I remember a time when simple defined my life. I was young and carefree but longed to be busier, to have lots more to do. I recall not caring for this simple life, but do I ever long for it now. 💕
When I was growing up in rural Batchtown, Illinois, I finally scored that perfect job, one that would provide me with some money in my pocket so I could purchase my own snacks at the local church picnic or ballpark concession stand. It felt good, you know, to make my own money. I felt so accomplished. With the sweat that came with hard work and a tired body at the end of a work shift, I took delight in accomplishing my goals. I was ten. That's right, ten years old. I'll never forget my first day. A very young and naïve girl arrived at the barn where this sturdy, confident gentleman greeted me and my brothers, ready to share what would be required of us. His name: Otto "Butch" Klaas. He was the owner of one of the local apple orchards. I really liked him. He was patient and kind, taking time to show us the expectation and answer questions. He would explain and model our work responsibilities multiple times until we clearly understood our assignment. I learned that my brothers and I would be charged with picking up apples from the ground, those that fell off the apple trees. Let me be clear. We were not picking apples from the trees. That was a job saved for the adults and older teens, as you had to be a bit taller to reach the limbs and sometimes you had to stand on a ladder. We were just kids, responsible for filling crates with those ripe apples that simply fell onto the ground when the fierce wind blew. With every filled crate, we would earn fifty cents. One crate of apples would get me five fire Jolly Rancher sticks or Pixie Sticks or two small candy bars. I was so motivated to fill those crates. I generally filled about twelve, which would earn me five dollars and some change considering taxes and all.
I'll never forget that experience, my first job. Yep, picking up apples! Did I ever learn a lot during my childhood employment. I learned the importance of placing value on things that often get overlooked. Who would've thought all those apples that fell to the ground would be worthy of being picked up and saved and cleaned and packed to be sold. What I learned was those fallen apples are synonymous to the pennies we drop, the people we disregard, and the jobs or tasks in which we fail to engage. Thus, we could have more money if we placed value on all those pennies, for they add up. How many relationships we can make to improve our lives if we take time to get to know those who can do nothing for us from a materialistic point of view. The knowledge and skills we can learn if we humble ourselves to do the work that some believe isn't worthy of their time.
Every opportunity is a blessing. I say...value your pennies, enjoy chance meetings, and grab that opportunity that appeals to you, even if it doesn't involve a possibility for career advancement. You get one life to build a repertoire of positive experiences. Make 'em all count! 💖