Working with Dad: a story of a father and son working together and learning from one another and from the disadvantaged people

Essay by sw33tcheekz112High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2003

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My alarm goes off at four in the morning and I literally roll out of bed and make my way to the bathroom. I throw on work clothes, an old t-shirt and jeans that have been washed way past their limit. Then it's down the stairs to the kitchen, where I throw the kettle on the stove to make a cup of coffee for the long ride ahead. I slump into a chair at the bare kitchen table. It won't be inhabited again for many hours. I plop my head on my arms, using them as a makeshift pillow while I impatiently wait for the whistle of the kettle. When it finally shrills, I get up and make my thermos of coffee.

This done, Ryan, a friend of my dad's and mine, comes down the driveway right on time. Ryan is my partner for the day and the summer. I notice he has his parking lights on.

That's a sign that he's in a good mood. I grab my coffee, glance at my father and settle on the couch to make it look like I have been waiting for hours, but the exhaustion on my face gives me away.

My father is sitting in his recliner, coffee in hand, the news blaring on the TV. A surprised expression crosses his face when he sees me. He says good morning in a mocking tone because he knows I'm barely conscious. I sit and wait, trying to act awake as Ryan comes whistling through the door. He gives me a wink, says good morning, and gives Dad a chuckle.

This is about the time Dad looks up and says with a grand smile, "Are we ready?" With a groan and a stretch, I stand. We get into the cab of my dad's...