Throughout my life, I’ve been finding things of value. For those who have spent time with me during the past five years, quite a few of my friends have watched me score where there should not be a score. It was happening so often a few years ago, that a few people thought I had become a professional thief. Those rumors were quickly squashed. Besides being skilled at finding what I need, I also have a reputation for [Not Stealing]. So much so that more than one person has teased me about my overly high level of honesty.

This brief story is about my first experience finding something valuable. I grew up in a small town in Montana by the name of Polson, but this story takes place in Missoula. You may have heard of it.

I believe the year was 1977. My aunt, uncle, and cousins lived in Missoula. My mother, two sisters, and I were visiting for the day. My family was poor, and I didn’t own a bicycle at the time. My cousin and I were riding double on his bike. I was riding in the back. At some point, I looked to my right towards the ditch. My cousin stopped when I yelled into his ear. I jumped off the bike and picked up a deposit bag. We opened it up, and the bag was full of cash.

I can’t remember how much money my cousin and I split that day, but that’s how I purchased my first bicycle. I gave the rest of my share to my mother.

When it comes to good fortune, the most important thing to remember is this—deciding what to do with it. Great things can be hidden behind tragedy, but tragedy can also be concealed behind luck and good fortune.

Joseph Shanklin

August 16, 2020

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