Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Money Tree by: Karen Pilarski

I recall a time in my youth when I would beg my parents to buy me candy or a toy. All kids open with the "pretty please with sugar on top." I thought I could make them cave eventually. Sometimes when mom was tired and my other siblings were loud she would give in. Mostly she would say "no, what do you think money grows on trees?" The little thought bubble above my head showed a flower pot with a tiny tree with dollar bills dangling from it. When money was snatched off a branch another one grew in it's place.

Hey, what do you expect from a child? As a tot I thought $5 dollars meant I was rich. Although I didn't 'grasp' the concept of money, I knew my family was flat broke.

 My twin brother didn't comprehend the money concept either. He was however a very good cash finder. He used to play the state game at the corner church festival. Without fail, he would find the manilla envelope with the large sum of money.  The cunning sleuth could find dollar bills anywhere. One day when walking home from school he found a $20 bill laying abandoned on the sidewalk. His eyes widened and heart raced. Jumping up and down he yelled "Mom. I found a buck!" He wanted mom to take him to the store to buy him a candy bar. My mom was also slick. She bought the hungry boy chocolate and kept the rest of the change. I guess I don't blame her, there was nine children after all!

My family often had good business ideas to help make money. We lived by the Wisconsin State Fair for a few years. Our yard was a good size. My mom charged people to park their cards on our lawn. This earned enough money for my mom to take us to the fair. To this day other people have followed suit.

Now that I think of it, mom was a pretty savvy business woman. My father also was crafty. He made guitars by hand and sold some.

While I am certainly creative, I lack the arts and crafts talent. Most of my siblings have a knack for art. My stick people don't even look normal. My twin as an adult made police plaques and sold them. The girls in the family (with an exception of myself) are good cooks. I need a fire extinguisher when I make pop corn.

The economy isn't in the best shape and often a dollar has to be stretched. I can relate to that feeling. Last weekend my husband and kids were involved in a car accident. The person who hit us drove off! My husband has a very sore neck and back. I have to pay a $500 deductible along with rent, car payment (for a banged up vehicle) bills and student loan payments. If there was a money tree seed, I would grab it in an instant. Unfortunately for many of us strapped for cash people, such a wondrous treasure doesn't actually exist. My sister and I joke that we are sometimes one bad week away from becoming a stripper or a hobo. Thankfully I haven't had to buy my five inch glittery heels just yet.

The only hand to play is utilize the gifts that God gave us. No matter how silly it seems to hold a rummage sale in March. No matter how 7th grade it appears to babysit for the neighborhood ankle biters. Whatever it takes to earn some dough.

It would awesome if a money tree blossomed and grew when needed. Roots expanding and the tree trunk becoming taller and reaching towards the sky. Trees are still special despite not producing cash. Trees best assets are being sturdy and strong. If someone needs to lean on it for support it is there like a good friend.