his stomach and slowly, painfully, and laboriously pulled his torso past the obstruction.  As he pulled himself up and out of the hole he was tired, hungry, and thirsty, but mainly he was glad to be out and appreciative of the lesson he had learned; never put down your tools until you know your work is done.

A Sticky Situation

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1972
Hershey, Pa

I interviewed Jed Shumaker at his longtime home in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. He is a portly man with a starch- white mustache that rivals that of Yosemite Sam who worked hard his whole life, this memory perfectly describes his drive, determination, and work ethic.

Tags: work
Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Cole Shumaker on December 6, 2017
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