I can't write a book with a this title and not tell you about my Dad. My Dad was born in December of 1915. He was raised on a farm in Jefferson county about three miles from Oskaloosa, KS. He lived through the Great depression. He told me that nobody had any money. He used to run a trap line with his brother Wesley before they would go to school. They trapped coyotes, possums, rabbits, squirrels, etc. They would take the skins and sell them in town and the meat was supper. I don't think they ate coyotes or possums.
The one room school house that my Dad attended was on the corner of Grandpa's farm. The government took part of his land that he had paid for and built a school. Grandma and Grandpa McCarter were not happy about giving up their land. I remember hearing Grandma complain about it fifty years later. Dad went to school up till the eighth grade. Dad was a good worker and Grandpa needed him to work on the farm. Dad wanted to go to school. Dad and Grandpa got into a fight one day about going to school. Grandpa won the fight and that was the end of Dad's formal education.
That is hard to imagine now. Getting in a actual fight with your Dad because you want to go to school. Today kids don't want to go to school. The parents fight with the kids to make them go. I believe my Dad knew the value of a good education. I didn't know how this story would later affect me.
My senior year of high school we had an organized skip day. I didn't see a problem with skipping one day. I never skipped. I was always at school and on time. My Dad told Mom to tell me that I needed to go to school. She proceeded to tell me this story about Dad's fight with his Grandpa. How do you argue with a story like that? I skipped the skip day and went to school. That story is part of my Dad's character. Standing up for what's right. He wanted the best for me and that was going to school. It was a valuable life lesson.
Dad was a union construction laborer. Dad's dream wasn't to be a construction worker. He loved the cattle business. He had taken care of livestock since his childhood and continued to do so after getting married and having kids. Dad had some Holstein cows that had to be milked everyday. This was before there was automatic milking machines. Dad, Mom, my brother Larry and Rich, and my sister Lana Mae would go out and milk cows before going to school. Luckily, Dad was out of the milking business by the time I was old enough to milk.
Dad received an inheritance when the family farm was sold. He was in his mid-fifties at the time. He quit his union job and bought a two ton Ford truck to haul cattle. He would drive to local sale barns and buy livestock. He came home with sheep, cattle, goats, Shetland ponies, etc. He bought anything that he thought he could make money on when he sold it. He would buy cattle and haul them to St. Joe, Missouri or the Kansas City stock yards to sell them.
He worked lots of hours doing what he loved. He was very successful. He listened to the stock market at noon everyday to get the latest price on what cattle were selling for. This can be a risky business. Buying and selling cattle is a lot like playing the stock market. Prices go up and prices go down. He took the good with the bad. He was living proof that if you are doing what you love, it isn't work.
My Dad's story falls right into line with the title of this book, When I make it Big. Dad had been working toward this goal, all his life. Maybe not intentionally. I also believe that God was working in the story. We can do the work but if God doesn't bless us, it ain't going to happen. Dad was a hard worker. He went to work everyday he was scheduled at the construction site. Dad went to cattle auctions every day but Sunday. Sunday was the Lord's Day. Dad honored God by not working on Sunday.
He knew the business. He had been working with livestock all his life. He worked on Grandpa's farm and on his farms. Getting up every morning and doing chores was part of his life. It was like breathing. It was like drinking coffee every morning.
My Dad quit his job to pursue his passion. That is a big step of faith. I was listening on facebook to Steve Harvey. Steve Harvey is a successful comedian who is the host of his own TV show. He is the host of Family Feud. It is one of my favorite game shows. He was talking to people about being successful. He said, "You gotta jump." How true. We want to walk out to the end of that diving board and stay there. The thrill is not looking at the water. The thrill is in the jump.
Do we all quit are jobs and pursue our passions today? If you are saying to jump, how come you haven't jumped? Good point. I believe that we need to look at timing. I believe my Dad waited until the timing was right. He hauled many cattle in a pickup truck with stock racks on it, but to do it full time he needed to be able to haul more cattle to make more money. Bigger is better.
My Dad was in his fifties. We are not limited by our age. Age is something that we can use to our advantage. I know a lot more about life in my fifties that I did in my twenties. Wisdom and experience are great teachers.
I was in seventh grade when Dad became a full time cattle trader. I was the last child at home. My brothers and sisters were married and away from home. He didn't have the family responsibilities that he had. All the kids were gone except one. The risk factors were lower. The odds of success were better.
I learned many things from my Dad. I learned how to pursue my passion. Our passions are totally different. He was a cattle trader and I am a songwriter. Your passion is different than mine. I believe that passion is a God given gift. It is ours to open up like a Christmas present and use it. I hope you will be able to know your passion and then be able to jump when the timing is right. Jump!