A Christmas conundrum ...

A Christmas conundrum …

Billionaire Warren Buffet, has, we’re told in an e-mail bouncing around the net, donated $31 billion to charity.

As rich as he is, he avoids the high society celebrity cult with a passion. He spends his free evenings with his wife in a small three-bedroom house they bought 50 years ago, watching television and munching popcorn, just like the rest of us.

His down-to-earth style evokes images of Robert Service’s Dangerous Dan, coming here, plunking a poke on the bar, and ordering a round for the house. Although don’t bet on it, since his advice to young people doesn’t mention extravagance.

Stay away from credit cards, he tells them, and bank loans too. Invest in yourself; live life as simply as possible. Don’t wear brand names, wear what’s comfortable. Don’t waste money on unnecessary things; spend it on things you really need. He ends with a question: It’s your life, why allow others to rule it?

Family elders in the Dirty Thirties added money doesn’t grow on trees, get a roof over your head, and put some money away for a rainy day.

Mother Teresa, one of Grandma’s champions in our global village, was Buffet’s opposite. As poor as a church mouse we’re told, her human generosity many believe made her wealthier than the rich and famous. Her message was kindness in thought, word and deed. “Kind words,” she said, “are short and easy to speak but their echoes are endless,” and hers are still echoing around the world.

Anyway, here we are, with advice from the richest of the rich, the poorest of the poor, and Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and the Cowboy too.

The Cowboy, from the slow lane, was finally visiting friends in the big city after a decade in the foothills of the Rockies tending cows. In the city’s fast lane his friends herded him to their newest and biggest-ever mall, and turned him loose.

The day over, his cowboy boots worn to a frazzle, he was sipping a large drink. His city cousins asked why his hands were empty of shopping bags. “Well sir,” he drawled, “I reckon I’ve never seen more stuff I don’t need, than I did today!”

“But,” his city hosts cried, “if you don’t buy, the economy will die . . .,” but his glazed eyes cut them off. He headed west, they began pondering city imponderables: whether to go to Timmy’s, Starbucks, or be adventurous like the cowboy and go to one of those other coffee houses.

There they texted with friends about the Fitbit, the newest electronic gizmo. The size of a small flash drive, it wirelessly monitors your physical activity, estimates the calories you’re burning, interfaces with the web giving calorie information on 50,000 common foods and drinks, for only $99 US. The perfect gizmo to balance eat and drink at all the upcoming Christmas office parities.

The cowboy, already wrapped in a foothills sunset, remembering Robert Brault’s thought, “Enjoy the little things. One day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things,” started whistling, knowing, for him, he was in the right lane.

He’s going with the gift of self. The city slickers are going with the gift of money and things. With advice from rich and poor, I’m still scratching like the two robins who landed in our may trees yesterday, the 23rd of November. They’re eating frozen berries, preening and looking as fat and sassy as they would in July. Boy, if Mother Nature’s creatures are off kilter, what hope is there for me to figure out which lane to take? I do know I favour the northern lane.

A tip of the hat to November robins!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read