I delivered the few books I had left, drew my money, got a shave, bought a leather apron, and went to bed. I was up and at John McC——’s yard at 6:30.
He was Police Commissioner then, and one of the whitest men I ever ran up against.
I started in at my third job since I had been converted. I was at home in the lumber yard, as I had learned the business While roughing it in Tonawanda, Troy, Syracuse, Buffalo, and on the Lakes. And when a man learns anything, if he isn’t a fool he can always work at it again. Here I was at a business few could tell me much about.
The lumber-handlers as a rule are a free and easy set, nearly all drinking men. It’s warm work, and when a man is piling all day, pulling up plank after plank, he thinks a pint of beer does him good. They rush the can—first the piler, then the stager, and then the ground man, then the piler again, and so on. I’ve counted as many as twenty pints in one day among one gang. I soon got the run of the yard and made friends with all the men; but if ever I was up against temptation it was there in that yard, where I worked a long time. They would ask me to have a drink, but I told them time and time again that I did not care about it; I was off the stuff.
Often when I was sweating after pushing down a load of lumber from the pile and keeping tally at the same time, the Devil would whisper to me, “Oh, have a glass of beer; it won’t hurt you; it will do you good,” and I was tempted to join with the men and drink. I had to keep praying hard and fast, for I was sorely tempted. But, thank God, I’ve yet to take my first drink since 1892!
God was always near me, and He often said, “Tell the men all about it, how you have asked Me to help you, and they won’t ask you to drink any more.” I wondered what the men would say if I told them. I was a little timid about doing it. I had testified once or twice in a meeting, but that was easy compared with this. But after a while I got up courage and told the men why I did not drink. I said, “I have been a hard man and loved drink so much that it separated me from family and friends, put me in prison, and took my manhood away. One year ago I took Jesus as my helper and asked Him to take away this love for drink, and He did. I would rather lose my right arm than go back again, and with God’s help I’ll win out and never drink again.” I often talked with them about it, told them it was a good way to live, and to think it over. I found out in a little while that the men thought better of me, and respected me more than before. I have heard some of them say, “I wish I could give up the drink,” and some did, and are living good lives without the cursed stuff.
I’ve met some of these men on the Bowery, “down and out,” and I’ve stood by them and tried to point them in the right direction. There’s one man, a fine noble fellow, who used to work with me in my lumber days, who is on the Bowery at the present time, unable to give up the drink. He is always glad to see me and says, “God bless you, Dan, and keep you away from the stuff. I wish I could!” I tell him to ask God and have faith, and then I slip him a meal ticket and give him a God bless you!