Tell the Stories

As a retirement advisor, I spend most of my days sitting with seniors twice and sometimes three times my age.  One of the absolute favorite parts of my job is having the opportunity to listen to their priceless stories of the Great Depression, World Wars, business, love and heartbreak.  I find myself getting pulled into their personal lives and often ask if they have told their children or grandchildren. More often than not, I am surprised to hear that they haven’t, as their offspring are less than interested in hearing about their “boring” stories.

Boring? As a father of six, bedtime at my household would beg to differ.

Bedtime. It’s the daily event parents longs for and all children dread.

I come from a family of eight children. Yes, eight. As in four boys and four girls all within 12 years of one another.  Imagine that bedtime pandemonium. I know. My poor parents. My father, however, had a secret weapon to rallying us up.

Most nights, when the clock struck bedtime, my father would cup his fist to his mouth, as if a magical trumpet rested on his lips. With that, he’d blare out of the most pathetic bugle impressions in musical history.  However, my brothers, sisters, and I would drop everything and come running from every corner of the house because we knew that despite my father’s terrible bugle impression, it was time for an adored “Hopper” story.

The treasured Hopper stories were about the grasshoppers living in the village of Hopperville.  As any lasting children’s story, the Hopper stories always featured a loveable character or two and included good moral lessons intertwined with fun endings and silly shenanigans.

The grasshopper characters varied with each bedtime story and I’m convinced half of them were made up as my father went along with the stories. Regardless of how they were conjured, it was the magic elixir to get all eight of us to bed within a reasonable hour.

Dear Dad wasn’t the creator of The Hoppers of Hopperville and neither was his father.  If I am correct, the priceless tales originated from my great-grandfather, a man I was never fortunate enough to meet.

I couldn’t tell you much about my great grandfather Ashton. I don’t know if he was a wealthy man or even how much money he left behind to his heirs. What I do know, though, is that I will be eternally grateful to have a Father, Grandfather, and Great-Grandfather willing to dedicate their time to tell the unique stories they told.

Tonight, when the ill-imitated-trumpet of Hopperville echoes throughout the halls of my home, I have all the confidence in the world that all six of my children will come trotting into their rooms with bedtime chasing close behind.

My financial advice for the day? Always tell the stories. They are sure to outlive any disposable dollar sign.

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