My brother, sister, and me grew up poor, I got my first Christmas present two days before I turned ten years old, one half of a bicycle to share with my older brother. I'm glad life was hard back then. It helped me to know what was important in life. Then at the age of twelve in 1948 my life changed, my dad purchased a general store from his dad. I worked in my dad's store from age twelve till I joined the army at seventeen. My pay was twenty dollars for five years work, plus room and board.

I never entered the rat race when I started out in life; I was just glad to have a job, oh I had dreams, and ambitions like everyone else. I wanted to search for gold in California, travel to Alaska, find the perfect girl, and just have fun in life. After I got out of the Army, I met Alena Rhea Jones, and we got married two and a half months after the day we met. For the next month we just had fun, I already had a new Motor Cycle that we rode almost every day, and I bought a used coal truck. I hauled coal each day, evenings and weekends we had fun. Not a care in the world, just enjoying life to it's fullest.

Nine months later we had our first baby boy, 23 months later we had our second son, 23 months after that we had our 3rd and last son. That put a stop to the fun for a while, but I still never entered the rat race. We were very contented with our status in life. Later my dad bought himself a new car, and gave us his 57 dodge, and on our anniversary in 1963 we sold all our household goods, loaded that 57 dodge with our three kids, and what clothes we had room for, and headed to California to fulfill our dream life.

For the next eleven and a half years I worked for GM, and we really enjoyed our lives, happy, and contented, going to Malibu beach at least a couple times a week, taking the kids to the mountains, and deserts to ride their mini-bike, not trying to keep up with the Jones's, just enjoying our selves, and having fun.

Then tragedy hit, January 1975 I got laid off from GM, so we headed back to Kentucky where we both were born and raised. After working for others for eight months I started my own company hauling coal. A few years later my son and I formed a partnership, and grew our company to a total of thirty trucks, and eighty-seven employees. The responsibility was huge, and the work was hard, and challenging, however, I'm still not running in the rat race, as always, I'm more then contented with what I have in life. After seven years of running trucks twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we sold all our trucks, and truck garage, split the money, and moved to Tennessee, Alena, and I built a house on the Cherokee Lake. At sixty years old I suddenly realized I had won the rat race; it was a race I never entered. It was not my intention to get rich, I just wanted to have fun, and enjoy life.

When we had little or nothing, we enjoyed life. A lot of people see life for what it can be, we saw it for what it was, and made the best of it. Our dream was to have fun, and we did. Life is for today, dreams are for the tomorrow that may never come.

Friends, there is an illness in the world today, it's called hurry sickness (The Rat Race) pursuing stuff we don't need, and can't afford, running up credit card debt. Juggling more commitments than a circus performer, something is out of kilter in our lives in America, we're consumer junkies. Greed has replaced Moral Values. As a result we are not free to pursue the desires of our heart, and have fun in life. It's time to ask our self is all this stuff worth the price I'm paying? Where does God fit into this lifestyle? I'm not saying I won this race all by myself, I believe God was blessing me each step of the way.

©James Sanders
Used With Permission
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