I Noticed His Work


Steve Nauman

Ever since I was a young boy, I always observed others in their occupations. Even though I was only about 5 years old when I started doing that, those observations could be quite revealing—usually to the good, and probably in a few cases to the bad….. I would notice things like whether or not a person seemed to be happy in whatever they were doing. Sometimes, if you happened to see someone long enough at a job, you could also tell if they were good at it—or at least appeared to be good at it!

When I started school at 5 years old, I soon started watching a man working all the time, inside and outside of the school building. This man looked like he REALLY liked his job and I could soon tell that he was very good at it! In fact, I think he was good at just about everything he did! I didn’t know who this man was….. But I thought he must be very important, I actually thought that this must be his school building that we are using, because he’s the only one who knows how to fix everything, he cleans the building and he must have at least 100 keys on his belt….. Yes, he was the custodian—but at that young age I didn’t know what that word meant! I just thought it was a title for the man who was in charge of everything—after all, he was the only one taking care of the place!

I really enjoyed watching that man work—because he enjoyed his work! As soon as all the students were in their classrooms each morning, he would start sweeping the floors with a 4 or 5 ft. wide “dust mop” broom, walking real fast and smiling! He could sweep the entire school in about 15 minutes, and make the floors look perfectly clean again!

It didn’t take long to learn the custodian’s name, because he was always in demand to fix something. His name was Mr Olds. I remember one time we were told to put our coats on, because the boiler had broken down and it was starting to get chilly in the classrooms. But our teacher said “it will be warm soon because Mr Olds is working on it”!  Whether it was a movie projector, a film strip projector, a record player, a window that wouldn’t open—or close….. the answer was always “get Mr Olds”.

He kept the outside of the school—the lawn, the playground, the ball fields  and the shrubs, all neatly mowed and trimmed. He used to paint trim on the building and do some woodworking projects at various places around the school….. and he always appeared to be happy while he was working!

As I thought about “hard working Mr Olds” this week, it made me think of 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12  “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

Even though it’s been over 50 years since I first saw him working, I still remember Mr Olds because….. I Noticed His Work!

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.