Side-by-side, covered in dirt and dripping with sweat; we dug, pried, lifted and rolled. We dragged and pulled those hunks of granite from the ground and hauled them to the front yard where they grew to become an imposing field of rough and rugged stone. The most massive rock came from deep in the woods. Impossible for one person to make it budge more than just a little, we put our heads together and our backs behind it, and through sheer grit and determination we managed to move it close enough to hoist it onto the hand cart. You pushed and I pulled, stopping to catch our breath about every twenty feet. It was an arduous process, but eventually we made it through the woods, up the hill in the back yard and over to the wall. One magnificent rock, a singular monumental effort, while difficult for the uninitiated to fully appreciate; that was one experience I will never forget.
Reclaiming the rocks was an incredible feat and the finished section of wall is an impressive piece of work, that’s true. But the true beauty for me was the glimpse I got of your spirit, your attitude, your enthusiasm, your dedication, and your toughness. Side-by-side, covered in dirt and dripping with sweat, the camaraderie, for me, was priceless.
You are not easily discouraged, not quick to quit when it looks impossible, and you don’t stay down for long. So many times your spirit, your attitude, your dedication and your toughness have pulled you through. As you enter young adulthood now, I can see that you are equipped with some of the best tools imaginable.
Of course, you are the same young adult who took his physics final in his pajamas (you got an A on that, I believe). So let me add, Gabe, never lose sight of the child within.
Happy 18th birthday, Gabe.