I was born and lived in a small town in Iowa until I was 11. My parents both worked, Dad was a plumber, Mom – worked at my school as the principal’s secretary.
It wasn’t a life of luxury, but I never knew that.
My folks had a decent two-story house, that my father had built additions onto. And we also had a half acre of land, right on the north edge of town – only a couple of blocks from green, growing, countryside. We were actually able to keep a couple of horses on our property, even though we technically lived “in town”, so I did feel like we were rich. I mean, not every kid gets to have their very own pony and cart, right?
It looked a lot like this, only my pony was a brown and white Shetland named “King”.
Horses are a sign of money, right?
My parents were just that good at budgeting.
My brother and I never went without the necessities – food, clothing, a roof over our heads, and lots of love and laughter in our lives.
But, looking back now, as an adult… I realize that we really didn’t have “all that”.
And, I’m ok with that.
My parents struggled to make ends meet, and the summer I turned 11, they moved us – all of us, kids, dog, cat, and horses – to North Dakota. I hated them for it for a while, ah hell, for a long while. I was moved away from all of my friends, all I’d ever known, to hell-and-beyond-North-Dakota. It was the back end of no where, right? With tumbleweeds rolling down the streets, and those streets weren’t even paved, amiright?
Well, not exactly.
New horizons, new opportunities. North Dakota was all that for my parents. And the house in Iowa? Went back to the bank.
I didn’t know, as a kid, what that meant. I do now.
And so, we moved.
They owned a hardware store in the little town we moved to, for a while, but there just wasn’t enough business to justify keeping it open. But that wasn’t so bad, as Dad was in high demand as a plumber. And Mom worked at the local Cenex gas station/convenience/farmer’s coffee shop/garage, then moved on to work for the town doctor for many years.
Once again, we always had everything we needed, if not necessarily everything we wanted. I even had a pet goat for a while, till she ate my Mom’s raspberry plants down to the ground.
Heidi and the tomcats. Hmm, sounds like a rock band. And in a way, she was a rock band all on her own.
Couldn’t keep her room clean worth a damn, but she was cute as hell.
Needless to say, by this time, I was a little more aware of the fact that we weren’t exactly rollin’ in the dough.
But, when you’re a young, teenage girl, you have horses, a goat, tons of barn cats, and a couple dogs… what more do you really need?
I was fairly happy with my lot in life, financially. Didn’t need much, because I had all the important things.
My parents, my brother, my friends (the very few that I had as a kid – keep the circle small), my books and my animals. That’s what was important.
The value of a thing, comes from your own valueing of it. You set the worth, because it’s only as valuable as long as you set store by it. Once you no longer care, it ceases to be worth anything.
I don’t need much in this life to make me happy.
As a matter of fact, I’d rather have someone spend time and thought on me, than money. Why?
Because money comes and goes – but time is something you can never get back.
And it really is the thought that matters.
That’s the true value of a thing.