Two Nickels

A few years back, my brother, Greg, and I struggled over a gift to give our father for his 87th birthday. Dad was fiercely independent and “didn’t need a thing.” But Greg and I weren’t having it. We were adopted and Dad had given us the gift of a childhood. He had given us his name, his values, work ethic and his family history. We discussed several items but settled on rebuilding the family cabin porch for (with) Dad.

The Cabin on Vonnie Claire had always been our family refuge. He bought the property on top of a mountain in Jefferson County, CO in 1952.  Mom and Dad had recently moved from Iowa to Colorado. They had very little money but an abundance of enthusiasm. They salvaged an old barn to procure the wood that would become the bones of the new cabin. Granite and quartz, handpicked and hauled from the local property, were skillfully assembled to create the fireplace. And, magically our family cabin at 8,400 ft. was born. The cabin was close to our home, so we spent most weekends there. Mom was a teacher with summers off. As such, we spent childhood summers at the cabin as well.

The porch had served its purpose well, almost a higher purpose. It was such a pleasant place to park yourself on a quiet afternoon and savor God’s blessings. Covered in tin, a rolling afternoon thunderstorm became a grand symphony. Black coffee early in the morning, amazing… Telling ghost stories at night, chilling… You get the picture. Yet, the porch had become quite weathered over the years and needed repair.

The porch restoration project began in earnest on a fine summer day. We quickly pulled off the old planks. Of course, Dad was a very active participant. He knew every aluminum nail by name. He smiled, winked, sweated and we had to make sure he paced himself. And there, laid bare, were the bones of 60 years ago. He paused, considered the underlying structure now exposed. He looked at me and said, “Well, we only had Two Nickels.”

Those “Two Nickels” bought a couple of sheets of wood and a pound of nails. Since, resources were scarce, imagination, resolve, and careful consideration must be exercised in great measure. Collaborative design, planning, careful measurement, and great love carried us through the challenging times. Yes, a lifetime of experience was created with Two Nickels! Dad passed away at 92.  We still spend plenty of our weekends at the Cabin on Vonnie Claire.  For us it is both a destination and a journey!  Thanks Dad! We are calling our blog Two Nickels. As Operators, we are thankful for the capital resources provided us, abundant or scarce. However, we hope to highlight the assets that define the success of an organization, human capital, imagination, resourcefulness, collaboration, constructive engagement, initiative, etc. The art and science needed to create and run a meaningful business. We hope you come back from time to time, and please share your Two Nickels with us. JP

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