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One Photo; One Story: Winter Thoughts

A friend of mine every so often reminds me take a summer vacation, “it’s the thing you’ll talk about all year.”

It’s so easy to worry about money and how much a vacation may cost in time and money. For many income vs. expenditures are hardly ever in harmony.

As I looked out of the back window today at the frozen snow covered ground, I searched my mind for an escape from this winter weather and the cold hard facts of financial challenges.

Our finest memories are more valuable than possessions or your account balance. When you carve out time for yourself and your loved ones, you are truly investing in a richer life. When we get together as a family our conversations revolve around shared times. Together.

We never recall the 401k losses or gains, the credit card balance, medical bills, or money. It’s never about money. The focus is about US. The fabric of who we are as a family, what we’ve done together, and the journey of our lives become clearer.

On the screen of the white snow that lay on the ground, memories of sweet summer vacations played on. My wife and I were younger, the boys, my son Devin and nephew Brendan are young teens.

For several years, every summer we vacationed in the Adirondacks, an old-fashioned American road trip to the mountains.

Grandma packed the picnic basket for the halfway there lunch. A week of horseback riding, fishing, and lazy summer nights lakeside with other families enjoying each other’s company.

Fathers and sons competing in the daily softball game, watching the boys make lifelong friends or learning to ride a horse. There was bingo, campfires, hikes and late nights talking on the front porch drinking cowboy beer (root beer for the kids). There were no watches, computers, or bank statements, just time.

Well we hurried only once that I could remember in those sweet summer days. I was enjoying the lead in the daily fishing contest, as the day was coming to an end. My wife Kelly asked me to take her out in the rowboat. As we watched the setting sun, she took the fishing pole and cast a worm on the water.

She hooked a bass that was out of this world. “Hey this is bigger than your fish and I won’t make the deadline.”

“Yes you are.” I said as I grabbed the oars and rowed back from the far side of the lake.

With minutes to spare, she won the contest. I came in second. The prize: an “I won the fishing contest” T-shirt. She still wears it. I would have won if I didn’t row like crazy.

Memories as these are deeper, more fulfilling than the quarterly statement.

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