Fridays Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South
I was in town today, and I have to tell you nobody seemed to think that President Obama's speech about jobs will make any difference.
I talked to a bank president, working, and not working people. Nobody thought Obama's ideas would make any difference. People seemed resigned to their fate. If they are working, they plan to stick with that job for fear if they quit what they have and go off looking for something else, they will lose the only pay check they have. Those not working have pretty much given up looking as there is just nothing out there that they haven't applied for already. Not good news, is it!
However, there is one trade that is doing well, and that is the handyman. You know himsomebody that is a jack-of-all trades. Somebody who know how to do a bit of everything from plumbing to hanging curtains to painting. If they are good, they stay working, but even for them it is getting spotty because in tough times, if a man or woman is out of work, they will tackle any job themselves that needs to be done. One, they don't have the money to hire somebody, and two, they have the time.
I noticed my local lumber company has cut back on the hours the owner is giving his employees. There used to always be four people working, but some days there are only two, and the owner can be found out in the yard loading people's trucks himself.
Wanda and I have a booth at the Old Country Store, an antique shop. Real antiques are not selling that well, but used furniture and tools seem to be in demand. Also, everybody is looking for a deal. It seems that nobody will just buy what you have for sale without first asking, "Is this the best you can do?" or "What is the least you will take for this?" Many times I hold firm, and they buy it anyway, but other times I lose the sale.
Several restaurants have closed locally, and the lunch crowd at our favorite has dwindled on some days. But you know, we even find ourselves eating at home more often these days.
Not only are people not excited about how things are going, many are out and out worried. Worried people watch their money more closely, and that has a snow ball effect. That is if I can say "snow ball effect" here in Florida.
I don't know what is going to turn things around. Even if jobs start coming back for all those who have lost theirs, we are going to have people not trusting that things will be back they way they were for years. I have heard that people who graduate from college in an economic down turn never catch up to the people who finish when things are going good.
So, Saturday Wanda and I are going garage sailing. There is supposed to be garage sales all along highway 90 from Jacksonville on the East Coast all the way over to Pensacola on the Gulf. Over 300 miles of garage sales. No, we are not doing the whole route, and we really have no idea of what we are looking for, but I am sure we will know it when we see it. It should be a day of fun, well a half day of fun, because we both have things we want to do back here at home.
Recession, depression, down-turn in the economy or not, we are happy together. I know a lot of Americans are thinking the same. Things are tough and seem to be getting tougher, so we are all trying to look for and be grateful for the blessings that we do have, and those blessings are found in the people who love us... not in a government, or a leader, or an economy that is looking pretty dismal right now.
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