Thursday, January 22, 2009


Happy Birthday, Daddy! You've taught me so many things in life about life. I can't even think of where to begin to share all those things. I remembered a time in my life, about 20 years ago, when life was tough for me. I was going to school full time and working full time and broke as hell and it just didn't feel like anything was ever going to be better or good. I had a phone conversation with you and shortly after that conversation, I received a letter from you. I've kept that letter all these years. It is worn and faded from having been read and re-read. It's so faded I couldn't scan it to include it here, but I'd like to reproduce it for all to read: Hi Pal: Here is an early Christmas present. I know you will put it to good use. Isn't it wonderful to have such a nice father? It was good to talk to you the other night. Brought back some memories of the old days when I,too, was broke and had a few people besides myself to support. Let me play the part of an experienced father and share some advice: 1. Never get discouraged. This is not a permanent situation. If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it helps put a whole new perspective on your situation. 2. Be proud of what you are doing. There is absolutely nothing humiliating about saying, "I can't afford it." People understand that better than someone filing for bankruptcy. (after all, you're a college student). 3. Others have done it. If so, why can't you? You're a better person than everyone else. (I said so, that's who!) 4. Make a game of it. You get discouraged going to the store because you only have $5.00? Don't! I still have fun seeing how much I can get for as little as possible. That's just good money management. The trick is to always get yourself a treat, even it it's only an apple, or a candy bar, or a 25 cent bag of chips. The treat is your reward for doing good. You are not going to eat steak or maybe not even hamburger, but you can get a surprising amount of food for little money. 5. Have fun. If you wake up smiling and go to bed smiling you'll be amazed at how good you feel and how great everything looks. 6. Save for something special. When you get a paycheck, put $1.00 into a coffee can. Turn in some bottles or cans, put 1/2 of the change into the can. Leave it there. When things get discouraging, go to your "happy can." Take out a few bucks and treat yourself to something. Even if it is only the "Sunday Register". It is an accomplishment and will make you feel good. 7. Turn everything possible into an adventure. You always drive to Pamida? On the coldest day of the year, bundle up and walk. Memories make life worthwhile, and the more times you can recall memories, the more you verify the fact you've lived. (Instead of cooking soup, imagine you're the chef on a luxury ship). 8. Don't forget to cry. When you're sad and when you're happy. I guarantee, nine times out of ten you'll start laughing afterward. Plus, your eyeballs need cleaning every now and then. 9. Set aside time for you. Studying get you down? Work getting you stressful? Give yourself even 1/2 hour to nap, look out the window, go for a walk, watch TV, write, loaf, etc. Reinforces that you are important to you. 10. Share with others. If you bought a month's worth of groceries for $2.00, tell Angie. If you break your toe, tell someone. People that like you like to hear what's happening with you. Plus, it drives loneliness away. Well, I'm glad I didn't have 12 points because I would have run out of paper. Just a little sharing on my part with you. Have a nice day and enjoy yourself. That's the first step, hon! Love you! Dad WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, ASK YOURSELF: WHAT WOULD THE LONE RANGER HAVE DONE IN THIS SITUATION? Now, isn't that a great letter? I don't always remember all the points of the letter, but I always ask myself "what would the lone ranger have done in this situation?" and it brings a smile to my face and happy memories of my daddy who has always been there for me. It doesn't matter how old a gal gets, she's always still her daddy's girl! I LOVE YOU DADDY! Happy Birthday from your little girl.

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