Sorry, no birthdays to announce today. I spoke with my brother last night after Obama’s press conference and somehow we got to talking about our summer working together as UAW workers. It was the summer after I had graduated from high school and the summer before I started school at MSU. The year was 1972.
Our neighbor was president of an auto parts supplier for Ford, in Whitmore Lake. My Mom, to her never ending pride, arranged getting us those jobs. It was dirty, oily work. Mom always had us strip off our work clothes in the garage every night. I usually spent an hour after work picking metal splinters out of my hands. The work paid between $3.35 and $3.65 an hour, depending on our job code for the day, machine operator, hand assembly worker and janitor. That was good money back then.
Normally, summer hires were only kept on for eighty-nine days and then just let go, because on your ninetieth day you became a full fledge member of the UAW and entitled to all of the union’s protection. I guess because of the way we got the job and because there was no way we would be staying on, both Chris and I became vested members of the UAW. Last night Chris mentioned that 1973 was the high water mark for the Big Three‘s auto production, by units. Anyway, we worked for the American auto industry one year before it peaked. Like, Pickett’s charge was for the Confederacy, 1973 was for Michigan and the Big Three, a high water mark. Subsequently, I worked at Chrysler, but that is another story, but fear not, the North shall rise again!
Oh Yeah, wood ducks, water fowl … Today’s header and the picture with todays post both feature wood ducks. This pair of wood ducks was photographed last Saturday when Anne and I were at the botanical gardens. They were swimming in the Japanese garden’s pond. Supposedly, wood ducks have made a great recovery and are much more plentiful then they had been. The main inhabitants of this pond are the Japanese koi, more colloquially know as carp. The garden has a vending machine that sells koi food. It is always a big hit with the visitors, feeding the koi. There is a sign there asking people to not feed the ducks, but they are sometimes fed. There is also a sign asking people not to feed the foxes, but I have never seen a fox in the gardens. I have seen them several times in the Park.
After being named best substitute yesterday, by a pair of teachers that had been competing to have Anne substitute for them, she had today off. She took time today to enjoy the lovely after storm weather and bicycled in the Park. She got fifteen miles in today. I got to work overtime today. I spent the better part of today trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, right Don?