Most everybody knows the classic Disney song from Snow White. You may have sung it a thousand times, but like me, you may have been singing it incorrectly. Until recently, I thought the seven dwarfs were singing, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go.” There have even been a few times when I have headed out the door going to work while singing that little tune. Sometimes I was singing it because I was excited to go do the work I loved to do, and sometimes I sang it trying to psych myself up to go.
Do you know that the actual lyrics are not “It’s off to work I go,” but instead, “It’s home from work we go?” No, I’m not kidding. Now, don’t go listen to the song, because you can hear it either way. Look up the written lyrics. If you watch the movie again, they were working, mining diamonds, and then the clock struck 5. They left the mine, locked the door behind them, and sang “It’s home from work we go.”
Now, honestly, in your real life, with your real job that probably is not working in a diamond mine, which way do you sing it? We’ve been working ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. We may have been complaining about having to work every day since then, too. I’m sure there are days when perhaps we all hate our job, but having a job and the health, ability, and skills to work a job, are a blessing. My parents lived through The Great Depression. Many Americans in those years would have given their right arm to be able to say, “It’s off to work we go.”
For practically all my adult life, my work has been some kind of ministry. That is my life’s calling. For 30 years I served as pastor of churches. Since 2007, I have led an association of Baptist churches. As I think back over all the jobs I’ve done, going all the way back to my childhood, I’ve worn many different hats.
Here are some of the jobs I’ve done through the years, and gotten paid to do them. I landed my first paying job at around the age of 11; before that, I worked in my dad’s coal and building supply store for room and board, meals and clothes. With pay, I’ve been a yard cutter…with a boy-propelled push mower, cotton picker, car detailer, auto body and paint worker, co-owner of an auto body and paint shop, gas station attendant, high school custodian and maintenance man, warehouse stock boy, house/school/apartment painter, drywall hanger/finisher, carpenter, woodworker, musician/singer, comedian, author, and columnist.
After my dad’s business closed, my oldest brother opened a paint-and-body shop in that building. I began working for him when I was 13, and did that kind of work until I was 20. Like most do, I started as a sander, taper, and Bondo finisher. After doing that for about a year, my brother taught me to spray paint. By 16, I did much of the painting. The other men got the cars ready while I was at school, and I came in and painted. After high school, Fred Ledford, my lifelong friend, and I opened our own shop, where we taught ourselves to do customized paint work. I attended classes at our local community college during that time too.