Recently, my friend shared a story about his life:
The Above YouTube Music Video Describes My Friend’s Life, (Except for the Song”s Ending Verse)
It was the “Best of Times.”
My friend’s childhood was one of uninterrupted bliss. From birth though preschool, he had only warm memories of a nurturing home. Grade school years were the same, except with the added freedom of riding his bike to playgrounds and parks to play with his friends.
Summers were spent at a cottage on a lake. Each week provided a new batch of girl scouts for his 2 friends and my friend to tease. They would swim out to where the girl scouts were paddling their canoes to cross the lake. Then, they would shake the canoes as if they were about to tip them. They never did. The girls’ squeals of laughter & delight filled the air. The nearby adult counselors never interrupted. Shaking canoes never got old.
In appreciation for his parental love & support, my friend did more than his share of household chores. He had an older sister (by 10 years) and an older brother (by 8 years). Yet, my friend cut the grass with an old hand mower. He watered the lawn by hand with a hose (no sprinklers). He shoveled out the incinerator ashes (burnt weekly garbage) every Saturday, sweeping the interior concrete floor with a small broom, to pass his Father’s random inspections.
High school added the dimension of a more serious appreciation of girls, with the additional freedom of driving a car. That combination lead to some serious exchanges of affection, especially in his senior year, with the most beautiful girl, among all of his friends. (Separate colleges ended that blossoming romance.)
High School privledges added more demanding chores. He changed the heavy wooden storm & screen windows twice a year, standing on a shaky wooden ladder, 2 stories above the ground – even shakier with the strong spring & fall winds. Raking the Fall leaves was a breeze compared to shoveling the heavy winter snow from the sidewalks of a corner lot, by hand. Add the driveway and shoveling seemed endless. (His older siblings always seemed to have other things to do.)
But his dad provided the benefit of golf lessons from the country club pro. (His brother, wasn’t interested). My friend became an excellent golfer (a 6 handicap) by the age of 16. As an adult, my friend won Club Championships, as an individual, with a partner, and with each of his 4 children, against a variety of skilled opponents. He also became an excellent tennis player, winning the State League Team State Championship (@ 3.5) and his Racquet Club Singles Championship (@4.0).
Perhaps, by experiencing love & support throughout his life, and expressing reciprocal appreciation by doing difficult chores and unselfish acts, my friend developed a sense of balance, instead of entitlement or oppression. The confluence of those experiences translated into confidence that resulted in a variety of successful careers: As Vice President of the State’s largest Bank. As Financial Vice President of a regional petroleum company with 200 gas stations & C-Stores in 4 states. As President of a 6-state exclusive distributorship of a unique fuel additive.
It was the worst of times.
In his 30’s, his best friend literally robbed him of $175,000, by stealing cash from the business my friend invested in. His best friend then declared bankruptcy. The stolen money was never recovered. In his 40’s, my friend’ lent his older brother $90,000, who was in a desperate situation. His brother never repaid the loan. My friend did not pursue legal collection.
In his 50’s, my friend spent years achieving extraordinary profitable customer development, and garnering EPA approval to market a fuel additive that lowered emissions & costs, nationwide. As a result, he negotiated a “Memorandum of Mutual Understanding” with a National Marketing Company to distribute his additive Nationwide. The President of that national company asked my friend’s wife at dinner, “How are you going to spend all the money your husband is going to make?“ Our Agreement Guarantees 1 million dollars the 1st year, 3 million the 2nd, and 5 million the 3rd or 10% of Gross Profit, whichever is Greater, thereafter.
The Master Distributor of my friend’s product hoped to benefit from all of my friend’s work, by Bankrupting the existing Company, which voided my friend’s Distributorship, and starting a new company without involving my friend. The Master Distributor’s bankruptcy negated my friend’s agreement to distribute that product nationwide. My friend suffered the slings and arrows of the Master Distributor’s outrageous greed and duplicity.
As a result, my friend lost all his assets & income, and future fortune. (The Master Distributor failed to get any of my friend’s customers, and went bankrupt again.)
My friend never blinked, nor breathed a word about his loss. With no bitterness, nor remorse, he provided for his family through other endeavors. His 4 children graduated from college, while he & his wife moved into a smaller house, drove older cars, and eliminated 5-Star Resort vacations and the Country Club.
He treated the 2 imposters of “Triumph & Disaster” just the same. He was able “To watch the things he gave his life to, broken, yet stoop, and build them up with worn out tools”, because the “Words to Live By” (Oct. blog post) were the gyroscope for his soul. His relationship with God & family mattered more than fortune & fame. He followed in his Grandfather’s footsteps, who enjoyed limitless success during the “Roaring 20’s”, and suffered horrendous Loss during the Great Depression. He “Treated Triumph & Disaster just the same.”
The Above YouTube Music Video Lyrics are congruent to this Blog Post’;s Message.
In the Final Analysis, all that mattered was his loving relationship with God & Others.