Children of the Depression

After looking at the weather for these next four days, I wasn’t the least bit happy when seeing what our overnight lows are supposed be, and hopefully some of our flowering fruit trees won’t get their blossoms froze off, which will make for another shortage come Fall. At least we’re not going to get pounded by that bomb cyclone which is supposed to hit New England this weekend, where they’re even predicting snow on Mother’s Day in areas of that region.

My work day was more than filled with appointments which took me from one side of our City to the other. While out on the west-side, I decided to stop at Fleet Farm’s outdoor garden center. After giving their vegetable plants a good looking over, I walked out of there without having purchased a thing. On my way back, I stopped at the plant center at Hy-Vee Drug Store and gave their selections a good look-over, and once again shocked at how expensive all those plants are, being sold under the name of “Bonnie”. Just these recent years they’ve been selling that brand in various locations, and the funny thing about that company, is that they never reduce their prices, and whatever is left over, gets piled up and hauled away. Now that’s what I call being noticeably wasteful. I sure wouldn’t want to have a company with that sort of business plan because willful waste brings woeful want. They must consider themselves the “boutique” of sellers.

Fortunately I had enough free time to get back to my monthly bill paying, and managed to get nearly all of them paid except for two, and one of them I’m going to be placing a stinging call regarding the slow raising of their prices they’ve been doing this past year, and without explanation. Since I’ve always tried to keep my office’s monthly budget under control, and after looking back, in just three years, the prices have gone up for gas and electric, water, phone, insurance, and real estate taxes, which are all hard costs.

While I was paying the bills for those needed services, I couldn’t help thinking about our elderly who’re on fixed incomes, and how much more they’ve been struggling in these times. You can bet their Social Security payments are not keeping up with the added costs of such services. It’s no wonder why the “Children of the Depression” were hard-knocked into being so frugal all their lives.

I know I may sound like I’m overly-bashing tonight, but just think about how much money is wasted by Alliant Energy. They have big beautiful trucks, a brand new monster building out at the south side of our town, but continue finding ways to get rid of their employees, and then contracting out for any work needing to be done.

When reading about our City’s budget for this year, I so badly want to yell, “Don’t you realize we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and no real end in sight?” When driving past that new arena today, I couldn’t help noticing all the tall grass/weeds growing in those un-landscaped areas. From the very beginning, I had a very bad feeling about that whole business of building it on property owned by another. As much as I want the best for our City, I can’t help thinking that arena and Music Man Square/hotel build-out is going to be a financial millstone around all of our necks for a very many years. If those bullish proponents of that brainstorm aren’t having some misgivings by now, then they have no clue what it’s like to be financially struggling. I think many of them must’ve come from families who’d always had their “money taps” open for them whenever they were running low on funds. As they’ve said for generations, “If you didn’t have to work for it, it’s never fully appreciated.”

I was just visiting with a young man later this afternoon about what I’m afraid is going to happen after the second wave of this China-virus is over. My gut-wrenching vision is living in a markedly changed Country where there’s no longer a true middle class, but instead, there’ll be all the many who’ll be living from pay to pay, or on some sort of government subsidy. On the opposite side, there’ll be an even more distinct upper-class which will be even more financially insulated. What’ll be in between? I’m afraid nothing, because our middle class will have vanished into the folds of those financially struggling month-over-month. What makes me even more sad, is knowing our middle class has been the backbone of our Country since the times of our Founding Fathers.

Our Historic Downtown is going to be hard-pressed to stay afloat if our even more struggling small businesses end up closing for good. I don’t even want to think what those streets are going to look like. I already know of two who’ll have to find a financial rabbit to pull out of a hat, and if they don’t, their doors will be closing for good. I also suspect another long-time business will be closing, and most likely because the owners aren’t going to be willing to wait-out this storm and end up spending thousands of dollars to keep it afloat, and in the end, possibly not have future revenues to replenish their reserves.

I was reading an article yesterday on BBC online about all the small businesses in Italy which are beginning to close their doors for good. And to think they don’t have as much big corporate competition as we do, but when months continue to go by and no income being generated, they all know there will never be an overflowing well of money from which they can freely draw, unless they’re associated with the mafia. Too scary to even think about.

I’m doing a double-header open house tomorrow, and in hopes there’ll be a good showing at each of them. Both are priced right, and more than ready to have a shiny sold sign placed in their front yards.

Tonight’s one-liner is: I was the eleventh of twelve children, and when you come from that far down, you have to struggle to survive.

Related Property:
15 Farmstead Square – Mason City 114 – 11th St. NE Mason City
Joe Chodur

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