The Recovering Farmer

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Investing In Hope

I bought a lottery ticket. I am dreaming of what I will do with 47 million dollars. After all that is what the jackpot is tonight. Can you believe it? 47 million dollars. I should really cancel my tee time for tomorrow morning because I will be busy spending all that money. Not sure where to start. I know many of you could and would help me.

Last week my daughter started sharing with me how she would spend that kind of money. She had an extensive list. She promised to pay off our mortgage. Right on. She had all kinds of plans. After she had listed many of the things she would do she looked at me and informed me that she had spent most of it. I chuckled. I told her that what she had just told me she was going to do would cost her approximately a million dollars. Plus, I added, in the meantime the interest on the balance of the money had already returned her more than she had spent. I told her she would have to try harder. Spend more. And spend faster.

My son and I talked about this the other night. You must be thinking by now that’s all my family talks about. Not really. You see, I was doing some paper work. Cleaning out my wallet. Doing my GST. I came across a ticket I had bought last November. An indication of how often, or should I say seldom, I buy a ticket. You see, I have this theory. As long as I don’t check the ticket I am a winner. I can dream big. I can think of all the good I would do if I only won. Seems to me that the big guy upstairs would want me to win so I could carry out all these good deeds. Yeah, right. Me thinks not. I suspect that winning that kind of money could have a detrimental effect on anyone’s life. Some say money does not buy happiness. I think I would like to try.
My son calls this an investment in hope. He tells me that when I purchase a ticket and don’t check the numbers I have hope. Hope for all financial woes to disappear. Hope for something better than living from paycheck to paycheck. In general, hope for a better life. However, I do notice that he has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Me thinks he is kidding.

I am reminded of the story of the fellow who was convinced that the world would be a better place if he won the lottery. He was a strong believer in a higher being and prayed diligently that he would win the lottery. After all, he told God, he would help others, he would be unselfish. As the weeks went by he prayed harder each week but never did win. One day he just could not take it anymore. He became angry with God and told him so. This time God answered him. Simply and quietly suggested to the man to help him out and buy a ticket.

Sometimes I find myself thinking that I really do deserve to win. Of course, each time that happens I meet someone who deserves it much more than I do. So I need to get back to the real world. Do my job. Earn that paycheck. The only question left is, do I check my ticket or do I wait? In the meantime if you really want to win the lottery make sure you buy a ticket. Make it a good one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

There Are No Pictures

I spend a lot of time golfing with a couple who live just up the street. The two of them golf together on a regular basis. It is interesting to see. There are certain dynamics in that relationship that we could all learn from. It is common practice, at the end of a round, to shake hands with the rest of your group. This couple, regardless of circumstances, regardless of how the round went, will give each other a kiss. As much as that would be a good practice for all couples I am not sure I know many that could pull it off.

He has a down to earth, realistic approach to golf. He knows all the techniques. He follows golf closely, reads all the golf magazines. Tries to learn from what he sees and reads. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But he sticks with it. She, on the other hand, has a different approach. She has her own pars that she guns for. The 11th hole at Kingswood is a tough one. It is part of a four hole stretch that is sometimes referred to as Amen Corner. It used to be the 9th hole before changes were made to the “track”. So her par for the hole is 9. If she gets 9 or better she is ecstatic. If it is worse than 9 she just mutters “amen”.

The other day, when she showed significant excitement after one hole, he gave her a dry look and suggested that there are no pictures on the scorecard, just memories. I chuckled. Then I thought about it and, in my usual way, drew a life lesson out of that.

We often take pictures to go along with our memories. Whether it is at a wedding, on a vacation, at family get-togethers, when nature shows off her beauty, or many other occasions when life gives us a Kodak moment. However, there are times when a camera is not available, something happens to fast to snap a picture at just the right moment. For an example, try taking a picture of lightning. We miss the moment and are left with only memories. Trust me. Sometimes that is a good thing. I can only imagine some of the pictures I would have if a camera were always around. It would bring back memories of events that are best left forgotten. Those embarrassing moments. Those “oh crap” experiences. Sometimes a poor memory is a good thing.

You know that certain left hander that I have often referred to in the past? The guy that I used to compete with, or at least tried, in a weekly golf outing? The one that found out last fall that he had cancer? The good news is he had surgery and is cancer free today. He has struggled this year to get back on the golf course. But like I knew he would, he fought back mentally and physically to overcome his setback and get back on the course. He went out by himself this last week and, wouldn’t you know it, got a hole in one. That’s the good news. The bad news is he was by himself. I recall last year, when I spent many an hour by myself on the golf course, thinking it would suck getting a hole in one if nobody was there to witness it. The feat is the same. The memory will always be there. However, that is an experience that is most fulfilling if it is witnessed by others, particularly your usual golfing buddies. I am betting he wishes that he had a picture. A video even.

Life gives us many memories. There are good ones. There are bad ones. The key is being able to filter out the bad ones and focus on the good ones. Sometimes we need reminders of the good things that have happened in our lives. To forget about the bad experiences. And if we are lucky, we have pictures, not just scorecards, to bring back the good memories. Make it a good one.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

How many remember that song? Quite a catchy tune. Found out this morning that this song is typical of many of the songs I know. I can sing along but never take note of the lyrics. I suspect I could probably sing along with this one if I heard it on the radio but when I printed off the lyrics I was rather surprised. The lyrics, as a whole, seem rather disjointed. I think I get the message but the cadence (now there is a new word for you) seems off. The word, as defined by the dictionary, means a recurrent pattern. Not sure whether that helps. I am sure my left handed musician friend knows what I mean. Often when you read poetry there is a certain flow to it. The lyrics in this song do not have that flow.

However, there is a message in the song. The message simply speaks about someone who seems to be tired of the rain. Tired of the blues that come with the rain. Talks about a conversation with the sun. Telling the sun that “he’s” not doing his job. Telling us that just because the rain keeps falling there will not be tears. Just keep smiling. “Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin.” It would appear that the composer is referring to life. Perhaps he has had an inordinate amount of challenges in his life. He seems to be tired of the challenge. Would like the rain to stop and the sun to shine. Hey, I think I can relate.

Heard a good saying the other day. “Some people feel the raindrops and some people just get wet.” I recall as a child wanting to run and play in the rain. It was refreshing. Even today there is a certain beauty to rainfall. The dark clouds that move in. The sound of rain on the rooftop. The fresh smell in the air. It settles the dust. And when the sun comes out after a rain shower even the birds seem chirpier. It livens things up. It is almost like a new beginning.

I have felt overwhelmed by some situations I am dealing with. It has created some unwanted feelings. Feelings of anxiety. Feelings of inadequacy. Forced me to do an inventory. Had to say no to some work. Had to really push myself to wrap up a few cases. And suddenly it was like the sun coming out after the rain. I felt better. I felt refreshed. The clouds had moved. It felt like the birds were singing again. A day or two after my feelings improved I ran into another challenge. But it was manageable. I did not run from the raindrops. I let them fall on me. I got wet but didn’t mind. I was reminded again that “we do not see things as they are we see them as we are”.

As I wrap up these thoughts I can see rain clouds approaching. It has been very hot. The grass looks brown. We could use some freshening up. Grain producers are concerned. What looked so promising is now becoming a challenge. So we need the rain. And when life hits us with rain, when we feel overwhelmed, take a minute to pause and feel the rain drops. Don’t just get wet. Always remember; “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain”. Make it a good one.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Tim Horton’s Start

What is it about coffee? Why do I feel the need for coffee first thing in the morning? What is it about that black, bitter liquid that gets me going every morning? (inject sound of me taking a sip from my third cup) Do you ever take the time to look at a coffee carafe which has sat idle for a day with yesterday’s leftovers? I don’t get it. I remember back on the farm we would drink instant coffee. Crank up the hot water tank so it was hot enough. It was quick. But I also remember what the cups looked like after a while. Like I said. I don’t get it.

I remember growing up we had a rule in our house. We could not drink coffee till we were 12. Not sure what was magical about that age. Perhaps it was the old myth about it stunting your growth. Stunting your growth? If that is really true me thinks there is a health issue and we shouldn’t drink it at all. All my friends could drink coffee whenever they wanted. Not fair. See? I have been scarred for life. Let me think. Perhaps their growth was stunted.

I have always enjoyed Tim Horton’s. I hear people debating which coffee is better. Not sure that I have a strong opinion on that. Not that long ago I had three of our kids with me on a quick trip to the city. They wanted a Starbuck’s. Okay. I had never tried their coffee so I agreed. Went through the drive through. Ended up paying twenty bucks for four coffees. That seems rather excessive. Actually that seems rather obscene. Way beyond my pay grade. To top it off the coffee was not good. Actually what I like about Tim’s is their muffins. More specifically, their raisin bran muffins. Although each time I order one of those I just know the cashier is looking at me and thinking there is another old f%#t that’s not regular. So it may have some added benefits. I still like the taste. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Early yesterday I ventured out for a round of golf. I had sat on the deck and enjoyed my coffee in the company of my wife. I had visions of grandeur. I could feel it. I was going to have a great round. But the start was not that great. Found water on the first hole. Found water on the second hole. Not what I had hoped for. Not what I had envisioned. When I finally finished the second hole one of my playing partners looked at me and commented that I had had a Tim Horton’s start. Made no sense to me. What the heck was he talking about. The he explained. I had started out with two double bogies. That meant I had had a double double start. Just like a lot of people like their Timmie’s. Two creams, two sugars. Those that spend hours in a Tim’s line up will understand.

Life is like that. Sometimes when we get up in the morning we have visions of a great day. Then things go wrong. How often do we just simply say it’s going to be a bad day and carry on with that attitude? Yesterday I kept the faith. I knew I could still recover after two bad holes. And to a degree I did. Shot what seems to be my average round. So that meant there were some good holes. So I didn’t par the course. But it was a beautiful day. An enjoyable round. Now all I do is think about what if. That is not good either. I need to think about the next round. Enjoy it. Think big. Think positive.

As for Tim’s and coffee? Perhaps I need to revisit that one. Do you know that when you hit the age of 50 you have spent the equivalent of 5 years waiting in line? What a waste. And coffee? Not sure of any nutritional or other benefits. But I still like it. Make it a good one.