At the start of the Great Depression, he was a rural boy who went off to a CCC camp to get work. He was placed in a workgang, digging a pit with shovels and picks, in hard rocky compacted soil. The boss walked away, the other boys on the gang jumped out of the pit, and started playing cards, with one of them serving as a lookout. Royal kept on digging.
The lookout whistled, and all the boys piled back into the pit and resumed digging, just before the boss walked by. Grandpa was sweating and breathing hard, the other boys, not so much.
The boss again walked away, and again all the other boys climb out and go back to their cardgame. A short time later, another whistle, and the boys got back in. And here comes the boss, along with his boss. Again, Royal was sweating and breathing hard, the other boys, not so much.
Royal was ordered up out of the pit. "Any boy who will dig while not being watched, doesn't have to dig in this camp."
And so he was sent over to the carpentry shop, where he started learning the trade that was his for the rest of his life.