Two days ago, I stopped at a St. Cloud strip mall and noticed a sign reading “Dugout” with a baseball in place of the “O.” As a former baseball card collector and dealer, I was intrigued.
I walked into the shop, looked at the proprietor behind the counter and said, “You look familiar, what’s your name?” When he said, “Kevin,” I shouted “Lefty!” Yep, it was Kevin Schafer, a high school buddy whom I hadn’t seen in decades. Kevin was part of a small group of friends I had hung out with all through tenth and eleventh grade.
It was great to catch up with Kevin. I had no idea he was into baseball and baseball cards so heavily. Those were my passions as a kid, so stepping into a baseball card store was like stepping back in time and feeling like a kid in a candy store.
I enjoyed watching Kevin in action. He was having the time of his life! He gregariously welcomed every customer, young and old, with a big smile and some good-natured ribbing. He clowned around with the kids and made them grin like they were talking to Santa. Yep, put a white beard on Kevin and voila!—Santa Cards!
When Kevin had a minute, he told me his story, still smiling. He had been collecting cards since he was eleven years old and had paid his way through college setting up at weekend card shows. He earned two Masters degrees—in Psych Counseling and Criminal Justice—and went to work for the railroad as “police and special services,” a job he quit at twenty-eight to take a stab at making a living as a baseball card dealer.
That lifestyle gave him the flexibility he needed two years later when his former wife dropped off their three boys, ages three, five and six, and took off to start a new life. Ever the optimist, Kevin said he had a blast raising his three sons alone and had no regrets.
In 1995, at the age of thirty-eight, he bought into a St. Cloud card store called Dugout Sportscards, and then bought out the founder four years later. “This is what I love,” he said. “It’s fun every day. Kids come in here and have a great time. What retail store can you walk into where every customer’s happy?”
It made me happy to see Kevin enjoying his store so much. When I stopped by again today, I asked him whether he had ever remarried. “No, this is my family,” he said, as he gestured around. It was true. Looking at all the happy faces, I could see that there was a bond between everyone there, from employees to customers.
I love seeing people doing what they love to do and living the dream. I’d bet anything that Kevin’s infectious grin and jovial personality have inspired others to dream big too.
Kudos to you, Kevin, for remaining young at heart and serving as an effervescent ambassador of joy!
POSTSCRIPT: I was shocked and saddened to learn that Kevin died of cancer on August 27, 2011. I’m so glad I was able to reconnect with him and it makes me happy to know that he was happy and doing what he loved to do. You will be greatly missed, Kevin.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
If you feel more stressed than blessed . . . if you have more confusion than clarity about how to live your beliefs . . . if you long to live a richer, happier, more meaningful life . . . you will find a wealth of insight and guidance in Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.
Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
Readers everywhere are discovering that when you challenge yourself to look through God’s eyes, the world around you changes, and so do you.
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SEE EVERY MOMENT AS A GIFT
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In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
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Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories.
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