DOUBLE-WIDE ON A HILL
My grandparents had a farm in Mercer County, West Virginia. They had a nice little valley surrounded by very tall hills, some would even say mountains. From about five on, I climbed those hills with regularity in the summertime. I spent at least two months each year on that farm until I was 16. The discovery of girls changed my attitude about quiet country living.
When I was 15 or so, I was standing on one of the hills on the western side of the valley. The day was clear, it was hot on the mountain top, and the sky was high and blue. You could see all the way to the Virginia line on the east side and at least to Welch on the west.
After sliding down the hillside, I met my grandfather on his way to the barn.
“Hey, Boy. You been up on the ridge?”
“Yep, you can see forever up there. Man, I would love to have a double-wide up on that hill with a nice big front porch and some rockers.”
“Listen, you got bigger fish to fry than a double wide on a hill. You need to get on with that book learning your momma says you’re so good at. You are going to work with your mind, not your hands and your back.”
“But Bud’s got a really nice double-wide and that pretty wife of his. Looks pretty good. Mine would be even better cause of the view.”
“Boy, you are just 15; what do you know about a view. Besides, Bud is an idiot—dumb as they come. His momma didn’t have very good taste in men. That whole Maddox clan over by Bluewell is dumb as posts and she married the dumbest of the lot. I know you think Bud is cool because he is your cousin and been in the Navy and he can’t help being dumb—it’s just part of who he is–just dumb.”
“Listen, Boy, no more talk of a double-wide. Make yourself useful and milk Betsy.”
I listened to my grandfather. But on particularly rough days in my calling as a financial advisor, I day dreamed about a simpler life on that hill. I could have married my third cousin, Bobbi, a really pretty blonde girl I was chasing after that summer. We could have had three or six kids and I could have worked on the railroad. What a view.
As things turned out, when she was in an alcoholic haze, Bobbi killed her husband with a long-barrel .357 magnum. My life is truly wonderful after all, market cycles included.