My dad always had cantaloupe-size calves.  He was a hairy man except for his shoulders which were hairless.  I never knew why until later in his life.

The mystery was solved when he shared this story of one of his early jobs when he returned to New York from Italy at the age of fourteen.

He was given a job delivering ice near Lexington Avenue. This was in pre-refrigeration days around 1928 when people used ice boxes in their homes. He was assigned to all the top floors of the apartment buildings.

The buildings on each end of the block had an alley space for access to the backyard. The space across the alley was four to five feet.

To save time, when he had to deliver ice to a top floor of the  building next door, he’d carry two blocks of ice to the first customer and drop one of them off. Then, he would carry the extra block of ice the roof, get a running start and jump across the rooftop to the next building.

This resulted in huge calves from climbing and jumping, and hairless shoulders from carrying blocks of ice.

If you are fortunate enough to still have your father around, ask him about his first job, his struggles, his defining moments, his lessons, his victories. You might be surprised what you learn. Like me, it might explain some things you always wondered about.

If you are Father, take the time to share your origin story with your family. It will be a priceless treasure to them.

To make this upcoming Father’s Day extra special, give your dad The Nature of Excellence gift book.

Choose from two editions: