Archive for May 10th, 2010

I had a call from my son yesterday for Mother’s Day — he wanted to know if I had received his card.  Well, no, I hadn’t, so I was especially glad to hear that he had sent one.  (I did, however, actually receive a card from my daughter.  That was a nice surprise!)

Once we got done with our Mother/Son conversation, I passed the phone to his father, who also loves to talk to him.  From remarks that my husband was making, I gathered that Chris had told him something good about work, so after the conversation was over, I asked about it.

It seemed that Chris’s train had had a surprise inspection from the Federal Railroad Administration — just a routine thing, but the thing is that the FRA is even more stringent in its requirements than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is the field my husband has worked in for all his working life; he got his start in OSHA.  The inspector actually complimented Chris on his safety practices, and Chris made note that he had grown up in a safety culture:  “My dad just retired as a safety inspector, so I’ve heard about this all my life.”  The inspector, he said, seemed impressed.

Now, over the years, my husband has put up with a lot of guff about occupational safety and health.  Bad enough when it comes from the public — when it was first enacted, the OSHA Act came in for a lot of criticism, and my husband was threatened several times with bodily harm — but over the years, thanks mostly to mucking around under various administrations, gradually OSHA came to be deprived of its teeth, and now has no real power to do anything proactive; it only comes to the fore after a life has been lost, which is a shame.  Be that as it may, dh has endured a lot of commentary from his various agencies about the “wussiness” (for want of a better word) of safety, with the implications that anybody who works in the field is little better than an old mother hen.  That kind of talk takes its toll on a man’s self-esteem, especially over a period of decades.

“I want you to think about this,” I said.  “For all the nonsense you’ve put up with about your career — for all the people who’ve been ungrateful about the fact that they will get to go home at night to their families, instead of to the hospital or the morgue — the one you actually reached was the most important one of all.”

My husband was already on a high over that telephone conversation.  When I said that, he positively glowed.  It makes a man proud when his son follows him into his own line of work; but I think it makes a man even prouder when his son takes Dad’s life lessons to heart.

I am a blessed woman, to have such a son, and such a husband.

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