Minding Our Own Business

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Why would two people with good jobs, congenial friends, and a home without a mortgage, suddenly abandon all these and at an age when security is the better part of valor, move 2,200 miles and go into business for themselves?

In 1955, Charlotte Paul published – in best-selling memoir style – a book detailing the trials and tribulations she and her husband encountered during their first five years as owners of The Valley Record, a then-weekly newspaper printed in Snoqualimie, WA.  I found the book ~ the title of which is also the title of this blog post ~ at a local antique shop, and bought it on a whim.

Whims, apparently, are something Ms Paul was well acquainted with in her time.

Ed and I are never impulsive, she writes, except in handling those matters in which everything is at stake.  Our courtship was like nothing so much as an eclipse of the sun; it didn’t last long but the total blackout of reason was breathtaking.

Such was the situation when they uprooted themselves and moved across the country, to run a newspaper.  Something neither of them – despite their experience as writers – had any inkling of how to do.

But they figured it out.

And that is what I am doing:  Figuring it out.

Not the business of newspapering, but the business of life.

I have a lot on my plate right now, none of which is particularly appealing.  Extra helpings of distasteful fortuity have ebbed my enthusiasm and drained my energy.

But, reading between the lines of this monographic nostalgia, I was reminded – often, and with poignant humor – that certain truths are universal.  We all have our challenges.  Facing them is where we find our Selves.

All we need is what we’ve got — a fair and even chance.  We’ve learned that success does not come to the man who has no problems; if nothing ever goes wrong, the chances are nothing ever goes at all, for action brings problems as surely as planting potatoes brings bugs.  The man of spirit goes after the bugs, he doesn’t quit planting potatoes.

So as much as I dislike bugs, I will tend to my potatoes.  After all, I do like my french fries.


0 thoughts on “Minding Our Own Business

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      To the former: It was a fantastic book. It’s always intriguing to read history through the eyes of those who are making it, *as* they are making it.

      As for the latter: As I age, it gets harder and harder to bounce when I throw myself against the hard surfaces of obstacles in my way… Despite the benefit of all my padding. 😉

      But every obstacle has a work-around. I’ve been climbing fences and scaling walls my entire life. There just seem to be a lot of them right now.

      S’okay though. I can use the exercise. 🙂

  1. seattlepolychick

    I want to post a picture to this comment and don’t know how.. so go here and see it. http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/zoeypic.jpg

    it’s so damn true. I’ve been hearing this everywhere. I don’t really believe in signs or the universe telling me things, except that I totally do. I do think we draw the people and things into our lives we have to learn from and teach. I’m a science-minded girl who’s simply accepted I don’t know the science of this yet. Maybe we begin to percolate an idea or an inspiration and our confirmation bias makes us see the things that support it or register it and our mind loves patterns and finds them. Whatever. Who cares. Science. Magic. Does it matter?

    The message I’m getting here, and loving about this post, is about the way almost nothing of any great value happens without some risk. We have to venture. We have to try. I tend to be a cautious lass myself until I jump. All the really great stories have a lot of challenge in them and a lot of leaps. Every single thing that really matters to me that has happened in life was almost without fail gotten from a lot of toil and tenacity and blind hope and faith. You go girl. This will be wonderful to watch.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      Where The Magic Happens

      I like that! 🙂

      We might be foolhardy. The bright light of our courage might be like the last brilliant glow of the bulb just before it burns out. But we decided, that day, to crawl out of the rut while we were still silly enough to think we could.

      “Security,” we had learned at last, is what you carry around in your head, and the heart you put into using it.

      (Another quote from the book, of course. 😉 )

      You can’t learn to fly if you never leap off ledges.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I can and I will. 🙂

      I find myself of late in a constant state of heightened awareness about the things I can control, because I’m continually being bombarded by things I can’t.

      Serenity Prayer

      And when that doesn’t work…

      Serenity Now! 😛

  2. wildoats1962

    I used to read a LOT. Anymore I seem to spend my time recollecting what I’ve read. I have found authors quite by accident. Jerome K. Jerome is probably the funniest writer I’ve ever read. He wrote in the 1890’s to the early 20th century. I found him because Robert Graves took a jab at him in the book “The Antigua Stamp.” I sympathized with the wrong character in Graves’ book so I read “Three Men in a Boat” that he had had that character like. JKJ’s style is very similar to James Thurber. I can’t help wondering if Thurber was influenced by him. If I think about “My World and Welcome to It”, I immediately picture William Windom. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063934/fullcredits

    There was a SciFi short story that had the locals on a planet use the term MYOB, when dealing with nosy visitors/invaders.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I have read very little Thurber, but am familiar with his character Walter Mitty. I’ve seen both film versions of The Secret Life; while both are based on the character in Thurber’s stories, neither film portrayal resembles the original Mitty in the slightest.

      I liked the excerpt from Three Men In A Boat about the dinner contributions from the (imaginary) dog:

      I forget the other ingredients, but I know nothing was wasted; and I remember that, towards the end, Montmorency, who had evinced great interest in the proceedings throughout, strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air, reappearing, a few minutes afterwards, with a dead water-rat in his mouth, which he evidently wished to present as his contribution to the dinner; whether in a sarcastic spirit, or with a genuine desire to assist, I cannot say.

      —Chapter XIV

  3. Chatty Owl

    Yes, figure out life. Thats a life-long lesson really. But yes, tend to your spuds! French fries wont make themselves, haha. I love your positivity. Something to be learned by me still.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I don’t know if we’ll ever figure out life. But sometimes Life gets in the way, and the only thing you can do is find a way around it. We never seem to have just one hurdle to jump at a time. It’s either smooth sailing or we’re navigating our way through a shitstorm on a tsunami sea.

      But dodging lightning bolts while maneuvering around blockades is a helluva way to know you’re alive. 😉

      It’s just exhausting sometimes. So I fortify myself with french fries. 😛