Savor the choices you get to make- like family

by Jordan Green

There’s a lot we can’t control in life. 

The weather. The economy. Traffic. The past. Sometimes, the words that fly out of our mouths.

That’s why, over the years, I’ve grown fond of the little friend who is always by my side – or hanging down the front of my face. He’s always there when I need a shoulder to cry on; he usually sticks to the other person’s shirt. Any time I’m in a picture, he’s surely visible – front and center in the shot.

The little friend for whom I have such great affection is the booger. Why? Because I can pick him.

Picking boogers is a choice. In a world where we don’t get to make many choices, it’s important to savor the ones we do get to make, no matter how salty they may be. And luckily, the decision to shove our fingers up our nostrils in search of gold isn’t the only choice we can make.

Some of us can control whom we consider to be our family.

I’ve got an awesome family: a hard-working father, a strong mother, a genius of a sister, and grandparents, aunts, and uncles who love me more than I could ever imagine.

I’ve got a number of other people whom I call my family. We don’t share a bloodline, and we didn’t hatch from the same family tree. But we’re kin just the same. I call them my “adopted” family.

When I think of my adopted family, I think of people like Wheeler and Betty Cobb. 

Wheeler was the first man who taught me how to work on old farm tractors. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of money on my tractors. My bank account proves it. Wheeler and Betty have always treated me like their own kid, and they give me a hard time when I need one.

I think of Dayle and Janie McGaha. Dayle was the publisher of The Blackwell Journal-Tribune for many years, and he is a role-model to me in the field of newspapering. A good talk with Dayle lends lots of wisdom to this youngin’. Janie’s delicious cherry pies and witty remarks make every trip to their house worth the visit.

I think of Elmore Bathurst, who taught me how to respectfully disagree with others. He’s spent a lot of his life in the “political arena,” as he calls it, advocating courageously for the rights of farmers and rural Americans. We learn from one another, and we have a great time talking, by golly.

I think of Jack and Linda Day. Jack gave me a .22 rifle for my 16th birthday, and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. 

And Linda – one of my many loves – has done some beautiful seamstress work for me. But I don’t go to their house to have buttons sewn on my coat. I go for the laughter and hugs.

I think of Jim and Randa Corbin. My first boss, Jim hired me as an eighth-grader to help mow lawns in the summer. 

He taught me the value of having a good work ethic, and he always has a great sense of humor. 

He was in college once, and now that I’m there, he’s got great ideas about activities rowdy college kids should do. Kudos to Randa; she’s a patient woman for putting up with him all day.

And last – but certainly not least – I think of “Uncle” Bob Lynch. We met at a tractor show in Pawnee four years ago, and since then, we’ve been family. Trips to his farm are filled with fun work on old tractors, good old-fashioned gospel singing and laughs loud enough to be heard ‘round the world.

Those are just a handful of the people I call my adopted family. I’ve got so many more people in my life who fit into this category, and I know I’ll add to that list as the years go on. I’m excited about that.

A family can never be too big. Parents agree with me on this; mine always remind me that my sister and I are great tax breaks.

You might be wondering why I chose to write this column. No, it isn’t newsy. But it is timely: In a few days, I’ll be celebrating my 21st birthday. I know I’ll get some gifts, and those will be nice. But they’ll only be so nice for so long.

On my birthday, I’ll be celebrating the gifts I’ll have forever: Memories of those special moments with people who make my life happier, and who love me and support me. 

They’re always there for me, and I can count on them in all I do. 

The best part is that I’m able to choose who those people are. They’re my boogers because I picked ‘em.

When I turn 21 years old Sunday, I’ll put down the tissue and be thankful that I can get up every day and pick those wonderful boogers – the loving people who make up my adopted family.

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