Million Dollar Windfall

The Daily Prompt:   You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

I read this and my mind went immediately to a long, laundry list of self-indulgent items. Items the 8, 15 and 22 year olds would have desired or thought would make her prettier, smarter, or popular simply because she was denied so many simple luxuries then. I took a breath and my brain disengaged from that self-involved journey and got down to some serious considerations. Well, almost, as my next thought was: Is this $1,000,000 before or after taxes? And then, which Aunt was hiding this type of cash? And a couple of other not-so-nice family related thoughts roamed around for about 30 seconds. Ok, I’m done.

First on the list: an airplane and a pre-paid year of hangar space for my spouse. It is totally selfish and totally generous in the same moment. Winning! You are thinking airplanes cost muchos dólares…well, they can. However, he would want one that was in flying condition, yet needed some cosmetic work. Keeping his hands occupied, and his brain happy. There are loads of low cost flyable planes that would fit in under the cap of $100K (including that year of parking). His love of flying and maintaining it is a passion; so let me fill that gap. (Yes, that’s how I roll and just the kind of girl I am .)

That’s me being blown by the wind as I stand next to our plane @ the Salem airport July 2008

Seriously though, I would want to take $100K and create a foundation to support early childhood reading programs in rural America. Learning to read was the greatest skill I ever developed. It has allowed me to travel to distant places and never leave home. I can find myself in Middle Earth, with Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy, with Scout and Boo, Claire Randall Fraser, Adam Trask, or Anna Karenina, the US Constitution, MLK’s I Have a Dream speech;  I can cook, knit, needlepoint, craft, garden and graduate from college just on being able to read. My love of books, words, writing and the arts is the direct result of being able to and encouraged to read. I can find my way around new cities because I can read a map and train/bus/plane schedules. I have and continue to learn about the history of not only my country but the people, cultures and history of the world by simply being able to read.

The world becomes bigger when a person can read. The road easier, more just, more authentic.

Our travels around the US so far has provided me with glimpses of small town life and so many rural communities have small libraries, but not enough operating cash to keep longer hours or hire the necessary employees that would encourage children to visit more frequently. One of my favorite places to visit remains my local library. I hope I never lose the love of the DDS (Dewey Decimal System).

Then I would invest the balance into my retirement plan and allow the interest to go into our budget. The intellectual part of my brain understands the need for and sticking to a budget. The child in me wants to have spending money without having to think about that damn old budget.

We have an RV but I would want to buy a small condo in some really warm place, like the Tucson area or Hawaii that I (okay, “or we”) could go and sit for hours and where I could write, read and hang. (Didn’t I say at the beginning of this piece I was self involved?)

It also allows for more time for me to be in my pj’s. Just sayin’



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