America always comes up with the best national holidays. Today is Boss's Day, and I've gathered a few friends of mine to discuss this strange cause for celebration.
"Let's hurry this up," Ollie mutters, straightening his tie. "There's a faculty meeting at the college, and my friend Dom is buying Texas Roadhouse afterwards."
"Where's Runnin' Horse?" Alynn asks. I'm just about to answer when Running Horse herself comes through the door. In her hands is a bark cup full of something steaming.
"Nokomis teached me," she says in English proudly, handing the cup to Ollie. "You drink, yes? It help you."
"What is this?" Ollie demands.
Running Horse just smiles and babbles into her computer microphone. The translator's voice responds with, "Here it is! I do not know how bad it is, but this is what makes you feel comfortable."
Lukas takes the cup, marvels at its construction, and takes a quick sip. "This is milfoil tea," he says. "It's a medicine that cures nigh everything. Try some."
Ollie takes a reluctant drink and almost throws up. I wince. We forgot to tell Ollie how bitter milfoil is.
"Anyway, today is Boss's Day," I say. "And I'd like to talk about something that's sorely lacking in modern America's culture--work ethic."
"Technology makes everything easier," Ollie says, spitting into a Kleenex to get the taste of milfoil out of his mouth. "We work smart, not hard. There's nothing wrong with that."
"There is, when people chose not to work smart," I object. "There's too many people looking for the easy way out."
"Is there anythin' wrong with tryin' to make things easier to do?" Alynn asks.
"Of course not," Lukas answers. "But the Scriptures say in Ecclesiastes 9:10, 'Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might....' Even if something's done quickly, or an easier path is taken, it must be done well."
Ollie chuckles. "Most of my students put more effort into playing video games than they do into their midterm exams," he admits. "You've got a point there."
Running Horse shakes her head. "A good job used to distinguish between life and death. It is good and bad to change the times."
"She's right," I nod. "Consequences of a poorly-done task are usually short-lived in today's world. It wasn't always like that. Lukas, what happened when you didn't weed your garden?"
"The harvest was terrible," Lukas answers. "I nigh starved to death that winter."
"So what is it that you do, to make sure you're workin' hard?" Alynn asks.
I smile. "When I was little, I read a poem that was originally published in McGuffey's Eclectic Primer. I still sing it in my head while I'm doing something I don't necessarily enjoy. The poem goes,
'Work while you work,
Play while you play,
One thing each time,
That is the way.
Whatever you do,
Do with all your might.
Things done by halves
Are not done right.'"
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.