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.