Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thanks, Mom!

A friend of mine wrote me from Europe yesterday and she inquired, quite naturally, if I was being affected by the financial crisis. She advised me to stay in for the long term.

Fortunately, this is easy advice to follow, for we haven't any stocks, and our investments, if they may be called that, are in such forms as do not seem to be threatened as yet. Does anyone else just keep their money in a savings account or bonds? I guess we are not sophisticated enough to have made the move to more profitable assets, but then, we are now the beneficiaries of the simple approach. In many ways, I have Mom--both Billie and Lynda--to thank for this fundamental attitude. It is Billie, however, whose example has for me been more influential.

Early in our marriage, she gave us a small embroidered motto which hung in a small wooden frame next to the stove in our house for many years; in many kitchens, many houses.

"Live within Your Means" it reminded us, and though some would argue that we could do no more, I am thoughtful of the way that Billie lived this same advice, as an example for us to follow. Generous to a fault, especially when we were younger and struggling a bit, Billie nonetheless helped me always to think about conservation and recycling. In other words, use what you have and don't be wasteful! Simple advice from the voice of experience. Having this direct connection with the generation who really knew the effects of the Depression has been good for me, and now more than ever.

This reminder, that there was a time when good men could not find work and families went hungry--and it hasn't been so long ago--is useful now when it seem like conditions are returning to that dreadful time. But it was especially useful in times of profit and security, as we experienced for many years up until this past one. Now it is more practical than ever. At the point in our lives where we no longer need or desire more things, we are reaping the benefits of that long held advice from who else but Mom.

Lynda had her influence on me in this regard, but I am particularly grateful to have had Billie's counterbalance to her rather severe responses to the same or similar experiences. The investment in which we have placed the most 'assets' is in each other and reward is the modest, comfortable home that we now enjoy thanks to both of them.

Thanks, Mom!

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