We Cronks sometimes do things a little differently.
Why would anyone, for instance, drive two-plus hours to get taxes done when there are perfectly capable people available locally to complete the task? For that matter, why would we carry our family insurance policies through an agency located two hours away in an opposite direction when we could practically walk to a local insurance agency?
Not that complicated, though.
This year our long-term tax person retired. Brian was chatting with our investment professional and happened to mention this point. She suggested her tax person. We said give us the number. I suppose the question begs: Why do we drive more than two hours to see an investment professional? The answer dates back decades. When our broker opened her agency, Brian’s folks signed on with her and had a great long-term relationship. She is a successful advisor and is fantastic at what she does. We have always appreciated the time and effort she puts into not just our paper finances, but our real lives.
For example, we’ve talked and planned in detail with her for at least 10 years to get Brian to the retirement finish line. We’ve had a plan. It’s wonderful to have a professional understand how and why we think like we do and tailor the particulars with us in mind. So that’s not only why we’ve stayed with her – but why we will probably stay with her tax person as well.
As for insurance, we signed on with a particular company where a dear friend worked decades ago and have seen no reason to change.
I’m all about shopping and buying locally. But local means a lot of things. Local to us means a variety of locations throughout the state where we have close ties, history and heritage. Local means supporting the people who have helped us along life’s path and remaining loyal to them as they are loyal to us.
In my experience, one can feel poorly served or even anonymous in a geographically nearby setting as well as feel “rah-rah local” or close. It’s about freedom, choice, and connecting with the right folks at the right time to serve the right needs.
And besides, whenever we go see our broker or our tax person, it’s a great excuse to drive a little farther and visit our friend Barb and go to The Beef House near Covington. We call that priceless.
I was just thinking about how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many wonderful women. From family to close friends to women I work with and write about, attend church with, and speak to at their social and service clubs and events, I enjoy them in all their differences, talents, tastes and stories—always stories! That is the currency of a writer.
If you live in greater-east-central Indiana, consider picking up a copy of the Sunday, Jan. 31 issue of the New Castle Courier-Times. Inside will be a print bonus: the winter issue of Her Magazine for Women. On the cover is Cindy Oler, owner of Dance With Cindy – a business she founded as a child, and it continues to thrive 47 years later.
For decades I have had press releases from Cindy about recitals and even in those brief online encounters, found her to be charming, kind, and grateful. Sure enough, when I interviewed her for the cover piece (surprise! She didn’t know it would go on the cover) I found her to be all those things and more. And, I felt like we could be personal friends.
I liked her. A lot.
January was a worker-bee month for me both at work and at home. Along with getting the magazine out the door, the newsroom heated up the phone and Internet updating our annual Answer Book with corrected listings for all the social, service, government and leisure contact information helpful to those in and around Henry County, Indiana. We also had extra stories to produce for last Sunday’s HOPE edition, and our usual workload.
At home, we got two rooms of carpeting so juggled furniture back and forth before and after installation, bought two cars’ worth of sets of tires, got my book’s Indiana sales tax squared away, I had my inaugural colonoscopy, and the dishwasher died. Indeed it was an expensive month to be a Cronk. Oh, and Brian rolled out a new part-time job as a driver for an automotive auction house.
It was also the return to the Monday-night schedule of Bible Study Fellowship where hundreds of women come together for in-depth, non-denominational study. This year is the book of Revelation, and if you are free Monday nights, there’s a welcome class Monday, Feb. 1 at 6:55 p.m. Middletown Church of the Nazarene is the host church.
I’m happy that this month comes to a close with an all-church women’s retreat at Lake Placid near Hartford City. Starting tonight, about 60 Ovid Community Church women and friends will gather to laugh, learn, craft, worship, sing, snooze, eat, and visit. It’s the perfect way to end a January that I’m ready to place in the books.
Thank you, Lord, for the many bold, beautiful, interesting, entertaining and outrageous women in my life!
Brian and I haven’t actively searched for work in decades—since the days before everyone had a computer and before there was even email. So when Brian decided to look around and see what he might like to do for a part-time retirement job, we learned how much the job-hunting process has changed.
He “subscribed” to online notifications of job openings that he might like. He went with some random ideas, things different from what he did in his years in education. Then if notifications came that interested him, he could decide to apply—online of course.
He found an opening that sounded interesting and completed his online application. He got a call and an on-the-spot brief phone interview. That led to an in-person interview. He was offered the job, subject to a background check and drug test.
Once those hurdles were cleared, he got a stack of forms to complete—via email downloads.
At last, he begins his part-time job very soon! He’ll be driving cars for a car auction house. He’s excited for this new adventure and I’m proud of his navigation of the online world to find it.
I’m reminded of how much job hunting has changed. My first real job was working for the Elder-Beerman department store part-time my senior year. I never interviewed for it, but was asked by my best friend’s mom, who was in administration there, if I wanted a job.
The next summer that same friend heard about a clerical opening at The Palladium-Item newspaper. I filled out an application, had an interview, and got that job for the summer.
The next job came by visiting the Connersville employment office at my mom’s suggestion because the head of it was a family friend. I didn’t talk to him but to a clerk who, if memory serves, rifled through a card catalog looking for jobs for which I might be qualified. That’s how I ended up working for an insurance company as a clerk for four years there and in the sister office in Richmond. I went to college at night for most of that time.
But it was when we moved to Fountain County – all the way across state – that the most bizarre thing happened that led to a job that determined the rest of my career.
One day I was looking at the free shopper newspaper that arrived in our mailbox and the byline of a reporter was that of Sue Barnhizer. This had to be the same Sue I grew up with, was in 4-H with, and lived a hop, skip and jump from me in the Union County boonies. Sure enough, it was. From there, Sue soon was promoted to editor and she needed a reporter – me. There was no interview or drug screening or background check. Sue knew everything she needed to know.
Once she moved on, I became the editor and part of the larger Nixon Newspaper chain / family of papers. Our publisher moved on to New Castle, a sister publication. So when Brian and I moved to Pendleton, what we considered a slower pace and more affordable town than Fishers, where he went to work, I was close enough to apply for a job in New Castle.
I didn’t fill out an application, but was interviewed by the editor who never asked me anything in the interview—just told me about the job. I’m working on my 27th year there.
Brian retired in June after 26 years with Hamilton Southeastern Schools.
I wonder what the job market will be like for young people in their 20s today. Will they stay with the same employers for decades and retire with them? Or will they change jobs several times—or more—during their lifetimes?
Brian’s new job, and the way he got it, is a far cry from knowing someone’s mother who works there or happening across a childhood friend in the right place at the right time. It has been an interesting process to watch as he has gone about pursuing his new adventure.
What about you? How many jobs have you had as an adult? Did you get your jobs in unusual or quirky ways? Or did you apply online? Tell me your best stories of how you got your jobs and perhaps how looking back, it seemed meant to be by The Man Upstairs.
The more I see, and certainly the more I reflect on my own life, I see patterns and connections and that none of it is random. It’s all connected and forms a unique tapestry that makes up my life—and I’m certain, makes up yours.
I have a blog. And you are reading it. How cool is that? For me, anyway.
If you decide to stick around, and I hope you do, you'll soon learn something about me. I collect stories. But what's a story if you can't share it? That's what I'll be doing right here. So let's start with how this blog came about.
The pretty blonde standing to your right in my kitchen? Oh, that's Janis Thornton. She's author of Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies, a traditionally published cozy mystery. (I know, that's pretty neat). She also is author of Frankfort (Images of America) and Tipton County (Images of America).
Funny story, but not in a ha-ha kind of way. This is just the kind of thing that happens to me and I am so glad that it does. Back in December at the Indiana Historical Society Author Fair, Janis and I are both selling our books. After the event, we're standing in line in the gift shop there (which is quite nice, if you haven't been).
I'm not sure how we made a connection but we briefly chatted to find that she is a former editor of The Frankfort Times. That is a sister publication of my former (Nixon Newspapers, Inc.) and current (Paxton Media) employers, owners of The Courier-Times in New Castle. We know some of the same people, and one of those is the mentor we both share: the incomparable Ray Moscowitz, retired long-time Hoosier publisher and NNI editorial executive! He's a newspaperman to the core.
Janis manages Ray's social media, has assembled large projects for him, and is his trusted and talented adviser and friend, as he is hers. I told her that anyone who commands that kind of respect from Ray has my admiration.
So I became Facebook friends with Janis and picked up a Kindle version of her cozy mystery. We have shared some marketing ideas and I told her I would love to have a website / blog. So what does she say? That she will help me. Today is the day. And this is the website and blog! How nice is she?
I could have spent a few more hours swapping newsroom stories and book tales with her but she had a luncheon date and I had a website to tweak. Hot dog! (No Frankfort pun intended but puns always happens to me too).
Before she left, we got my husband Brian (you may as well meet him, his name will pop up) to take our photo. We wanted to give Ray a shout-out. The lesson I learned today, besides a thing or two about setting up this site, is that you never know how a connection or a mentor will keep connecting and keep mentoring in unexpected ways.
You see it was Ray who brought us together today. And thanks to Ray and his talented friend Janis, I'm in business! Ray, I hope you see this. Blessings to you and continue on your road to restored health. Prayers sent your way. And thank you Janis, my new friend and adviser. We'll get together and talk shop.
To the rest of you, please fill out the box to subscribe to this blog. I'm still learning my way around this thing so maybe we'll learn together as we go. Let's share stories, shall we?