The gift of opportunity

Published 4:46 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

By Holly Johnson

Executive Director of the Hormel Historic Home

Like many of you, I was fortunate to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family.

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And like many of you, we began our meal with sharing what we are most thankful for.  Many of the thoughts included things like faith, family, health and mashed potatoes and gravy (from my 12-year-old son).

What came to my mind when the fork passed to me was opportunities.  Not only am I thankful for my new opportunity at the Hormel Historic Home, but I am also grateful for the freedom to pursue paths that interest me.

In his unpublished autobiography, George Hormel describes an opportunity he was given in 1879 when we was just 19 years old.  After being told there were no jobs available at a Kansas City hide and wool company, the business owner had a change of heart and told him “Go to the office and see McDonald; he’ll equip you for the road and give you a routing. Good Luck.”

George writes: “Speechless with surprise and relief and also fright at this sudden turn of fortune, I stumbled into the office to be supplied with report sheets of various kinds, a telegraph code book, and a book of drafts to use in payment for the hides, wool, and furs I was to purchase. On the assumption that I already knew what these things were for, I received a few brief directions on the firm’s methods of handling the various transactions, but I remembered nothing of what I heard when I left the office beyond the indisputable fact that I had been hired as a buyer by Major J.N. Dubois, late of the Confederate Forces. I shouldn’t even have believed this if it were not for the code and draft books clutched in my perspiring hands.”

George was thrilled with this opportunity at a time when jobs were scarce, and he was in desperate need.  Throughout his writing he mentions several times in his life and career when the freedom to attempt something, whether risky or scary, often led to his greatest successes.

Working in the space that was once George and Lillian’s porch reminds me that opportunities often come along when we are least expecting them.  They can bring challenges and hurdles but will always provide a time of learning and growth in an individual. And so, I am thankful for opportunities.

 This Week at the HHH

•Planning a Holiday Party: We still have some dates available so give us a call to schedule your party now.

•Santa’s Mailbox is at the HHH: Don’t forget to have your kids write those letters and bring them by real soon.

January Social Concerns-Mower Refreshed

•10 a.m. on Jan. 15, Sandy Anderson will offer us the opportunity to learn about the initiative’s history, wellness challenges that are being focused on and updates on how citizens can becoming involved and stay informed on the ever evolving efforts of Mower Refreshed.