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Dream as if. . . .
I read... road signs, billboards, bumper stickers,
the backs of cereal boxes as my grandchildren eat
breakfast, books, magazines and tee shirt state-
ments. I read while lazily swinging in the porch
swing, laying down, and while draped across
my favorite old drab olive green stuffed chair. I
read... the printed word.
That said, last Saturday night a tall lanky, older
woman strolled into the bingo hall wearing a
t-shirt with a printed statement on it that read
¡°Dream as if you will live forever¡±. What an in-
tensely profound statement.
Dream: a visionary idea, a mental picture, a goal,
a desire, a purpose, hope, aspiration. A silver
thread of life that binds us to the past yet moti-
vates us to follow the long long road of life that
lies ahead leading toward untold open doors and
the fulfillment of dreams.
Looking through memories, I find some dreams
dreamed, but left behind, as I grew in years.
However, some were realized, accomplished, done
- and I moved on. Always, it seemed, there was
another dream on the horizon.
It has been a very long period of time since, at
age ten, I announced to my siblings and par-
ents at the dinner table that the great dream
for my future was to work in the circus. It was
with extreme excitement that I explained that I
wanted my own game booth where I would give
cupie(kewpie) dolls, embossed with silver glitter,
as prizes to those who could
break three balloons with three
darts. As I wound down, I was
surprised at the reaction of
those around me. Siblings
appeared as statues, their forks
suspended. My parents, their
eyebrows arched and extended
into their hair line, stared at me
as if I was some alien being
dropped into their midst from
outer space.
It was a lesson learned early in life. Not everyone
appreciates the true value of a dream the same!
And no, I did not join the carnival but, continue to
think it would be great fun for a season.
Over sixty years has passed since that time at the
dinner table. There has been a hope chest full of
dreams dreamed. Dreams for children, homes,
fast cars, particular jobs, the one and only forever
soul mate (that one took a while), attending col-
lege and graduating while in my late 40¡¯s, doing
something that made a difference in the lives of
others. I am not sure how many of my ¡°dreams¡±
were dreams, and how many were actually goals.
Nevertheless, there is a lingering dream in my
heart of hearts. Every once in a while I take it out
and look at it. I find that there has been a consid-
erable length of time since I have allowed myself
to think about it. Not sure if at my age there is
time enough for the dream to become a reality in
my life.
¡°Dream as if you will live forever¡±. After much
thought I have decided... there is time.
there is in this life
a golden chance for
every soul to follow
the silver thread of life
leading to enduring dreams. -k
(Karen Schafer lives in Grand Junction and writes
about life in Colorado)
The Reading Room 2016 October/November
Pg 6 - The Sunshine Express
Treasures From The Inbox
If you get email, you
get stuff. Sometimes
it is spam, sometimes
it is a true gem.
Here is one of those
gems worth sharing:
Positively Karen
The Pickle Jar
As far back as I can remember, the
pickle jar sat on the floor beside the
dresser in my parents¡¯ bedroom. When
he got ready for bed, Dad would empty
his pockets and toss his coins into the
jar. As a small boy, I was always fasci-
nated at the sounds the coins made as
they were dropped into the jar. They
landed with a merry jingle when the
jar was almost empty. Then, the tones
gradually muted to a dull thud as the
handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my
hand and leading me into the room. ¡°Look,¡± she
said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on
the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement,
there, as if it had never been removed, stood
the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered
with coins.
jar was filled.
I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar
and admire the copper and silver circles that
glinted like a pirate¡¯s treasure when the sun
poured through the bedroom window. When
the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen
table and roll the coins before taking them to
the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was
always a big production. Stacked neatly in a
small cardboard box, the coins were placed
between Dad and me on the seat of his old
Each and every time as we drove to the bank,
Dad would look at me hopefully. ¡°Those coins
are going to keep you out of the textile mill,
son. You¡¯re going to do better than me. This
old mill town¡¯s not going to hold you back.¡±
Also, each and every time, as he slid the box
of rolled coins across the counter at the bank
toward the cashier, he would grin proudly
¡°These are for my son¡¯s college fund. He¡¯ll
never work at the mill all his life like me.¡±
We would always celebrate each deposit by
stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got
chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the
clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his
change, he would show me the few coins
nestled in his palm. ¡°When we get home,
we¡¯ll start filling the jar again.¡± He always let
me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As
they rattled around with a brief happy jingle,
we grinned at each other. ¡°You¡¯ll get to col-
lege on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,¡±
he said. ¡°But you¡¯ll get there. I¡¯ll see to that.¡±
The years passed, and I finished college and
took a job in another town. Once, while visit-
ing my parents, I used the phone in their
bedroom and noticed that the pickle jar was
gone. It had served its purpose and had
been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I
stared at the spot beside the dresser where
the jar had always stood. My dad was a man
of few words and never lectured me on the
values of determination, perseverance, and
The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues
far more eloquently than the most flowery
of words could have done. When I married, I
told my wife Susan about the significant part
the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a
boy. In my mind, it defined, more than any-
thing else, how much my dad had loved me.
No matter how rough things got at home,
Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into
the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid
off from the mill and Mama had to serve dried
beans several times a week, not a single
dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary,
as Dad looked across the table at me, pour-
ing catsup over my beans to make them
more palatable, he became more determined
than ever to make a way out for me. ¡°When
you finish college, Son,¡± he told me, his eyes
glistening, ¡°You¡¯ll never have to eat beans
again - unless you want to.¡±
The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica
was born, we spent the holiday with my par-
ents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to
each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling
their first grandchild. Jessica began to whim-
per softly, and Susan took her from Dad¡¯s
arms. ¡°She probably needs to be changed,¡±
she said, carrying the baby into my parents¡¯
bedroom to diaper her.
When Susan came back into the living room,
there was a strange mist in her eyes. She
Be thankful that you don¡¯t already have every-
thing you desire. If you did, what would there
be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don¡¯t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those
times you grow. Be thankful for your limita-
tions, because they give you opportunities for
Be thankful for each new challenge, because it
will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach
you valuable lessons. Be thankful when you¡¯re
tired and weary, because it means you¡¯ve made
a difference.
It¡¯s easy to be thankful for the good things. A
life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks. Gratitude can
turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be
thankful for your troubles, and they can become
your blessings.
Be Thankful
Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.
How To Observe Thanksgiving
¡°A thankful heart is not only
the greatest virtue, but the
parent of all other virtues.¡±
- Cicero