Earlier one morning I met some friends from California who are currently visiting the area. Once again I was reminded that before they moved to the West Coast 60 years ago, they were one of my first customers in my early childhood business enterprise days.

My first “occupation” at age 10 was that of selling Christmas cards ordered through a greeting card company in Elmira, New York. I ran across the opportunity in a Boy Scout magazine and connected with the sales opportunity. I ordered catalogs and marketed the cards from door to door in our little community. One particular card, as I recall, could be ordered for $1.50 for a box of 100 cards, complete with the purchaser’s signature imprinted on the card.

That came back to me when I visited with some of my first customers in life this morning.

But that also opened recollections of the many jobs I had as a kid. In fact, as much as I can recall, I have had steady employment now for over 60 years. I sold Rosebud salve, wove potholders and sold them, 25 cents a piece (or two for a dollar) and picked sour cherries.

In the cherry industry, I picked cherries from trees in our backyard and sent them to work with my dad where ladies in the sewing room purchased them for 50 cents a gallon. That income was often used as spending money on our family vacations.

Eventually, I started mowing yards in our little community. When the lad who had mowed them went to college, I took over the whole business — 17 yards a week ranging from 50 cents to $1.50 a yard.

My first “official job” came when we moved to town and I landed a job at a local grocery store, sacking groceries, trimming lettuce and putting groceries on the shelf. For the first time in my life, I had a substantial income of 75 cents an hour. That was actually my first “social security” job.

In my sophomore year, I acquired the employment that actually aided my education at Fort Wayne Bible College, running a fork truck in a frozen food distribution plant that held me for the next five years at $1.25 an hour, through most of college.

Living in a furniture town like Berne gave the opportunity for even more employment, unloading furniture from train cars being transported to the factories in town. In fact, I was on call at all three of the town’s main factories. During the summer of my senior year, I worked all night in the freezer where the temperature was -12 degrees and then unloaded train cars during the day where temperatures often exceeded 90 degrees on summer afternoons.

Then came the big moment, when I graduated from Fort Wayne Bible College and was employed as a full-time pastor, for the next 48 years. The newspaper opportunity came in Coldwater, Michigan, in 1988 and has continued at papers in Angola, Lima, Van Wert, Defiance and Berne.

These days I am, “supposedly,” in retirement, with the exception of writing and filling pulpits.

I have finally retired so I have time to work.