This morning I had the honor of driving a dear friend to the food bank to get some much needed commodities. As I sat in my car observing those in line, it struck me how jovial they all were. Here they were standing in very cold temperatures and freezing drizzle and they were laughing and touching one another on the shoulder, making the best of their circumstance.
Flash back to the summer of 2000. I was then the executive housekeeper for a man of considerable power and wealth. I was responsible for managing his estate, including his 9000 sq. ft. home and swimming pool, as well as his two Rottweilers. It was a dubious task, complicated by the fact that he was severely OCD. I would literally get down on my hands and knees to measure the angle and distance from the wall of his favorite recliner in the TV room. Though my grandchildren, nieces and nephews will tell you what an accomplished liar I am (just for fun), I am not in any way exaggerating what I tell you here. Damian was a hot mess. All boots had to be lined up in order of color and the tips had to be exactly even with the edge of the shelf. All monogrammed dress shirts had to be in same color order with cuffs turned out a certain way. Ham had to be wafer thin, but not to the point of breaking. The contents of his kitchen were: ham, sour cream and onion Pringles, Diet coke, and Hershey's miniatures. That is all. Other than the occasional Styrofoam takeout container.
Anyway, those details are outside of the point I want to make. It's just that he was such a fascinating enigma. The point is that he lived in solitude and utter fear that someone would sue him and take his money away. The millions and millions of dollars he had and he lived, not enjoying them, but in fear that he would someday be without them.
The people this morning were happy. They had hope. They knew that the whole group was in the same boat and they were not alone. They knew where they stood. They knew that if they worked hard enough, the poverty could disappear in an instant.
Damian, on the other hand, was miserable. He had fear. Like many others I've know who were of some affluence, they didn't know where they stood. What they did know is that it could also all go away at any minute. They had no idea if anyone of their friends felt that same fear because it wasn't something that you spoke about in good company. So they live in fear and misery and wretched apprehension, always wondering and waiting.
I have mostly been a have not, with intermittent glimpses of have. I love the hope I live with. It is my most bosom companion and keeps me going everyday. The interesting thing is, this holds true for money and for love. When you have it, you fear losing it. When you don't have it, you have a delicious longing for it.
Becky Lyn Rickman
Mom of many, servant to my cats, Cary Grant's other girlfriend (still trying to work out the logistics of that one).