Thanks to my colleague Marisa for writing today’s blog! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ~Chapin
Ok, I admit it. I ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving. Not too much in a Wow-I’ll-Skip-the-Next-Meal sort of way but too much in an Oh-My-Gosh-I-Don’t-Know-If-I’ll-Ever-Move-Again, Get-That-Food-Away-From-Me sort of way. As you can imagine, I spent a fair amount of time sitting/lying down on Thursday, which gave me a chance to think. Normally, I just run through my checklists of what I need to do for the day and week, but this time, as I rolled around with my distended stomach, I had a chance to ponder life and times…and turkey. Let’s face it, I wasn’t going to be going anywhere quickly. You have time for these sorts of things when you can’t move.
So, back to turkey. Thankfully, I didn’t have to cook this year (thank you, Friends!), but I did do a lot of observing of turkey. Those suckers are big! They are also heavy. You could do some serious damage to your toes if you dropped one. (Yes, deep thoughts, I know.) Anyway, that got me thinking, how would I have gotten a turkey home for my family if I didn’t have a car? This is not an improbable situation. For many years, I didn’t need one. As a college student, I lived close enough to my school and to work to walk everywhere. My weekly grocery shopping was a little limited because I could only buy what I could carry, and luckily, that never had to include a turkey. If I were really in need, I could often find a friend with a vehicle, but I knew better than to ask for favors or someone’s time during busy periods, like exams. In real life, that would probably translate to holidays. So, what if I needed to get a large turkey home, along with other groceries? Let’s make it even more complicated…what if I had to do all that with little children?
Now, even though I’ve been out of college for a few years, taxis are still a luxury in my eyes. So, scratch the taxi idea. There are buses and bikes, so they might be options. There is also the possibility of walking, but I don’t have a grocery store close to my home. I imagine I’d be trying to roll the thing down the street after the first two miles of carrying it. In that case, those imaginary kids of mine had better be ready to walk and help by their first Thanksgiving. Needless to say, none of these images led to a warm, happy family meal when I thought them through. I finally came to the conclusion that a car of some sort would really be the easiest way to get my imaginary turkey and imaginary children home safely.
As hard as I tried to avoid this, my deep thoughts led me into pondering my job. On the plus side, I didn’t automatically jump to my checklist of projects. Instead, it was back to the car idea. How would I obtain this car for my imaginary family? The first thing I thought of was our Ways to Work program, which offers low-interest car loans of up to $6,000 at a fixed interest rate of 8% over 30 months or less to parents of dependent children. I’d just been talking to one of our Ways to Work clients last week about her car and how it had helped give her more time with her three children. As someone who works full-time, has kids in three different schools and is attending classes for her Bachelor’s degree, time is a pretty precious commodity for Regina. (Read more about Regina’s story in our Winter 2011 newsletter.) Hmmm, I thought, a car would DEFINITELY give me more time than would my multi-mile turkey roll.
The thought of a car also got me onto the topic of travel. I once heard that Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday for travel. Nationally, AAA projected a total of 42.5 million travelers this Thanksgiving. For me, growing up in a rural area, I either drive 10 hours to get to my family or have to fly and then drive 2.5 hours. Only recently was a shuttle route started. For the majority of my life away from home, I would have been stuck in limbo had my parents or their friends not been willing to claim me at the airport hours from home. So really, a car would not only be necessary for helping me avoid a very mashed, bruised, road rash turkey, it really has to come into play if I want to see my parents. Now that I have a car, I often take my ability to see them for granted.
As much as I love trains, long walks and biking, a car makes a huge difference in my life, even when my imaginary children aren’t expecting that imaginary turkey at Thanksgiving. I know that, for the people who participate in Ways to Work, a car often helps them avoid work absences and tardiness, and perhaps most importantly, gives them more time with family. As I looked past my stomach to survey my wonderful friends—my San Francisco family— I decided to add an extra, silent thanks for a job which allows me to help others through programs like Ways to Work. Pretty cool.
For more information on Ways to Work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-403-4300.