Loser Or Winner?

   There he was, laying in the grass, hiding and thinking as he observed the house, waiting for the little girl to come out. He had a lot of time to think, "How did I ever get to this level?  How did I ever sink so low that I'm contemplating kidnapping a child?"  He thought about his life and what a loser he had been. He was five when his Hoosier father died on the farm.  At 14 he dropped out of school and hit the road.  He tried odd jobs as a farm hand b ut he hated it.  He tried working as a street car conductor but he hated that.

   At 16 he lied about his age and joined the army - and he hated that.  After his one-year enlistment was up he headed to Alabama and tried black smithing but he failed at that.  He got a job as a railroad locomotive fireman.  He liked that.  He thought maybe he had finally found himself.

   At 18 he got married.  Within months, his young wife announced she was pregnant - the same day that he announced he had been fired once again.  And then one day while he was out job hunting, he wife took their little baby, sold or gave away the furniture and moved back to her mother.  Then came the depression.  He couldn't win for losing, as thehy say. He really tried, but he always seemed to lose.  He tried selling insurance.  He tried selling tires.  He tried running a ferryboat, operating a gas station.  No use.  And now, there he was, hiding and waiting.  He knew the habits of the little girl - what time she came out in the afternoon to play; that's when he would kidnap her.  But that day she didn't come outside.  Now, in fairness to his name, I must tell you that it was his daughter, his two-year-old daughter, he was trhying to kidnap from his runaway wife and later on they both did come back.

   Late in life he became chief cook and bottle washer of a little restaurant and did pretty good until a new highway came through that bypassed the restaurant and killed the business.  Once again it looked like he was going to fail.  And then the government said to him, "Well, old man, you've had your times at bat.  You've struck out almost every time.  It's time now to retire.  We're going to put you on Social Security."  When he got that first Social Security check it was like a slap across the face.  It was like the whole world was saying, "Hey, give up.  Take this - we'll take care of yhou for the rest of your life."  He got so mad that he took that check and started his own business with the support of many of the customers from the little restaurant

   The man who never got started until it was time to stop was Harland Sanders - Colonel Harland Sanders - who started Kentucky Fried Chicken.  And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story.  It's never too late to start living the rest of your life.

t the la     © Dick Caldwell 2012