The Harbinger Online

Blog: Novel of Knowledge

Written by K-State journalism major and East mom Mary B. Lucas, as a tribute to her father, “Lunchmeat and Life Lessons” is about the lessons she learned from him, a butcher with only an eighth grade education. It’s inspiring, saddening, heartbreaking and hilarious. It’s a charming novel written by Mary B. Lucas It shares the realities of life, and its purity and relativity is timeless and inspiring.

The novel starts when she is preparing to interview for her first job, sitting at the butcher’s block in the kitchen of her parent’s farmhouse, telling her father about her anxiety. When he offers her some advice in the “people business,” as he calls it, she is hesitant at first. But when he starts talking, telling her stories of his experiences and how they’ve shaped his view of work, she thinks that maybe he might just have a few good things to say.

After that, for every problem she has, the first thing she does is go to the butcher’s block for some lunch meat and life lessons from her father. Bichelmeyer Meats is what he saved up for, put all his money into, put his entire life into. And it’s still there, long after he passed away. He tells her stories about how some of his competitors tried to take him out of business, or how his store was flooded, or how he treats every customer the best he can, laying on the “comeback sauce.”

He tells her things like “it isn’t the pursuit of happiness, but the happiness of pursuit” or “if you don’t like somebody, then they don’t like you.” He tells her to “find the like” in people, because if she has to work with them she might as well be positive. He tells her that she should “inspire herself” when he is on his deathbed. So by writing this book, she did that. And now, she’s a well-known author among businessmen, and she speaks internationally about her book.

I read this book in Leadership, a class taught by Dr. Krawitz and Mr. McKinney using the Stephen Covey Leadership Program. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read. It wasn’t rich with imagery or symbolism or metaphors, but it was real, and it was true. It gave me a new perspective, showed me how to be a better person. And once we finished reading the book, Lucas came in and spoke to us in class. A truly charismatic and overall kind person, it left an impact on me, an impact that inspired me to share it with others.

If you don’t want to read it now, read it later. Before your first day of college. Or your first job. Or your second job. It’s a short book that shouldn’t take you long to read, but I guarantee it will leave you with a lasting impact.

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