For 40 years,

my mom and dad

woke themselves at 2:30 a.m.

had a cup of coffee


a microwaved bologna and cheese.

(oh the smell!).


After putting on coveralls



one went to to set up the milk barn,

the other to gather the cows

as their milk was due.


For the next few hours,

they milked

eight cows at a time

four on each side of the parlor.


After cleaning up

the spilled milk,

the manure,

after sanitizing the equipment


double-checking to be sure,

it was breakfast time.


The day had only begun.


Until 2:30 p.m., there was

feed to grind and mix,

crops to be tended,

machinery to be fixed.


Then the cows were ready for milking again.


40 years. Two times a day.  365 days a year.

Rain or shine.  

Snow or heat.  

Well-rested or beat.


Through their example, I learned

that showing up

Every. Single. Day.

is how the work gets done

whether you’re milking cows

or writing for pay.


So whenever I hear some

entrepreneur talking about

the “grind”


the “hustle”

as if they invented the term,

I remember mom and dad

and it makes me chuckle.