One thing about the current recession/depression is that many of you are going find out who your friends are.
Way back in '93 I was injured on the job, and it took four years to settle my case.
Year one wasn't too bad. We had a few things set aside. We paid off the minivan with my severance money. There was a small insurance payment that came in.
Year two, the insurance money ran out. We were still in pretty good shape, but starting to feel the pinch. Minivan became a money pit -aways in the shop. Lawyers fees added up.
Year three, it was tight. We really started losing ground. We lived on credit cards. I drove my motorcycle in the snow as it was the only vehicle we had.
Year four, things were bad. Zero money for Christmas. By then we were behind on absolutely every payment. Taxes hadn't been paid for three years. We got a notice that the house was going up for auction in two weeks. I had no money and no credit left.
Then I won case against my former employer. Received four years of back pay and scrambled around bringing everybody current.
I learned some life lessons. It's possible to say goodbye all your material possessions and still keep what's important. I still had my family, my wife and kids.
One thing that surprised me -I had a lot fewer friends than I thought I had.
A good friend is there for you during thick and thin. Well . . . things got pretty thin. Apparently, poverty must be contagious and people we thought of as friends avoided us like we had swinethrax or something. It came as a bit of a surprise who avoided us and who stuck with us. You won't know for sure until it happens.
My Mormon friends came though with some of their food storage. That helped a lot, and we aren't even Mormons.
Other friends were good enough to lend a friendly ear and a cup of coffee. It meant a lot at the time.
One surprise was from a friend of mine who lived several states away. We met at a conference once and hit it off. He was about 25 years older than me, but we had wonderful discussions. He bought a new truck and offered me his old one -for free. It was a 10 year old Mazda with 100,000 miles. It had been beautifully maintained, had no mechanical problems or rust, and even had good tires. He felt bad that we couldn't deliver it himself. One of my other true friends gave me a ride to pick up the truck. That truck was a huge boost for us.
Another friend taught martial arts. Three days a weeks he worked me to help me regain my health. I went from being unable to cross the street without gasping for breath, to being in good health. He never charged me for all those private lessons. Thanks to him, I could move on with my life.
I had fewer friends that I thought I had, but the ones I did have surprised me with their generosity.
Only hope I can be as good a friend as some who've been there for me.
For those of you out there going through tough times, I hope to heaven you have at least a few good friends.
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