Meade: Making things and living the dream
My dad made his living as a contractor.
He was educated as a civil engineer and, by my estimation, was a superstar commercial builder in some of the biggest construction markets in the country.
I won’t list the stuff he built, but, as he and my mom raised my sister and I primarily in the heart of Silicon Valley in California, if you can think of a big-time tech company from the last 25 years, he’s probably built a campus for them. I don’t like to brag, but when it comes to my dad, I’m willing. Dude was and is the man.
Anyway, I remember going places and seeing projects he’d built and thinking, wow, my dad MADE that. My dad is a pretty humble guy, but I’m pretty sure he took pride in that, too.
After high school, I chose to spend a year working labor for the company he owned at the time. Most of a construction laborer’s job is less-than glamorous, and the best part of anything we got to do tended to be interior demolition for renovation projects.
I never built anything on that job, but I did tear down a heckuva a lot of walls, ceilings and floors, so that people with more developed skills than mine could build in their place. But I still remember the feeling of looking at a fully scraped office floor, rubble from my and my teammates’ work lying all over the bare floor, and thinking, I made that.
But this isn’t a story about construction, it’s a story about living the dream. Well, as it happened, construction was not my dream, but it stuck with me that I wanted to do something where I could see the impact of my efforts.
I won’t get into the story of how I fell in love with journalism, but, in short, I came to love writing and telling stories, and that became my dream.
I am blessed beyond understanding to have a wife who supported that. And boy, I tell you, it has been a tough dream to support. Dreams aren’t always, let’s say, financially viable, and mine certainly was not for the first decade of our marriage. We struggled. I had to take second jobs, she worked when she could, and, thanks in part to our somewhat quixotic commitment to be fruitful and multiply, we have always scraped and relied on loved ones and the Lord to keep the fires burning.
This isn’t a story about our finances, though. This is a story about living the dream. I want to tell you folks, coming “home” to Craig has felt like that dream realized. Some days it’s a stress dream, I’ll admit, but it’s been much better than that most days of our short time in town, and I predict that’s only going to get better.
I was extraordinarily close to getting out of the business before the sequence of events that led us to Craig. I’m sure I could have found another passion, but there would have always been a level of regret if I’d left journalism. It really does feel like the windows of heaven have opened on my family here. I’m so grateful.
Why the story about my dad’s long, successful (and my brief, unspectacular) construction career? Well he got to make things and see the impact of his work. That always stuck with me. So, when I walk down the street, or into a local business, and see a Craig resident flipping through the latest print edition of the Craig Press, I just cannot tell you how good that feels. I (and, critically, my team) MADE this.
I’ve been feeling this gratitude intensely lately, and I wanted to share it. I didn’t get here by myself, and I won’t stay here on my own.
Didn’t I just say I don’t like to brag? It’s true, I swear. But the point I’m trying to make is this: If it all worked out for me — a forgetful, always-exhausted, bumbling space cadet of a goofball dad — I want to tell you it can work out for you. Not everybody’s dream comes true, I know it. I don’t want to say it’s anyone’s failure when a dream isn’t realized. Dreams can change and postpone and evolve, even. Goodness knows mine did.
But I hope when you look around one day and discover yourself living your dream, after all this time, I hope you’ll recognize the moment.
I hope you’ll realize then: You (and, critically, all those who loved and supported you) MADE this.
Dream big, Craig.
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