“We still feel a pang of guilt knowing we sold hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks to townspeople who likely were spending more money on ‘black cats’ and ‘mini missiles’ than they would on their grocery budget for the rest of the month. Not to mention that some of those individuals desperately needed to invest in a competent dentist, with extensive experience in tooth replacement.”
For those skeptics who believe that signing up for dating sites is a frivolous waste of money, I would beg to argue that in the case of meeting Ryan, it was an unintentionally lucrative venture. It all started with the typical back and forth emails and phone calls. Due to the fact that he lived in Illinois, we spoke on the phone regularly, and waited for the opportune time when he could come visit me. What I especially admired about him was that he was taking care of his elderly mom, which spoke volumes about his commitment to family, and his moral integrity.
Eventually one April, Ryan made the road trip from southern Illinois to El Paso, Texas, with one of his friends. He was absolutely adorable, and was just as attractive in person as in his picture! We had clicked immediately, and he seemed to be genuinely interested in getting to know me better. To remove all doubt from my mind, he asked me on the last day of his trip if I would be his girlfriend. Even though it seemed premature, I went ahead and accepted. He mentioned that he might need help selling fireworks at his stand in July, and offered me the job. As a missionary, I knew the extra money would not go to waste, so I agreed.
Long story short. I went. When I laid eyes on the town with a population of 200, and realized that there was not a Barnes and Noble or Starbucks within a half hour drive, I felt as displaced as a shark in a swimming pool. I immediately suspected the relationship did not stand a chance. If anyone would have asked me if I’d considered myself to be a city girl, I would have answered with an emphatic, “No!”. Yet, when push came to shove, I knew I needed more than one blinking traffic light, gas station coffee, and an overpriced general store to function.
Of course I am leaving out the fact that Ryan and I were also not a good romantic match, but luckily we ended up being fantastic coworkers!
On my first visit there, what was meant to be a romance/work combination, turned out to be a work-dominated friendship. When out at the fireworks stand, Ryan would become so preoccupied with selling, that I would often go without food or water for extended periods of time. It wasn’t his fault, as I believe that it had been a long time since he had needed to think about the needs of a significant other, and was just rusty at having to cater to a woman’s wishes. By the end of the week, he felt more like a brother than a beau.
Even though the little town, where the fireworks stand was set up, was a raging Mecca compared to where Ryan lived, it still lacked any type of draw for me. We sold fireworks from dawn to dusk every day, and made a killing! As a result, Ryan compensated me very generously! I even decided to buy his sporty, blue, Honda CRX from him, and was able to return to El Paso in a new (to me) car! Even though we didn’t last as a couple, we actually maintained a true friendship.
For many summers afterward, I continued selling fireworks with Ryan. To this day, we still laugh about the unsavory clientele with whom we did business. We still feel a pang of guilt knowing we sold hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks to townspeople who likely were spending more money on ‘black cats’ and ‘mini missiles’ than they would on their grocery budget for the rest of the month. Not to mention that some of those individuals desperately needed to invest in a competent dentist, with extensive experience in tooth replacement.
Not only did Ryan and I make good business associates, but if you go to Shelbyville, Illinois, you can look me up in the newspaper archives. (I’m kind of a big deal there). They did an interview with me about the fireworks stand. Being the patriot I am, I threw in the part about how I was Canadian in order to drum up more interest. Maybe that is what pushed me all the way to a front page piece, complete with a respectable sized photo. Before my head gets too big, it could be argued that the newspaper ‘journalist’ had already interviewed all of the local townspeople, and I was the only person left!
For all of those who feel that online dating is just sucking the money out of your wallet and has no value, I think I have just proven to you that it can be lucrative, both financially and personally. A new friend was made, I had the opportunity to legitimately experience the simple country life, and I made several thousand dollars, which supplemented my missionary income each year that I made my trek.