Saturday, July 13, 2024



Sonny’s been working as a non-family member at a two-family establishment, small enterprise, five guys in the shop, good people, good pay. It is, however, his first hiring in a secular job and he’s learning a lot. Last week at Grandma’s dinner table when he came to move his Bronco, we had an interesting conversation about status, reputation and accomplishment theft. What, you ask, is accomplishment theft? Quite simply it is when someone else takes credit for my work reaping the status benefits of my labor inhibiting my reputation growth. That’s not all bad if I’m a politician but politicians don’t run in the family. Fishermen do. Having worked with his Uncle Larry for many fishing seasons Sonny has an idea in his mind of what a boss is.

We were sitting at the table eating potato salad and Ruben sandwiches from Grandma’s left-over corned beef dinner when Sonny said after being asked how work was going, “Well, the owner doesn’t know who’s doing the work. The supervisor’s son is on his phone constantly. Jake, Jake Jr. and I do the hands-on work and the supervisor, and his son take the credit.” Sonny frowned into his plate before looking up, “I like the work, Grandpa. Sometimes it’s irritating when I’m halfway through a job and the directions for what they want change.” He shrugged. “But I really like the work and the pay is good.” Grandpa looked at Sonny for a moment then he said, “It’s a small shop,” he glanced over at me to see if I’d like to offer an explanation. I kept my mouth shut. Oh yes, I’ve been there. I wandered around corporate America for many years before meeting Sonny’s father. I am very well acquainted with accomplishment theft. “No matter where you go,” Grandpa continued, “those people are there. You just have to continue to do a good job and don’t let it bother you too much.” Grandma and I watched the two men at the table. I saw Sonny’s face smooth out as he made eye contact with his grandfather. His shoulders didn’t hunch as much; he leaned back; he sat straighter in his chair.

After dinner as Sonny and I headed down to look over the Bronco (pre-trip check) he said to me, “You know the owner of the shop doesn’t have a clue what goes on in the field when we are getting the work done.” “That’s because he doesn’t want to know,” I said.

Sonny frowned at me. I don’t think he believed me. Then he said, “Mom, Uncle Larry may act like he’s not paying attention.” I raised my eyebrows into question marks. That didn’t sound like Uncle Larry to me. “You know? Like how well we are doing our jobs and who’s doing what? But he knows. He knows everything that’s happening on his deck. Everything. All the time.” 

“That’s a captain’s job.” I said, thinking that sounded more like Uncle Larry.

“Well, Mom,” Sonny told me, “The owner of this shop doesn’t know what’s happening on his deck. I think Jake and Jake Jr. are looking for other places to work.” “That’s a good indicator that you need to start looking too.” I said, “And Sonny? Are you learning anything from this owner and his supervisor?” Sonny frowned, “The owner didn’t know my name until last week and I bet he’s forgotten it by now. And the supervisor takes credit for everyone else’s work.”

I grinned, “Like maybe how NOT to lead?”

Grandma’s Potato Salad

(Steve & Caren’s favorite)

4 medium to large potatoes boiled, peeled & diced               2 teaspoons minced onion

1 Tablespoon minced pickle (optional)                                   4 hard-boiled eggs

2-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise                                                 Salt & Pepper to taste

Pinch dry mustard (optional)                                                    Paprika (optional)

Put diced potatoes, onion, and pickles in a large bowl. Peel eggs, separate hard-boiled yolk from the white. Dice the hard-boiled egg white into the large bowl and put the hard-boiled yolk into a small bowl (cereal bowl size). Add the mayonnaise to the egg yolk and mush it together until it is smooth. Add pinch of dry mustard (or a squirt of the prepared type) if so desired. Taste then add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with paprika to garnish. Serve as a side for hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches of all types, fried chicken, BBQ and most anything grilled.

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.


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