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Bradford Lad: Take Pride In Your Work

A board on which the Lord's Prayer had been carved brought to Mike Coatesworth a lesson for life.

I remember the time when my Aunt Chrissie placed me on her knee and gave me a gentle hug. It was one of those occasions when, as a child, I needed to be cheered up. My step-mother had just belted me because I had lost a half-crown whilst I was out shopping for her. No matter how hard I had searched, I had been unable to find it. It was a slow walk home that day. I resigned myself to the punishment which I duly received.

Afterwards I went to my Aunt Chrissie, as I knew I would receive sanctuary in her strong arms. Besides which, my stepmother would not challenge my aunt. I'm sure she was afraid of Aunt Chrissie.

As my aunt brushed away my tears and hugged me I could smell the carbolic soap that she used. It wasn’t an unpleasant smell. For some reason that smell of carbolic always tends to unlock my store of memories.

‘Would you like to hear a story?’ Aunt Chrissie asked, aware of how much I enjoyed her wonderful tales.

She told me about my Uncle Eddie who had been a ship's carpenter and whose nickname was Chips. His ship had been sunk by enemy action during World War Two and he had not made it back home to England. In a corner of my aunt’s room was a huge sea chest that had belonged to him. It contained some of his carpentry tools which he used when he was at home. She said she had enjoyed watching him work, dding "He had the patience of a saint.” When he was creating omething, he put every ounce of his skill and knowledge into the work, making an object worthy of admiration. When he had finished his work he carefully cleaned his tools before storing them away in the chest.

She showed me a large wooden board, onto which the Lord's Prayer had been carved. The words were surrounding by ornate decorations. It was Eddie's last gift to his sister, my Aunt Chrissie.

I ran my fingers over the words and decorative carving, admiring the skill, patience and pride that had gone into their creation. Then my Aunt gave me some advice for life.

“Whatever you decide to do,” she told me "make sure it is something you can be proud of. People will then remember you for the good things you have done, and any mistakes you make along life's way will soon be forgotten.''

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