What does it mean to be a millionaire? It seems I am on every huckster and promoter’s list because I keep getting notices that there are millions of dollars waiting for me at Western Union; Fed Ex; UPS; the United Nations; in most of the African nations and through charities scattered around the world. I kept a record for one week and was told I had inherited over eight million dollars! All I had to do was pay the freight on a package containing my first payment of five thousand dollars; clear customs on a trunk filled with significant dollars (again costing a small stipend); or pay to release a fund in my name by an unknown donor – all that was needed was my name, address and Social Security number. How easy can it be to become a millionaire?
In sixteen years of formal education – from kindergarten through college - not once did I get to experience a “Snow Day”. When today’s children began taking days off because of ice and snow, I tried to remember a time this happened in my school days. There weren’t any. And, it wasn’t that a bus picked us in front of our house. For the most part, my trek to the bus stop covered about four blocks in rural Indiana. Sometimes the wait for the bus was over a half hour. Don’t even ask about the up-hill walk both to and from grade school when we lived in Madison, Wisconsin!
The cold, snowy days we have experienced this January remind me of the Winter of 1978, which according to local weather statistics, was our modern snowfall record. I do remember being held captive in our home for three days with the snow so deep we couldn’t go outside.
Fortunately, I had a client in a retail business, who was ahead of his time in predicting the weather. It was a sunny January afternoon when he informed me that he wouldn’t be open the following day to meet with me. He told me that we were really going to be in for a big storm. I believed him and stocked up on groceries. It turns out that he was more accurate than the weather reporters!
These long, cold winter days with deep snow provide an interesting adventure for our family pet. Our Scotty-terrier mix pup has a hard time with the deep, packed snow. The pesky squirrels seem to know she can’t get to them quickly. This little mutt has made her way into my heart as she gazes up at me with those trusting, hungry eyes. Do you suppose it has anything to do with the morsels of food I slip to her during dinner?
One rewarding experience for braving the winter cold and snow in Indiana, rather than being a “snowbird”, is the opportunity to mentor young, college students. The upcoming generation is enthusiastic and excited to get into the real work-a-day world. Even so, many have unrealistic expectations of how quickly they will succeed. A high percentage feel that they should start making “big bucks” immediately after graduation. My mission is to teach them that patience is a virtue. They will succeed if they stay the course and keep their eyes on solid goals. Rarely, do I tell them my first job was for fifty dollars a week, for a seventy-hour week, (and that was not the net!). They wouldn’t believe it, anyway.
Let’s move on … from snow and ice to warm, summer breezes. I am a warm-weather fan. It is well known in my family that I start getting cold in September and don’t warm up until June! Eagerly, I await the hot, muggy days of July and August. I am eager to fire up the lawnmower and cut the grass. No one enjoys the aroma of cut grass more than I. If more than a few dandelions sprout, that’s o.k. Won’t be long now … before I mount the Toro with a newly sharpened blade and a full tank of gas!