I have never put any money into a slot machine nor done any of the other gaming that is commonly associated with Las Vegas. I’ve never bet on a race or other sports event. I have not purchased a lottery ticket nor even joined in the office betting pool that they do around the Super Bowel. But I have done my share of gambling.
I know that depending on who you talk to, even getting up in the morning and walking outside to meet the new day is a gamble. But my past gambling has included bigger risks. I think most farmers and ranchers should enroll in Gamblers Anonymous. It’s quite a thrill to look at the futures markets in commodities and try to determine how to buy corn and other feed ingredients, along with investing the high dollars in equipment, livestock, and real estate required to produces a perishable food product, knowing that the actual value of that product will have nothing to do with the expense incurred in producing it. In the end, the selling value all comes down to supply and demand at the moment of the sale. If the same dollars I’ve lost in such an endeavor were wasted on the crap tables in Las Vegas, anyone, except the casino management, would say I had a gambling problem.
This month there are several things which have got me thinking about another big gamble taken in life.
First, is the research and writing I’m doing on my family history novel. I am doing a little walking in my 2-greats Grandma, Inger’s shoes. Inger was raised in a well-to-do family in Norway during the mid 1800’s. The caste system of the European wealthy was alive and well in that day, so when Inger fell in love with a common sailor, her choice was between the love of her life and her family. She couldn’t have both. Perhaps Inger knew all along that the choice she made would result in a life of hardship and struggle. But I can’t help but think that the young men and women of their day were as eternally optimistic as our youth today. So I’m sure Christoffer and Inger’s dreams of the future included a nice home, plenty of food and other necessities, and at least some leisure time to enjoy it all. At least some of Inger’s dreams were quenched when Christoffer was killed in a work accident and she was thrown into severe poverty. In remembering those hard years of survival when she washed laundry for others, she lamented later in her life, “If I had only had a washboard!”
Besides loosing her husband, Inger lost one of her daughters while living in Norway. It wasn’t too many more years before she managed to move with her remaining three daughters and one son to new opportunities in America.
I have also been anticipating my son’s wedding at the end of this month. It appears to me that the love of his life is almost as spunky as my Beautiful Wife. (She even has the red hair.) She is a great gal and I think that his gamble on love is a safe bet.
And that takes me to the biggest gamble I have ever made in life. Twenty-five years ago this month, my beautiful wife and I were married. (The truth be told, she’s the one who REALLY took the gamble.)
She is everything that I am not. Spunky, impulsive, high spirited, adventurous, and magnetic are a few words that begin to paint her portrait. She gave up much of her world to become part of mine. She moved from the warm sunny climate of Southern California to live in the cold artic climate of Southeastern Idaho. She has spent most of our married life living in the rural setting of farm life instead of the convinces of city life where she would prefer. All of her personal dreams have been put on hold for these entire twenty five years while she does a magnificent job doing her part in fulfilling our joint dreams of raising a large wonderful family.
Yes, with all my gambling losses, this is one time when I won the mega lottery. Instead of a lump sum payment, I’ve opted for the benefits to last a lifetime.
So on this Friday the 13th, symbol of bad luck, I am thinking of the risk we take when our otherwise good judgment is overshadowed by the intoxicating influence of love. We take a gamble when we devote our lives to someone else. But for me, marrying my Beautiful Wife 25 years ago turned out to be a very good bet.