The short version is that I’m 50 years old. I’ve been married once for over 20 years to the most beautiful woman in the world (sorry to the rest of you second place ladies) with whom I’ve fathered and raised 5 children, currently ranging in age from 9 to 18. I’m self employed and have been for almost 15 years. I’m an evangelical, charismatic Christian attending a non-denominational church.
The longer version is a bit, well … longer.
I was born in the mid 50s to a Missouri farm girl and a young draftsman in the United States from Puerto Rico and before that, the Domincan Republic. This makes my lineage a bit more interesting as my father was an illegal alien here in the US long before we had problems with our current crop of undocumneted workers.
If you’re born in Puerto Rico, you’re automatically a US citizen as Puerto Rico is a US Commonwealth. My paternal grandfather was a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and went to the Dominican Republic on some teaching assignment. While there, he had an affair with my paternal grandmother and fathered two sons with her, my dad and my uncle. He later brought the two boys to Puerto Rico and they grew up there. When he graduated High School, my father came to the US for school and graduated from Louisiana Tech and took a series of jobs. He met and married my mother, fathered me and finally went to get a job for which he needed to be bonded. At that point it came to light that he’d been living as an illegal here for years. Fortunately, the naturalization process was simpler then and his marriage to my mother was sufficient to get him his citizenship.
My parents met and married in less than 30 days. I was a honeymoon baby. Their marriage lasted until January of 1967 when my father passed away abruptly from complications of asthma. My mother remarried a couple of years later. My stepfather is one of the finest men I have ever met. He never treated my sister and I as anything but his own flesh and blood. He never adopted me so that I would carry on my family name. I named my oldest son after him to honor his contribution to my life.
I worked for a year after graduating from High School and then left the Chicago area, where I grew up, for 4 years of college on the plains of Kansas. I hated High School but LOVED college. I came into my own during that time. My BA is in Religion and Philosophy as I was, at that time, preparing for ordination in the Presbyterian Church. In the Fall of 1979 I left for seminary in Southern California and completed a year and a half of a three year MDiv program before I ran out of money. I returned to the Chicago area planning to go back to school when I had some more money put back. I never did.
Living in my parent’s home in Northern Illinois, at the age of 26 and with no definite plans in sight, I got a phone call from a friend that would change forever change my life, although I didn’t understand that at the time. I had just taken a job in Chicago selling radio ad time for a HUGE Christian radio station when a friend invited me to go on the road with a rather famous Contemporary Christian Music band as their Concessions Manager. I called my new boss at the radio station and quit, never having started in the first place, packed all my earthly possessions into my 1983 Toyota Tercel and left Northern Illinois for Nashville, TN. I would never go back.
The call had come in on Sunday night, I arrived in Nashville on Wednesday and left on my first tour with the band on Thursday morning. That gig lasted 6 months before all of the guys who came down from Chicago got fired after losing a battle of political influence with the office staff for the band. Everyone else returned to Chicago but me. Having lived in two major metropolitan areas and spent four years on the plains of Kansas, Nashville was then and remains to this day, a great mix between a big city and a small town. So I stayed.
A couple of really bad experiences with roommates later, I met the last roommate I ever want, my lovely bride, M’Lady K! We worked hard for little money, living on love for a couple of years. When our oldest son was born, however, M’Lady K came home to be with our child. Child turned into children and she has been at home since late 1988. She currently home schools all 5 of our kids as well as putting up with me on a daily basis.
With our income cut in half and me being a bit slow to respond to that crisis, not to mention being without the ability to simply raise taxes to increase my income, I plunged our family into a 4 year period of financial nightmares. We were behind on every bill we owed and our dinnertime conversation consisted primarly of M’Lady K giving me the low down on what creditors had called that day. Assuming, of course, the electricity was on for us to have power for her to actually fix dinner.
I finally got a clue and **gasp** took a second job! It took about 3 more years but I finally managed to get us out of the hole I had dug for us with a lot of hard work, generous in-laws and boatloads of grace from a merciful God.
Once we were finally on our financial feet, I hit on the bright idea of starting my own company and going it alone. M’Lady K resisted her urge to strangle me with her bare hands and somehow made it all work at home on the money that came in. Our business made money from day 1 and managed to survive until 9/11 put a stake in its heart. The business was VERY advertising sensitive and business is notorious for not liking uncertainty so ad dollars dried up. It took 15 months to actually die, but a decade of my life went away in the flames of the WTC and I didn’t even live in NYC.
As I was praying about what to do about the impending collapse of my financial empire, the Holy Spirit very clearly gave me my next assignment. It, too, was profitable from day one although less so than business #1. Still, as income from #1 declined, income from #2 increased and take home money remained pretty level. After December of 2002, business #2 was all that there was and it has put clothes on our back and food in our bellies since then.
It also attracted the attention of a larger company in my field that offered me an incredible opportunity a couple of months ago. We merged our companies and created a third. Even though I went from owning 100% of my own company to owning 33% of the new company, the income and future are better. After 15 years of hard work, my ship sailed in. I’m currently in the midst of heading up the physical portion of that merger and keeping the product flowing to our customers.
I work in the general area of recycling, quite the blue collar field. So when I decided to start blogging here at Conservablogs, it seemed appropriate to call myself Blue Collar Muse.
I write all this so that you see the roads I’ve taken in life to get where I am today (wheever that may be). Given my life, I don’t see any other option for me than to be a political Conservative. I’ve had help from many people along the way and God has been both gracious and good to my family. The one entity that has contributed little and taken much is the Federal Government.
I’ve had help from many people, family and friends, over the lst 20 years and have weathered some hard times but have never taken a dime from the government in the form of handouts. By God’s grace, I never will.
I’m excited about this next phase in my life where I get to take some of the lessons I’ve learned and wisdom (such as it is) I’ve acquired and pass it on to younger businessmen and, perhaps, also to anyone silly enough to actually read this blog. Having started blogging a little over a year ago, I’ve enjoyed the process. Finding Conservablogs to continue that process is, IMHO, an act of Providence.
Thanks to Eric for letting me blog here. Thanks to M’Lady K for letting me blog, period. And thanks to those of you that read this far. Perhaps now you understand a bit more of why I do what I do, say what I say and believe what I believe.
Thinking I’ve rambled on FAR too long already …
Blue Collar Muse