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.