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Cheryl Hughes: Possibility

My Career As A Woman

I traveled to Murray on Thursday to see my sister, Marsha.  We hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas, so I had a box full of presents for her family.  I gave Marsha and my niece and nephew’s wife some of the bottles I’d slumped into cheese and cracker trays.

Marsha was fascinated by them and suggested that we search some recycle bins in downtown Murray for bottles I could use.  I told her if they were like the bins where I take my broken bottles; we wouldn’t be able to access the contents.  She assured me they weren’t, so we loaded boxes into my car.  I could see the excitement in her eyes as we pulled out of her driveway.  I was reminded again that not only are we kin, we are kindred spirits.  (How many people do you know who get excited over dumpster diving?)  I was encouraged to note that the American entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.

I saw a segment on national news last week that reported on an American company which was moving from China back to the US.  When the CEO was asked how his company could justify the move, since they would have to pay American employees more than their Chinese counterparts, he gave an unexpected explanation.  The CEO explained that there was an evolving middle class in China, which meant the workers expected more pay.  The pay the Chinese workers received was still two dollars per hour less than what the company would be paying their American counterparts.  The justification, the CEO explained, lay in the difference between the workers.  “Nobody is as efficient as the American worker,” he said.  In short, American workers produce results.

When Marsha and I arrived at the recycle bins on Thursday, I was relieved to see the large hinged doors that opened upon a mountain of bottles.  We’re both short, so we still had to reach up and over in order to retrieve what we wanted.  Like any treasure, the select pieces were just out of reach. 

“Do you happen to have a concrete block or step stool in your trunk?” Marsha asked.  (Anyone who has peered into the trunk of my car knows this is a legitimate question.)

“No, I don’t.” I told her.

“Let’s see what you’ve got,” she said.

Upon examination of my trunk, all we came up with was a collection of military lanyards (Army, Navy, National Guard and Marines) that used to hang from my rear view mirror. 
“Give me the Marines,” she said.  (Good choice.  This was going to involve some difficult maneuvering.)

I handed her the Marines lanyard and watched as she lowered the loop end over the neck of an Apothic Red wine bottle and fished it from its place beneath several Miller beer bottles.  The look of accomplishment on Marsha’s face was priceless.  The bottle was in pristine condition.  She fished several more bottles from their resting places then lifted me up so I could stretch out over the pile and grab some blue beer bottles in a trash bag. 

I was elated at our catch, and I had to almost physically drag my sister away from the bins.  On the way back to her house, Marsha talked non-stop about marketing and sales opportunities for a potential small business for me.  As I listened, I thought, “Yeah, that CEO was right.  Nobody is as efficient as the American worker.”  I think it’s because we see possibility in the most unusual of places—like a dumpster, for instance. 

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