When I returned from military service, I was offered a job (not a position) in a bank. Finally, declining the offer, I explained that I probably should do what I studied to do, teach school. A bank board member and our state senator said "Ah Roy, you never saw a school teacher that was worth anything." After 57 years I have concluded that he was right, except for those fortunate female teachers who married into money.
Remembering this in retirement prompted me to explore ways that I might become worth something. I remembered when we had five and dime stores, where you could actually buy something for a nickel or dime. This idea escalated to the Dollar Stores. My thought was to move on up the scale to 5, 10 and 20 Dollar Stores. Maybe they could be called Lincoln, Hamilton and Jackson stores since their portraits appear on those bills. I discarded the plan when I realized that Ben Franklin had already tried to do this.
Some years back, I told a friend that I had an idea to put a mirror on the back of the sun visor of the car so the ladies could pretty their face. He flipped down his visor which had a mirror that lit up when it was opened. I was too late with that idea. Still looking for a better mousetrap, I turned to Groundhog Day, one of the late Calvin Lane's favorite holidays. Groundhog Day seems to be our only observance relatively free of commercialization. Punxsutawney, Penn., the 1993 movie by that name and some firm that sells coloring books for young children seem to be the only exceptions. Other special days require a response; a gift, flowers, candy, a card or taking the secretary or the boss out to lunch. To my knowledge, Hallmark has not developed a card for the occasion. Are there commercial opportunities in Groundhog Day for an old educator who wants to cash in?
My first thought was to merchandize groundhog (sausage), making it fashionable to send it to friends on Groundhog Day. The concept is not original with me. In Cassville, our minister raised money to send his kids to church camp with a groundhog dinner: pork sausage, biscuits and gravy. Perhaps I could merchandize a bouquet of sausages on a stick in the shape of a groundhog. I'm looking for a partner with deep pockets to join me in exploiting Groundhog Day for profit.
After sleeping on the matter, I have come to the conclusion that it would be best to leave the occasion free of commercialization. But the groundhog / woodchuck is an industrious animal worthy of recognition beyond forecasting the weather. My neighbor keeps filling a hole they dug with rocks, then larger rocks, but the creature keeps rolling them out. Maybe we could schedule a spring cleanup day in their honor. Perhaps it could be called the "Groundhog Round-up" or maybe "Woodchuck Pickup Day." Would this make me worth something?
Page 2 of 2 - But I will leave you with this groundhog question to ponder. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Roy Shaver writes a weekly column for the Daily News.