Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Ice Wagon

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Ice Wagon

Article excerpt

A friend of mine related a poignant story of how her family learned about integrity and keeping their word.

My friend Linda and her cousin were writing a book together. Their first chapter, still unfinished, was due to the publisher on the first of the month. They left chapter one unfinished while they worked on another section. As the due date loomed large Linda insisted they go back and finish chapter one so they could make their deadline.

"We made a promise to get this first chapter in on time and we have to keep our word," Linda reminded her cousin.

"I guess you're right," agreed her cousin. "It's the ice wagon all over again!"

They both laughed as they recalled their family's legendary story of the ice wagon.

Years ago, Linda's dad and her cousin's dad were brothers in a family of five boys and one girl. Side by side refrigerators were not yet invented.

The way folks kept their food cold was in an ice box -- chilled by real blocks of ice. The blocks were dutifully delivered by the ice man driving a horse-drawn wagon. The ice wagon was a welcome sight on a hot day and many children would run after it as the ice man made his rounds.

The five boys in the family thought it was great fun to chase after the wagon, jump up on the open bed, chip off some ice and cool their parched throats. The wagon man would chide and shoo them but the next time he made the rounds they were back in action. Finally, the ice man complained to the boys' father. Something had to be done to reign in his mischievous sons.

Dad did. He called the boys around the kitchen table and explained the situation. The boys had done something wrong. The ice man had complained. Their conduct had to stop. His voice was stern and steady. They thought they were in for a whipping but dad had something else in mind.

"I want you to take out a sheet of paper and write this down: I will not jump on the ice wagon ever again. Then I want you to sign your name to it. I know if you sign your name you'll keep your promise because in our family a person is as good as his word. …

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