Search This Blog

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fear of No Money

There's lots of concern about a lack of money in my culture lately. Lots of people are reluctant to spend their money. Credit is tight. There are many other stories that seem to be anticipating horror and paranoia that supposedly is going to happen. So I'd like to tell you a story about the first time I thought I might have to borrow some money in my distant past.

What happened, circa 1977, was that it was a Friday. I had just written a check to my prospective landlord for first and last and a security deposit to rent a place that would hit my checking account on Monday. The problem was, that the amount was $361. more than I had in the bank.

I wasn't worried. I guessed that someone I knew personally would loan me the money over the weekend because I had never asked my friends for a loan before. Money was coming to pay it back as soon as the job that I was working on was done, which was a matter of days. The sum was pocket money for a few of the people I knew. I had always been careful at managing my finances and had started my business by building it from nothing, without ever needing credit.

At the time I was working as a sign maker. I was putting the finishing touches on a sign the proprietor had specified belonged on an old, hardwood mantelpiece at the Pelican Inn in Muir Beach over the fireplace. A dremmel tool was how the letters were being carved out. It's a tiny drill with a bit of a certain shape on the end of it that I was using to shape the letters.

Well, that day, the bit finally wore out and all the letters were not done yet. Calling the hardware stores nearby, they all said they had dremmel bits. But I had to go to three stores before I found the right shape. All this running around had to be done by hitchhiking, because my car had stopped working the day before.

So, after some trouble, finally I come to the hardware store where the right bit shape was available. They ask me what was the specific shape used for what purpose. I told them about the job I was finishing. After hearing what I had to say, they expressed an interest in having new signs on their window. So I sat down and drew up their order. At that time, my estimate process was codified; pricing was figured by the standing inch per letter.

The total came to $361. I had the job done and installed by Sunday. The cash to cover the check I had written was in the bank on Monday.

As I was gilding the letters that I had finished carving out on Monday, it was then I reflected how curiously relevant the content of the sign over the mantelpiece had been to my experience over the weekend.

It happened to say:

Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.


  1. You are the person who carved that saying on the mantel at the Pelican Inn? I've always admired that and would like to put that on my own mantel. Too bad I'm in Southern California!

    Good work!

  2. Hi Cassidy, Thanks for the compliment! I have relatives in Southern CA, (San Diego) that I do visit. Usually I drive south from the San Francisco area to get there. Perhaps the next time I'm down there I could do some inscribing for you on your mantle. We'll pray that my car doesn't break while the job is in process so I have to hitchhike around to get the rest of the materials! Just contact me through my website at