Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 16, 2013

If I were rich ...

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — As I look back over my life, it occurs to me I might well have been suited for the life of the idle rich.

Of course, it’s far too late for me to attempt such a lifestyle now. But I do occasionally like to daydream about what it would be like to have lots of money and not much to do.

No, I wouldn’t buy a yacht or summer on some exotic beach. I doubt if I’d pack a garage with rare cars, either. I like to think I’d spend my time in more lofty pursuits.

Like reading. Give me a good book and I’m lost. True luxury would be unlimited hours to devour one good book after another and the finances to buy whatever tome catches my fancy.

Fancy restaurants are fine for those who like to dress up and experience gourmet meals. I’m more of a truck-stop, roadside-diner kind of girl.

What could be more marvelous than chartering a bus so I can take along all my friends on a nationwide tour of diners and greasy spoons? Some of my fondest travel memories are of meals taken in out-of-the-way places that make up in great taste for what they lack in ambiance.

Movie premieres and black-tie affairs have little appeal to me. But with lots of money and nothing to do, I could see myself going to county and state fairs in the summer and touristy spots in the winter offseason.

Age gives us wisdom, and I have become wise enough to realize the attractions that appeal to me will always be there. I so enjoy visiting a zoo, an aquarium or a historical plantation away from the madding crowd. In fact, my last several visits to amusements parks have been well outside the normal season — at Halloween and Christmas.

As a member of the idle rich, I’d book first-class seats on every airplane on which I rode. My family is scattered across the country and I’d love to make frequent visits to them.

I suspect if you pay the dough to go first class, you are treated far differently than when you’ve paid the lowest possible price. That’s one of those things I’d really like to check out for myself.

I’m old enough to remember when other people pumped gas in your car and washed your windows. I do believe if money was no object, I’d pay someone to take my vehicles to the gas station. I’d even add a bonus if that person filled it up on a scorching hot day, a freezing cold day or had to deal with scores of other drivers trying to fill their tanks before the price went up.

I believe, too, if I had cash to spare I’d make arrangements with my farmer friends for them to raise livestock and produce that would eventually stock the local food pantry. As a farmer’s daughter and someone who can’t bear the idea of people going hungry, I figure that would help both causes without me having to raise a finger.

All this, of course, is idle speculation. I’m not rich, and I’m pretty sure I never will be. I’d pin my hopes on the lottery, except painful experience has shown me I’m not likely to be holding an oversized ticket any time soon.

So I guess I’ll continue to pump my own gas, mow my own lawn and travel economy class — and be grateful for everything I’ve already been blessed with.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cshaffer@zoominternet.net or (606) 473-9854.