“The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things.”
When I was a little boy, I thought we were rich. Why wouldn’t you think that when your mom was driving a new Mustang convertible every few months? Little did I know that they were “demonstration” models used for test drives by automobile dealers. My father ran a family Ford dealership in South Bend, Indiana until he sold it in 1974. For you folks over 50, you’ll recall the energy crisis that included long lines for gasoline. Detroit was still putting out gas guzzlers and frankly the products were lacking in quality. Dad says it was just too difficult to run a dealership when the cars were constantly in the shop. Thankfully, he had other things going such as banking (he prided himself as the only banker not to own a pinstriped suit) and real estate so he didn’t have to tack drastically in his professional career. But were we rich? We had nice cars and I don’t recall my parents ever letting on to the four children that times were tight. They very well may have been, but they didn’t flinch in front of us.
Other than the new Mustangs (which really weren’t ours) my parents didn’t flaunt either. Material things were just that, things. I recall when I was 8 or 9-years old, my dad and I were running errands around town in a borrowed, well-used station wagon and asked him if he was embarrassed about driving it. I remember him saying that he didn’t care if people judged him. It just didn’t occur to him. The car was just a thing.
As I get older, I value friendships and creating memories more and more. Things come and go. A great marriage and great friends mean everything to me.
But don’t get me wrong. Mustangs are in my DNA. I’ll be driving one to Erin, Tennessee later this morning to visit the JTG program at Houston County High School. JTG specialist Scott Charlesworth is a rock star there and does a tremendous job of guiding students toward graduation and more importantly, college opportunities while making them employable. Among the things I’ll bring up to the students is the importance of placing a value on happiness and building true and lasting personal and business relationships. Don’t covet things.
Just one question, top up or down?
Went top up. I was told there is a bunch of pollen and still feeling effects of pneumonia. I hate when I make a mature decision!
My visit to Houston County was fun. A really good group of young men and women. Almost all have part-time jobs. The JTG program is leading the senior class civics project of re-landscaping a neglected school courtyard. We’ll revisit that in May.