Never underestimate just how tough people can be

I was thinking today just how tough little girls are. This weekend we had my sister-in-law and her son over for dinner. He is a middle schooler and was complaining about wanting to earn some money. We talked about it and offered for him to mow the lawn and we would pay him $25 a week.

He decided that would be too much work, but my 9-year-old daughter overheard our conversation. She came over verified what would be needed to be done. Now she has watched me mow and probably knows how much I hate wasting an entire day off wrestling with that never-ending almost like laundry chore of grass that won’t stop growing.

I wish there was a way to make it look perfect and then just stop growing there. She looked up and did the math. That’s $25 a week and $100 a month. That is one two many zeros a year. It took me a minute to figure out what she meant but yes that is 1,200 a year. I didn’t elaborate that this is not a chore that will be done all year, but she will figure it out. So now instead of a teenage boy taking on this tough duty, my 9-year-old girl will be starting this weekend.  

It has been my experience and it never seems to amaze me how many stories I thought of in my past how young girls have gotten up, brushed themselves off and shown just how tough they are. I dated a cheerleader in high school prior to meeting my wife. She was at one of the cheer competitions, and during one of the routines she broke both of her wrists.

This was not a small fracture, and I remember talking to her later, and she said she nearly blacked out and could not remember exactly what happened. She continued the routine, including several round-off back handsprings on two broken wrists. I don’t remember now whether they won the competition or not, but I do know later she went to the doctor and they had to do a bone graph from her hip to fix her wrists. I can’t imagine the amount of pain she must have been in to just get up and continue in that manner.  

I was a part of the initial invasion into Iraq in 2003. I was an NCO at the time and was responsible for my team, which consisted of me, my driver, and my gunner. My gunner was a female who hadn't been in the Army long. Her first training assignment with a unit was while we were training to go to Iraq.

We didn’t have enough food or water. None of us was able to take showers for at least the first month or two. There were no bathroom facilities, so we had to just go in the desert. She never complained and did her job to the best of her ability.

I remember one time when she was pulling security at our main base camp, we had to come in hot, and she provided cover fire for us. There is nothing scarier than running toward friendly fire, but she did a great job and did not hit any of us. I will always be amazed how tough people can be.

David Koen is an Amarillo native who owns Doche Cleaners and is an active member of the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute. Learn more at dochecleanersamarillo.com