Adventure has followed me my entire life. I have been here and done that. Now that Father Time is finally catching up with me, so has Mother Nature.
In my later years I have come to appreciate God’s own creations that have surround me. I love my cats and kittens. Who would have thunk it? They are the center of my universe. They keep my life interesting, fill it with joy and beauty. The appreciation I get from the good folks that get kittens from me makes my chest swell.
I lived in southern Georgia for many years, with my wife and four sons. The job I had paid $8.00 an hour, my travel time to and from work every day was one to two hours, each way. The future didn’t look good. The prospects for my son’s looked bleak. I prayed for economic relief for me and my family. We didn’t prosper, but we survived. Then, I started getting letters in the mail, once a month. A pastor that remained anonymous told me that he knew me from my past. He knew that I desired more than what I had. He encouraged me, telling me that I had in me what it took to achieve success. At first, I just thought he was fishing for a donation, but no, he never asked. I kept getting the letters filled with a positive message, trust in the Lord have faith, sometimes the letters contained a couple of pennies taped inside, as a hint of what lay in store. One day I get a letter with an ignition key to what he said was a 1957 Lincoln. In the letter he said that many years before some one sent him this same key. It was the key to his success, he wanted to be a traveling Evangelist, all he needed then, was a car. In his letter, he said that what worked for him could work for me. All I had to do was go look for the lock that it fit. I took this as a sign from God. I loaded up my boys and went 3 hours away to Jacksonville. We slept on the floor of my nephew’s house, printed up some business cards and went searching for work.
At Home Depot, I was passing out business cards. I ran into a fellow that asked me if we could put up a privacy fence to block out his neighbors junky yard. He lived in Beauclerc a very nice section of town. His neighbor’s yard was cluttered up, it was across the street from his house. Working hard, my sons and I put the fence up in less than half a day. The home owner’s neighbor watched us work. His name was Mike Miller. He owned Jacksonville Waterproofing Company. He watched us work and was impressed. He asked if we would like to work for him. He offered to pay our motel room bill every week, a generous salary and to have our pay check ready on Thursday every week, so that we could leave early on Fridays to travel back home to Georgia. This was great, we loved it. We worked on the improvements to Alltell Stadium where the Jaguars play football. We met the owner, Wayne Weaver. Mr. Weaver gave us an autographed football. Then we worked on the new Wolfson Stadium Baseball Park, after that the new “Veterans” auditorium. The special privileges that we enjoyed didn’t sit well with Mr. Miller’s original employees. The other workers didn’t like being “showed” up. The foreman split us up to work on separate crews. Telling us that it was to get more work out of the other guys. Then the book keeper started complaining about the trouble it caused her to have our payroll done on a different day than everyone else. Soon their grumblings made us feel uneasy. We started passing out more business cards.
We met a fellow by the name of Dwayne Williams, a roofing contractor. Dwayne paid us $320.00 per roof to nail on 24 square of shingles on brand new Habijax houses. We worked for months doing over 60 houses off of Golfair and throughout the Northside of town. We tried to do two a day. After each job, by carefully conserving the materials, we would end up with a couple bundles of shingles and some left over materials which we saved. By the end of the week, we had enough materials saved up to go do a small roof. People that lived in these old neighborhoods were always in dire need for a new roof or a roof repair. We made other contacts and after a few jobs for Ricky Blaylock, I bought two dump trucks from him. We were in business for ourselves then, as sub contractors.
One day we gave a card to Jack Blaze, he was the foreman for Mr. John that owned Jax Bargain Plywood. They bought and sold houses on the side. Soon we did all of their roofs and some repairs. They gave me a discount on the materials and if any one asked the name of a good roofer, they passed them of one of our business cards.
My income as a contractor for many years was in the six figures. I didn’t set anything aside because I thought I was still relatively young and had many more years to enjoy success. But after 10 hernias and 3 operations, old age caught up with me. It took me 3 years to get my disability claim approved. I had to sell both of my dump trucks and all of the equipment that I had accumulated. Living below the poverty level is hard to get use to. After my disability was approved I didn’t qualify for any government help.
Once again God intervened, through my grand daughter Claire’s love for kittens, the good Lord opened my eyes. Just like the letters I received from the unknown preacher, the kittens she loved so much, opened my eyes. They provided me with the opportunity to provide for my family. Now I breed Rag Dolls and sell them via the internet all across America. I don’t miss the dump trucks or the hernias.
No, I don’t earn the six figure income anymore, but I have had a taste of it. The Lord has provided for me through thick and thin. We all hold the keys to our own success, we just have to unlock whatever it is that’s holding us back.