May 3rd…“WHAT WAS A LIFE LESSON YOUR FATHER TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU WERE NOT HAPPY WITH, AT THE TIME?”
Dad kept good company in the evenings. Authors Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour carried our father to The Wild West almost every night before bedtime either in his Living Room chair or when he was horizontal under the covers. I found that Dad’s mood was usually pleasant when he was reading, so there was something on my mind that seemed to tell me …….“This is a good time to talk to Dad about what you want!”
Like any teenager, in the early 1970’s, I loved my music and collected my good share of 33rpm (revolutions per minute) stereo record albums. Only problem was, my record player was ancient and with small speakers. I had been eyeballing a handsome Sony Stereo record player turntable with impressive Sony box speakers at a music store nearby. I wanted that sound system in the worst of ways!! But, how to get it with a limited income was another story entirely. I was earning $1.60 an hour at the local grocery store, and that was only with me working part time, so it was gonna take forever to save up the $325.00 to buy my hoped for stereo system.
A “bright” idea flashed in my head about a plan to approach Dad with what MIGHT just get me that stereo. I would use a comparison scenario using one of my schoolmate neighbors down the street. For the story here, I’ll call that schoolmate “John Doe”. John was one of those lucky kids that had almost every teenage gadget known to exist. Why? Because his father was a very well paid professional and was also an electronics wizard. Since John’s daddy was quite affluent in the finances department of life, John was GIVEN almost anything he asked for…….paid by daddy. John Doe’s “sugar daddy” even built him his own stereo system with box speakers the size of Mt. Rushmore!!! Needless to say, I’m sure I had visible, envious drool hanging from the corners of my mouth every time I went to visit John and drink in the audible power of those massive speakers as they would about blow us through the walls of his bedroom as his Beatles album would be playing.
Without a doubt, I KNEW my Dad would never agree to outright buying the stereo and giving it to me, but I hoped that I might catch him at his mellow time of reading that evening to present him with a plausible idea. As he’s laying in his bed reading I gathered some courage and said, “Dad, I’ve wanted a Sony Stereo for some time now. It costs $325.00. Would you be willing to pay for half and then I’ll pay the other half from my grocery store job?” The Western novel in his hands slowly settled to his chest as he adjusted his glasses while he gazed at my anticipatory face and said, “No, Son, I won’t do that and here’s why. Even if I DID pay half of the price for that stereo, you wouldn’t appreciate it as much as you would if you had to earn and put out your own money for the entire amount of purchase. Save up your money and pay cash, then that way you’ll know the full cost in time and effort and saving for the stereo. And, you’ll appreciate it more!!!” With his decision made, the conversation was closed. The Western novel came back up to and covered his face and he went on with his reading.
To be honest, at that moment, I thought Dad was being the ultimate “party pooper” and “cheapskate” by not even meeting me halfway on letting me have my dream stereo record player. But, you know, after facing reality and coming to realize I DID have some money coming in from the grocery store job, I just decided to get serious about putting dollars away in a safe place towards making my dream come true.
The day finally arrived when I had the deep pleasure of driving into Vancouver, Washington and walking into the “American Music Company” there on Main Street. I walked right over to that musical marvel machine and was admiring it when a salesman approached. “Thinking of buying that Sony young man?” to which I replied, “Yes sir!!!” “How much per month can you pay?” “I’m going to pay CASH!!” The salesman’s mouth kinda dropped as he saw me pull a wad of currency from my pocket and started counting out the sales price to him on his desk. When the last dollar bill landed on his desk…….there was $325.00 for him…..and a spectacular sound system for ME!!! And, as a matter of perspective………that $325.00, in 1971, today equals $2,022.53 here in 2018.
Dad’s wisdom to me that evening now paid off in “spades” with the elation of accomplishment and pride in having gone the extra mile of saving and waiting till I had all the money in hand. Now I thrilled at the luxurious sound emanating from my very own superb Sony Sound System. I thank the Lord for the wise counsel of my father given to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.
6 thoughts on “Norwegian Farmer’s Son…May 3rd”
I really enjoyed this story. It didn’t take me long to figure out who your John Doe was. I guess I never thought of my dad as a “high paid professional’, just a radio technician for the US Forest Service. He didn’t really buy me everything I asked for, but he did make it pretty easy for me to get what I needed to pursue my passion for music. I was with him one Saturday at an electronics wholesaler in Portland were he would buy supplies for his work, and they had these IC chips that were a 6 watt amplifier. That was a pretty new thing at that time. He said, “I could build a stereo out of a couple of these things”. And then it was on. My dad was never one to do anything half way, so we ended up with those giant speakers too. I wonder if he regretted building those, as they were usually cranked up pretty loud in my room. I think he got as much enjoyment out of doing that project as I did with the finished result.
I think you got the better deal though, as your dad taught you a valuable lesson about patience, and working and saving all the money to buy something you wanted.
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Thanks so much for touching base here, my friend! Just wanted to share here, buddy, that I never intended this story as a “dig” towards you or your precious family! My memories of your dear ones are beloved in my heart and I count your mother, sister, yourself AND your talented father as jewels in my life crown. That’s the reason I chose a neutral name, in the story, since I didn’t want anything negative (if a reader leaned that way) to be reflected upon you, personally. Your inclusion was meant as a springboard to trying to get my father to fund a Sony for myself.
It is a very pleasant surprise to me that you found and read this story. Thanks! I get so few comments, “likes”, etc., that I feel no one reads my blog and that I should maybe stop “talking to myself”. So, to see your first sentence, up above, really lifted my spirits.
I was in awe of your father! To me, he WAS a “professional” in that he worked for the US Forest Service, ya? Didn’t he pretty much build your whole house, too? And on such a perfectly pleasant parcel of land that family castle sat! Didn’t you have a gentle creek that flowed along your property in the back. Wow!! What a blessing your daddy was! And then, to be able to create that stereo, too!! My goodness, what a guy!!!
Well, my very grace-filled friend, if you’re interested, there’ll be over 400 entries to this blog when I’m finished. I’d count it an honor if you’d like to stop by, from time to time, and enjoy another read or two. Tonight I’ll be posting a poem about trying to create a “Tiny Tike’s Treasure Trove”.
Blessings always to you and your wunnerful family!!! >
Your “speaker” buddy,
I recieved your story in the way you inteded it. No offense taken.
My wife subscribed to your posts after enjoying them on Facebook. I really enjoy reading them.
My son bought my parent’s house after mom passed 5 years ago. Dad’s been gone 41 years. I have seen your sister a few times. Class reunions etc. Also saw your mom at my mom’s memorial.
Would love to get together some time.
Dennis, my friend, you’ve truly made this old heart happy to know you enjoy my stories!!!! I’m just a nobody among the millions, but I DO find joy in trying to convey my “gentle adventures” in written form here. My brain will be “wrung dry” of ideas and stories when I hit about 400 or so……down the road. Have around 150 posted, so far.
Very glad your son is maintaining the family legacy by living in your former home!!! Had the great pleasure of meeting him when Mom was still alive. He came to one of her birthday celebrations there.
Getting together may prove to be a bit of a challenge. I’ve lived in Hawaii now since 2010. Lovely place to call home. Summer year round ;o)
Well, buddy, these old eyes are getting tired.
Blessings to you and yours!!! >
I particularly liked your story about The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I remember having to convince my parents to let me stay up past my 8:00 bedtime to see that. Also enjoyed the one about the Family Dodge. I remember that car well.
My son and wife go to Bethel Lutheran so it is not a surprise that you met him. I grew up in that church and mom was a member for 50 years.
I know getting together is a long shot. I live in Livermore CA, east of San Francisco. If we can ever get to Hawaii, I’ll let you know. It could happen.
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Ya never know, buddy, maybe the good Lord will direct our meeting again…….in His good time. If so, I’ll cherish the opportunity to be your “tour guide” while here. Besides, the only time I get to “play tourist” is when Mainlander friends or family come to visit…….other than that, it’s eat, work, sleep and repeat ;o)
Much Aloha till then, >
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