I only have one memory of my grandfather.

He was a poor Kansas farmer. And, while I was born in a hospital just three miles down the dirt road from his house, and spent the first two weeks of my life in a homemade bassinet in his kitchen, I didn’t meet him until I was seven years old.

My family moved to California when I was just two weeks old. It would be seven years before we returned to Kansas to visit my father’s parents. It was the only time I saw them.

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” Grandpa asked me.

It was a hot August night – just before sunset. We were sitting on Grandpa’s front porch. He was teaching me how to play gin rummy. And, I kept getting distracted by the lightning bugs that were flickering off and on in the bushes just in front of the house.

“I want to be rich,” I said. “I want to have a big car and a big house, and a pool and a horse and…”

I forget the rest… It was a big list. But, I remember my grandfather just sitting there patiently, listening to me as I rattled off all the things a seven-year-old could ever possibly want or desire for the rest of his life.

Grandpa smiled. “Those are all good things,” he said, “and I’ll bet you’ll have everything. But…” Then he went on to tell me stories about what it was like trying to raise a family during the depths of the Great Depression (my father was the youngest of seven children). 

I don’t remember the details of the stories very well. But, I do remember the intensity on Grandpa’s face as he talked about the tough times he and Grandma went through.

“No matter how much money you have,” Grandpa said, “you can’t feed your family if there’s no food to buy.”

“Go ahead and get rich,” he continued. “But before you do that, learn how to grow a tomato.”

His advice hit home the other day as I noticed all of the empty shelves at the local grocery store. That’s not something my generation has ever experienced – at least, not to a large degree. 

We trade our stocks, flip our houses, post content all over the internet, and do any number of things to earn that weekly paycheck and increase the cash in our savings accounts. We’ve always trusted that somehow, someway, all of the things that we need to survive will be available at the time we need them – and we can just exchange some of our cash in order to meet whatever needs we have.

But, that may not be true anymore.

Maybe this is a temporary hiccup. Maybe everything will be back to normal in a few weeks, or a few months.

But, maybe that’s what folks thought in 1929, too. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

But, I remember my grandfather’s face as he told me his stories. I remember how he went from being playful and light-hearted to being intensely serious. And, his message lives deeply engraved in my brain.

My grandfather died penniless. But his family never went hungry.

My father kept a small garden in the backyard of the house in which I grew up in. Mom would complain that he spent so much time in the garden when he could just buy all the vegetables he needed at the local store. Dad would ignore her, politely. And, he’d wink at me as I took the hoe and tilled the soil where we’d plant his garden every spring.

My dad had a good job. He worked hard. He could easily afford to just buy whatever food we needed at the grocery store. But, he insisted on planting his garden every spring. He certainly could have spent his afternoons, evenings, and weekends relaxing inside the house, on the couch, or in front of the television. But, he took far more enjoyment in hanging out in his garden.

He took a lot of pride in knowing he could grow a tomato if he had to do so.

I’m thinking that now is probably a good time to pass that skill along to my sons.

Best regards and good trading,

Jeff Clark

Reader Mailbag

Today in the mailbag, we hear from Jeff Clark Alliance member Brad, who made a change in his career and wants to thank Jeff…

Hey Jeff, I was a male model for 20 years and did very well (from age 20-40). I’ve been trading for 16 years, with my gut instinct, and have done very well. In the last two weeks, I’ve made a lot of money trading off your technical analysis.

Now, my modeling career is done. I would like to trade full-time, and hope to do this for the rest of my life, by learning from you and doing your Mastermind course (you are the best trader and teacher, and a natural at this). I have been following you for years.

I have followed 15 other newsletter traders and you are on a podium by yourself. Thanks.

– Brad

We also hear from Jeff Clark Trader and Delta Report subscribers, Sue and Ernest, who send a note of thanks to Jeff…

Hi Jeff and all at Jeff Clark Trader, as someone living far, far away on Vancouver Island (which I call the Far-Flung, Forgotten Outpost of Western Civilization), I want to thank you for all your knowledge, teachings, reports, and consistent updates.

I may not be able to do much about my savings at the moment, but I am very grateful, as I’m learning so much from you during these “unprecedented times.” “Unprecedented” is my word for 2020!

I look at your Delta Direct blog first thing in the morning and check your updates as they arrive, which has given me a feeling for what is consistently happening in the markets – a new experience for me. Much better than dipping into the papers, when I remember.

My trading platform is now set up with Bollinger Bands, and all the other trend markers, from your Breakout Alert Guide to Technical Analysis (paid subscribers can click here to access) and I even understand them. Now for study and practice. Thank you again, stay safe.

– Sue

Jeff, in reference to the virus, like all things both great and small, this too shall pass. This is a national health emergency. The government’s response, though completely lawful, has brought on a national economic crisis. So what? Will we recover? Absolutely! When? Who knows? But we will not only recover, we will thrive – individually and collectively. Hard times and adversity strengthen us as a people. It always has.

The subscriber’s question “will entrepreneurship as we know it cease?” The answer to that is a resounding “YES.” The spirit of entrepreneurship does not live in all of us, but it does live in enough of us to ensure the survival, or rebirth, of our economy with the restoration of the liberty to continue the pursuit of our occupations and businesses.

As an aside, the talking heads are proclaiming the healthcare workers, and those that support them, as heroes. I would have to ask, are they really heroes or simply Americans doing what Americans do in these situations?

– Ernest

Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comments. We look forward to reading them every day. Keep them coming at [email protected].

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