Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We have all done things in our life that we later wished we had not done. Sometimes we may think at the time that we are doing the right thing only to find out later that the method we used to solve a problem wasn’t appropriate for that situation. Many years ago (more than 15 years ago) an adult personal friend borrowed $100 from me. I don’t remember if it was $100 all at once or if it accumulated by ten or twenty dollars a time.

As time went by I never got paid back so I mentioned the debt to this guys father whom he worked for on a small dairy farm in Augusta, Wisconsin. The father said that they were selling some pigs in a few days and he would see that I got paid out of his son’s share at that time. I felt happy that I was finally getting paid back as the debt was already a couple of years old. I was paid in full within a few days but it was one incident that has bothered me for many years.

I really did not need the $100 that badly and I’m sure it caused more hardship for this guy and his family then it did me good. As the years went by I learned how little this friend of mine was making working on his fathers farm. Today I make more money in three hours on the slope then this guy made in a month working on the farm.

Then came the bad news, Jim had pancreatic cancer and was in bad shape. I contacted his wife and offered to buy them both a round trip ticket to Alaska. She replied Jim was too weak and they would not be able to come to Alaska. 7 months ago this individual died from the cancer leaving behind a wife and two adult children. Shortly afterwards I got an e-mail that the son and his wife were buying tickets for mom and them to come to Alaska. I had the privilege of spending the past week with these people. They stayed at my home with my family and I and we had fishing trips to Elephant Lake and Upper Omar Lake. We rented the cabin on upper Omar Lake and combined fishing with cooking steaks on a grill and a nice meal there in the mountains.

Besides hanging out with us they also spent a day in Seward where they went on a cruise, one day in Homer and a day shopping in anchorage. We also took them to B.J.’s in Soldotna for an evening of listening to Hobo Jim who is the heart and soul of Alaska.

On our day at Upper Omar Lake there were a total of 13 of us there fishing and enjoying a beautiful Alaskan summer day. Yes everyone caught at least 1 fish and yes I cleaned fish at home that night till 2 A.M.... Yes a black bear made his appearance at the end of the lake. Two swans also helped provide more scenic beauty for my friends from Wisconsin. The weather was perfect and it proved to be a beautiful day, but it was Father’s Day and this was a family that had just lost their father.

A man who worked for many years for his father not for the money that this small farm struggled to produce but for the love and respect one man held for his father. Someday this farm would be his farm once his dad retired. Well my friends,-- sometimes things don’t work the way we plan and Jim is no longer with us.

Like I said it has always bothered me in the way I handled the measly $100 loan to a good friend who simply did not have much money. When the family was packing up to leave for Anchorage at the end of their Alaska trip I gave them the $100 back..... I really did not need it then and I can easily live without it now. There are times in life when we can all learn to handle some situations differently. This proved to be a very important lesson to me. See you next week!

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