Be Calm-this too will pass

To all my family and friends who are in a panic….please calm down.

March 21, 2020 The corona virus has killed 793 people in one day in Italy. In the United States California, New York, Illinois governors have ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential employees and businesses. Most expect other States to do the same. Large population city mayors have issued similar directives.

Our economy is in havoc. The stock market has lost 35% in the past three weeks. People are being asked to work from home. Schools are shut down. Restaurants and bars closed. Many people who live from pay check to pay check are losing their jobs. These are tough times.  Yet, if we all do what we are being asked to do by limiting exposure to other people our country will survive. This major catastrophic ordeal will pass in two weeks, four weeks, two months, who knows when, but, be certain, it will pass.

Here’s a quick look at history…

While economic and market statistics are ever changing, history is the best guide we have to inform and educate ourselves during uncertain times.  Whether it is the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, the ‘70s malaise, the 1987 recession, the bursting tech bubble, catastrophic events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks, or the most recent housing foreclosure crisis and severe recession, media mania would have you believe that all is lost. When, in fact, in every case, we not only survived these catastrophic events we came out stronger and healthier as a nation despite them. We will prevail once again.

Consider this: In a December 1984 Time Magazine cover story, “Banking Takes a Beating” detailed the fallout from deregulation of banks.  “Bankers now face their most strenuous survival since the Great Depression,” wrote the authors.  “Because of poor management, overzealous lending and some bad luck, commercial bank profits have been battered.”  As Mark Twain once observed, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Then came “The Crash” on October 19, 1987.  Time Magazine’s cover story was titled “Panic Grips the Globe.”  On Black Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 22.6% in one day.  Within days of the crash, however, the Dow had recovered almost half its losses.  The year ended on a positive note, with an annual 2.3 percent return.

As for fundraising specifically, what happens in times of crisis?  Once again, let’s look at history.  Past trends help us understand what may occur the remainder in the future.

One important source for understanding the relationships among giving, the economy and crisis is The Chronicle of Philanthropy.  In a recent article, this respected publication highlights 13 major events that have had a serious impact on the economy since 1940.  All of these, it would appear, were more catastrophic than our present recession.  In each case, the U.S. stock market generally recovered within a year to eighteen months. While full recovery make take longer this time we are already on the mend.

This is a time to remind ourselves that we live in a land of enormous wealth and extraordinary opportunity. We can believe the newspaper headlines and television hype claiming that greed has crippled our economy. Or, you can look at the facts

  • our markets have not ceased to function;
  • our economy has not collapsed;
  • commerce still continues for all essential goods and services;
  • more than 90% of Americans are employed;
  • most companies are still operating aggressively; and
  • most non-profit organizations are continuing their fundraising plans
  • many non-profit organizations will exceed their goals this year

And, by the way, many more American will not get COVID-19 than those who will get it. Of those who do get the virus 97% will recover.

Philanthropist John Templeton, when asked about the economy, said “No one should feel so conceited as to know the answer.”  So, we will make no effort to predict the economic conditions for 2020 and beyond we do believe now is the time to strengthen our resolve, to be motivated by our purpose, and to be excited by the many important projects that we have the good fortune to be engaged.

PS

Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth
who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience
and just plain love for one another – Erma Bombeck

What don’t you spend some idol time thinking about what you have rather than what you have lost. Consider how you can help someone else who is far more unfortunate that you are. Use your talent and expertise to help someone other than yourself.

 

 

 

5 1/2 Months, 22 weeks, Reflections

It’s over!!!. From February through July 14, 2018, a total of 22 weeks, we traveled from Maine to California, up the coast to Washington and then to Vancouver, Island and home again via Colorado. Here are some reflections…

  1. Fifty-years is a long, long time to be married. Sandy and I are fortunate. We actually love each other after all these years.  We have loved each other as 21 year-old newlyweds. We loved each other when we had four children under the age of five. We loved each other when we had six children in private Catholic schools and colleges that we couldn’t afford. We loved each other when we had no money, when we had no jobs, when we borrowed to make the house payments. We loved each other through our more successful years. And, we still love each other even after spending 12,600 miles in a car together as we traveled the country for 5 1/2 months. A happy marriage, it seems to me, is like a long ride on the road—there is a steady rhythm and harmony of being on the road together. We know that storms and bumps will come and go. Yet, we have a calm confidence knowing we are in this together until the journey ends. When we stop on the journey to look backward or forward we see beauty and wonderment. This trip is a lot like our life together. We are forever grateful because Wherever we look we see far more roses than thorns.
  2. When I was a young man early in my work career, I expressed no desire to retire. I loved my work (most of the time). When I got to this age I wanted enough money saved that we could afford to retire even if I had no specific intention. Now that I am age 72 and have no wages coming in from employment I have found a way to vacation for nearly six months in very nice accommodations at an affordable price. How did we do that? Here is the secret. You have to have really good friends and family who live in nice places like Blue Hill, Maine, Las Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, San Marcos, Dana Point,Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, California, Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Anacortes, Washington. It also helps to have a son-in-law who owns an island resort and he chooses to put you up for free. So, bottom line, I guess we can afford to retire under these very favorable conditions. Thanks to friends and family who made this journey possible.
  3. Sandy and I have traveled to all 50 states and on this trip we have spent considerable time in many. We never tire of seeing this beautiful country. Places we recently visited like Schoodic Point or Acadia in Maine, Flagstaff, Arizona, the Grand Canyon area, San Diego, Dana Point, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, California, the Redwoods, the Oregon coast on Highway 101, Orca Island, Guemes Island, Ellenburgh, Washington, Mazama and Winthrop, Washington, Wenatchee National Forest, Chuckanut Highway to the Fairhaven District of Bellingham, Washington, Mount Baker, Washington, Mount Hood, Oregon, the drive through Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado could be revisited without ever tiring of the beauty. God created a beautiful world. Enjoy it.
  4. The past six months has been spent in self-indulgence. We moved from one beautiful setting with luxury living to the next acknowledging our good fortune, being grateful at times, but for the most part just living it up like we deserved it. On occasion people who struggle entered my consciousness, family, friends and acquaintances who have significant challenges occupied my thoughts for the day. My daily readings or dreaming’s forced me to remember my life is not over. My thoughts reminded me, there is still time to contribute. Easy street is not panacea. Challenges lead to greater satisfaction. One of my daily reading posed this question– “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”Martin Luther King, Jr.
  5. 5. So, now we are settled back in Saint Louis and begin to regain our routine.  Sandy is working out at the YWCA three mornings every week. She then volunteers at the Daughter of Charity food and clothing distribution center in North County. And, she returned to daily Mass at Saint Mary;s Chapel. 

I am finding a routine–Golf once or twice per week with Tom and Gerry. Mass at St. Mary’s with Sandy a few times per week. Occasionally, I have a meeting for the YouthBridge Board commitment, for NIFTY, or for Camp Jump Start. I haven’t decided how much I will work for the remainder of this year. But, I have not retired.

6, The family gathering in Breckenridge, Colorado was such a wonderful thing. It was so great to see the family inter-action, friendly comrade, warn embraces, genuine love for each other. It was so entertaining to watch how the younger kids played together and how the older teens showed patience and chipped in to help parents. We had five days together but it leaves us with a lifetime of fond memories and photo’s galore. Thanks to all for making this happen.

7. There is one significant thing that Sandy and I have learned these past six months of travel is — no matter where you live or no matter where you are traveling, your daily thoughts are always about the well-being of your family and friends. We miss them when we are on the road. We can’t get enough of them when we are part of their daily lives.

We will always miss those that we can’t see daily or those that we don’t talk to for weeks or for months. But they remain in our thoughts and prayers. We love them all.

 

 

5 1/2 Months–Week 21

Crank up the Willie Nelson music…we are “On the Road Again.” Sunday morning July 1st, we skip Mary Anne’s Kitchen and drive right past Dad’s Diner, heading out of town on Commercial Ave. We drove around the round-about and stopped at the Bakery to get breakfast and coffee before heading east on Highway 20. We took Best Road to Highway 5. South on 5 toward Seattle. In a few hours we have crossed over Washington to Oregon.

As we are approaching Hood River I noticed the mileage meter was about to turn over 10,000 miles traveled. I pull over at a campgrounds at exactly 10,000 miles to get a photo. Out of no where a park volunteer pulls up behind us and offers to take this photo.

Sunday afternoon we roamed around Hood River for a few hours and had lunch. Then, we drove five miles to find our new AirBnb in Mosier, Oregon. I won’t give you all of the concise directions but suffice to say this was another adventure. Mosier has 430 people, one grocery store that closes at 5pm on Sunday. We showed up at 5:15pm. It has one restaurant. Vegetarians would like this place. It has few options for meat eaters. They will put some sausage on your pizza, if requested. I did request but they forgot. By the time I got to eat my pizza to go I noticed the mistake. So, I ate radish and cheese pizza.

Then, we drove up the mountain for three miles. At the  Rattlers Ridge drop off Sandy got nervous. When we arrived this place was better than advertised. We had a big two bedroom downstairs apartment with a fully equipped kitchen. They had a 46 inch TV so we enjoyed watching a movie Sunday night and a World Cup soccer match Monday morning. Brazil ousted Mexico.

Monday, July 2, we drove all around the Mount Hood area including a stop at the Timberline Lodge. Wow! This place was built in 1929 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. To our surprise, people were still snow skiing and snow boarding on Mount Hood. The temperature at 6000 feet was 40 degrees. The temp up higher on the Mountain was much colder. By the time we got back to Hood River the temperatures were in the 60’s and we watched wind surfers and wind boarders challenge the Columbia River in their wet suits and other gear.

 

 

July 3 we started the journey on a long drive along the Columbia River Gorge. We spent the day driving to Enterprise and Joseph, Oregon where we had intended to stay. But, we decided to push on via the Wallowa Mountain loop at 30 miles per hour. As we made our way through the scenic Hells Canyon some of the hair pin turns were at 15 miles per hour. There are no rails on these roads and mountain loop road #39 was the “road less traveled.” What a FUN, but tiring day.

Sandy tried to book a room for the night in Enterprise Oregon via Hotwire. She ended up booking us in Enterprise, Alabama before noticing the mistake. Then, she found a nice one bedroom in Richmond, Oregon through AirBnb for $75. The location was not the best–looked kinda creepy. So, we drove all the way to Baker City before pulling off the road to stay.

This is where we are staying for the next two nights in Boise, Idaho. This cute little Cassita is perfect for our lifestyle. It offers everything we need in the 400 sq. ft. space. Here is Sandy talking on the phone to one of her sisters. She likes to stay in touch with Saint Louis.

On the 5th we drove all around Boise sight seeing. I learned this–if your GPS talking lady tells you “stay on the route” you had better do it or else she will get pissed and make you drive around in circles until you run out of gas. Temperatures today were in the 90’s in Boise, so we are slowly making the adjustment to Midwest weather.

We drove from Boise, Idaho to Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s more than a 250 mile drive. I believe there are more horses and cows to see in Idaho than people. The scenery is beautiful with one large ranch, or farm, or baron land after the next mile after mile. The highlight stop was Twin Falls where the Snake River rambles through right before you get to Rattlesnake Pass. We finally arrived in Salt Lake City at 3pm just as the temperatures reached 102 degrees.