Today we salute all workers who go to work each day to support their families. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
In 1956 in rural northern Wisconsin, my mom and dad became teenage parents. Their future looked bleak. But, after laboring in the mines on the Iron Range for seven years, the insurance money from a car accident turned out to be my parent’s twist of fate. They used the money to enroll in barber and beauty school in St Paul to learn a trade.
They converted an old telephone company into a barber and beauty salon in McGregor, Minnesota, and worked long hours cutting and coloring hair while raising six children. Then, when the Town & Country Motel and Restaurant owner passed away suddenly, the banker convinced my parents to purchase it. This was quite a stretch as neither of them had ever slept in a motel. Nevertheless, the banker loaned them the money along with the down payment. So our entire family rolled up our sleeves and went to work cooking, washing dishes, and renting and cleaning motel rooms.
What my parents lacked in formal education, they made up with their people skills, innate business sense, and strong work ethic. I remember them getting dressed up to host the Lions Club at our restaurant. Politicians and famous people like Walter Mondale, Vern Gagne, and Rudy Perpich occasionally made guest appearances.
In the last 40 years, my parents have owned 55 successful businesses and employed hundreds of people. My parents are an example of what we celebrate this weekend. I acknowledge all the workers and their contributions for the good of us all.