My father was born almost six years before The Great Crash of 1929. Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), he grew up during the Great Depression. The one storyline I distinctly remember him telling me several times was about his father and the family’s good fortune during one of America’s most difficult eras.
His father, my grandfather, worked for the U.S. Postal Service which gave the family quite a bit of security knowing he had a job. Every now and then, I would ask dad about the depression and the only take-away messages I remember are:
- there are no guarantees in life.
- a secure job will keep food on the table.
He talked about how lucky the family was to have a regular income. Times were still tough, but not as tough as waiting in bread lines.
As I reflect back on those conversations more than 40 years ago, there were things he didn’t talk about. He didn’t talk about all the people out of work during the 1930’s. He didn’t talk about how hungry other kids in the neighborhood were. I learned all that in school and from old newspaper articles.
So here I am today, working in a decent job that allows me to put food on the table, keep a roof over my head and do the sport I love. I got here because this is what I planned on doing. Yet there’s something I didn’t plan on: heartache. I do not feel bad for attaining my current position in life. Instead, I feel guilty that I am still working while millions are predicted to be out of work soon due to the coronavirus pandemic. In my little sphere of influence already, people close to me have been laid off. It is heart wrenching to know that there are good people out there who want work, but can’t in the short term. Some times the short term is too long to wait for a recovery.
All of dad’s wisdom never prepared me for this.
And do you want to know what’s ironic? Dad left his secure job for one of the least secure professions in the world: show business.
But feeling terrible for the unfortunate doesn’t help anyone. I know what I have to do. I must keep working as long as I can to help our sagging economy and put food on my family’s table. I need to continue training for a race that was cancelled a week ago. Above all, I need to act in charitable ways. I hope you will too.
Until next time…
Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling