Rick Cunningham: Passions and hobbies

Rick Cunningham
Special to the Hays Daily News
Rick Cunningham

I know for myself, that what I do for a living to pay the bills has never been very important to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done just fine being a bricklayer.

But what’s always been much more important to me and my happiness is what I do during my time off.

When we meet new people for the first time, the first question asked is often, “What do you do for a living?”

I try to ask people, “What do you do for fun?”

I remember a time many years ago, when I went with my brother-in-law (Tom, a farmer) to have some wheat cleaned for planting.  I met what seemed to be a very simple man (Cliff) living a very simple life.  We were standing together watching Tom drive the truck up, when I asked the wheat cleaner if he had any hobbies.  He instantly got excited and told me he loved to look for Indian artifacts.

He eventually went into his trailer house and brought out a photo album with pictures of hundreds, if not thousands of artifacts he had found.  It turns out that he owns one of the world’s most valuable collections.  He has been visited by an expert from the Smithsonian Museum and has been offered a lot of money for his collection.  A couple of his artifacts are so rare that there may be only one or two others like them in the world.  I’m so thankful that I asked him that simple question, or I would have left that day never knowing Cliff’s passion.

Another time, I posed the same question to a very well-known and respected priest who was in Hays at the time. His answer was that he loved blowing things up!  That answer really surprised me. He went on to explain that he would blow things up for his students (he taught Catholic school, so I’m sure this was all done in a very controlled and safe manner). Again, I’m so glad I asked that simple question.

I’ve also learned of two other priests’ passions: One loved to go to movies and the other loved NFL football, and often used examples of the game in his sermons.

Over the years I’ve received many different answers to that question, from wanting to make money and become independently wealthy, to wanting to travel, or simply to spend more time with their families.

I’ve often heard that you can’t take your wealth with you when you leave this earth, so it sure makes sense to me to enjoy life and your hobbies while you still can.

One last thought:  I’ve run into a lot of people who were finally able to retire, but didn’t know what to do with their time.  All they had ever done was work hard every day of their lives.  Those people usually ended up going and getting another job to fill their time.

I’m so thankful that when I have time off, I have so many hobbies that my only problem is deciding which one I will choose to do today! That’s a nice problem to have.

May God bless you all.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis