Volume 4 Issue 2 Fall-Winter 2017-18
By Madison Monroe, Editor
t was a regular day in the middle of a regular week. So, when he opened the mailbox, the unexpected envelope took him completely by surprise. He tentatively reached in and retrieved it. Holding the envelope gingerly, as if it was a poisonous snake, he stared with disbelief at his first social security check.
“It’s over,” he thought. “I’m washed up. Even the government thinks I have nothing to offer.” He walked slowly back to the house and tossed the letter on the coffee table. ‘Loser,’ it whispered to him. ‘Quitter.’
There are times when life causes you to pause and reflect. This was one of those times. He slumped on the sofa still staring at the check on the table before him. It was true. He was a loser, a quitter. Everything in life that he had touched had failed.
He thought back, trying to disprove the indictment of his mind, but realized he was guilty. He had quit high school at fourteen and started an array of jobs that quickly lost their appeal. At sixteen, he joined the army; but after one year, walked away. He married at eighteen. His wife told him she was pregnant the same day that he lost yet another job. A couple of months later, she packed up and left. It had taken her less than a year to realize she had hitched her wagon to a ne’er-do-well.
He fell into a depression and for years bounced from job to job. He hated working…hated himself. At one point he had tried to kidnap his own child, but failed at that, too.
He had been a farmhand, railroad fireman, street car conductor, insurance salesman, tire salesman, ferry boat captain, filling station attendant and a restaurant kitchen cook. And he had hated them all, either quitting or getting fired from every job he had ever had. It seemed to him, the Social Security check was a message from the very country in which he lived, saying, “Just give up. You are done.”
As he gazed at the envelope, his eyes welled with tears. Not tears of sadness, but tears of determination. He couldn’t walk into the sunset of his life a loser. He wouldn’t.
He invested that first Social Security check into a little restaurant and, surprisingly, it drew a following. The restaurant and its reputation grew. It was the first time in his life that Harland had succeeded.
You know him as Colonel Sanders. The restaurant: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Winner winner, chicken dinner!
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