Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Study: Dow’s Decline Is Fastest for a New President in Nearly a Century

Well, isn’t it just my luck to be around to read that headline? I mean lots of people in this country are born, live their lives, die and never have to deal with an economic meltdown.

I don’t know why God chose me in particular to be among the millions on Earth for this event. You’d think if I were cut out for this, I wouldn’t A) have a passion for travel and B) a writing gig talking about restaurants and C) a dog who ate our expensive pool cover for the fifth year in a row. (This year, he also took out the patio furniture with his toenails.) You know, it’s probably not handy to have a scrapbooking hobby right about now, either.

On the other hand, I’ve never missed my grandpa more. Carl Burkhart lived through that big Depression in the 1930s, and the autobiography he wrote for us is full of hilarious stories of the times. How he bought a car when he didn’t have a clue how to drive it home. The conversations he had with people while running an elevator in a department store. The times he told his boss to shove it because he didn’t want to be treated that way — and walked away without a clue where his next job to feed his family would come from.

OK, that one’s probably more gutsy than funny. And I'm sure there were times he was nervous, scared, and frustrated just like we are today. But at the end of his life, that wasn't what he remembered strongly enough to write it down for future generations.

And my favorite part is that he continued to travel throughout the 1930s, even if it was to pile people in that car and head down the road two hours just to see what was there. He hitch-hiked. He hopped trains, which was illegal and I just want to go on record as not advocating illegal activities. He never quit dreaming of the places he would go and things he would see when he had the money. It never occurred to him that might not happen. He wanted it — he would make it so. He died having visited all 50 states.

I can just hear his comment reading that headline over my shoulder, “Hmmph. Do you have the money in the bank right now? Then go – the future has always been uncertain and they can’t take your memories away.”

I always said I wanted to grow up to be just like him. Looks like I've been handed that chance.

Photo credit: scazon


CW Merv said...

"The future has always been uncertain and they can't take your memories away."

-Possibly the most inspirational quote I've heard in five years.

Nancy K said...

I will cherish that quote, Julie. Your grandpa was a wise and dear man.

Julie said...

Yes, he was. We have all kinds of grandpa quotes and routines in our life ... Ron's favorite is "No Cheezits on the pool table."