Great Grandpa in his Spit & Gravel Emporium


Thank you ladies and gentlemen, fellow Americans, patriots.

Mine is a simple story. A truly American story. A story that is completely unique but also altogether familiar.

My great grandparents came to this country from a place called The Old Country. They came here for that new country smell. And they came to America for a better life. They came to pursue their American dream. And they found it.

They found it working hard labor 21-hours a day for a half cup of spit and gravel. Was it hard back-breaking soul-crushing work? You betcha. Did they give up? Never!

No, they established a spit and gravel store and raised a family. A family they called their own. They taught their children that hard work pays handsome dividends. Their children worked 22-hours a day for sawdust and a shiny nickel. They lived in sewers and ate dirt to save money. And when they grew up, they raised families. American families who bought bootstraps and raised themselves by those bootstraps out of the sewers to work 23-hours a day for metal shavings and slugs that worked in vending machines.

They raised families who worked hard and learned the joy of working 24-hours a day for crumpled newspaper and lawn clippings. We learned to economize by giving up weak habits like eating, sleeping or living within the cozy confines of shelter. Food, rest, shelter are for the weak. And we made it. Made it without the luxury of bootstraps.

That is my story. And today I tell you that if you put your mind to it and work hard, you can make it. Make it like I’ve made it and make it like so many before me have made it.

Thank you. And, uh, you sir–– in the second row, you going to eat the rest of that soft pretzel?