Thursday, February 26, 2009

The millionaire in the patched overalls.

You people warm the cockles of my, my, my....what is that saying? You warm the cockles of my heart?

Anyway, thank you for all the kind words and prayers sent our way and especially for Virginia. She has been surrounded by her children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and her house is full of love and warmth right now.

Clay and I went over a couple nights ago to deliver some food and we had the immense pleasure of sitting down at the kitchen table to share a couple of beers and watch the end of a basketball game with two of Ramone's sons and one of the grandsons.

I was amazed at how accomplished are Ramone and Virginia's children. A lawyer, a high ranking Navy officer, an engineer, an accountant were just some of the professions in the house that night.

Ramone valued education for his children. His kids were one of the first families to attend the private school in town and then he made certain that all of his children went to college.

It made me take a good hard look at their lifestyle. Ramone didn't believe in credit. He borrowed money to buy his first house, but not from the bank. He borrowed the money from a strange wealthy man that rode his bicycle everywhere he needed to go and his house was filthy. Ramone was worried that the man would lose the title to his house in the mess so he worked overtime and weekends at the railroad and paid off the debt in a matter of months.

Can you imagine paying off your home in less than a year?!

Ramone still owns that home and a few others......all paid for. I remember Ramone scoffing at me when I told him I couldn't afford to do something because I had a mortgage. He was right to scoff. What are we doing?! We take on so much debt for things we can't buy! Ramone viewed debt as disgraceful, humiliating a failure.

I view debt as a bridge from point A to point Fairyland.

By living a simple, uncomplicated life Ramone was able to provide more than just the basics for his family. He drove old beat up trucks (most of them are still on his property being used for storage), mended his fences with bailing twine, patched the holes in his jeans, heated his house with a wood stove and grew his own beef and vegetables.

What an admirable way to live.

He left his wife with a suitable income and his children occupy the homes he bought. Even as an elderly man he was ensuring his family had all they needed and more. In return they are all at his house now comforting Virginia, taking care of the cows and honoring the memory of their patriarch.

I think we might all learn a thing or two from Ramone. I think it's true that most of the wealthiest people in America don't look wealthy.

21 comments:

Like Minds said...

God Bless Ramone! What a legacy, and with a whisper may it spread!
Deb

Leila said...

So true! Great post!

We just have to live and love! Keep it together with baling twine if that's what it takes!

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

We have a dear family friend - 86 years young. She lives her life like that too. I had the pleasure of assisting her son with his new home purchase - custom built - middle class home - paid for in CASH. She inspires me so much. Thanks for sharing about Ramone. What a wonderful family to be a part of.

Jenni said...

What an amazing example. It seems Ramone knew that real wealth lies in family, friends, and the freedom hard work and simplicity can bring rather than in money and material goods.

Southern Gal said...

Oh Ramone! I'm sad he's gone, but what a legacy!

Molly said...

Um, how do Ramone's kids live? Do they live the same way, or do they do the mortgage thing?

Just curious. In my family, the grandparents paid cash or didn't buy and their children, my parents went the way of the credit card and mortgage.

April said...

Molly,
I'm not certain about the kids. I do know they are an immense help to Ramone and Virginia. It's a rare weekend that one of the kids isn't out here working the cows or mowing or chopping wood or making repairs to the house.

carol ~ i throw like a girl said...

Wow, it sounds like Ramone and Virginia were truly wealthy in the things that really matter. My heart goes out to you, his neighbor and to his family.

Shannan said...

This kind of story never gets old. And it's always good for all of us to remember that credit is not a necessity in life, despite what the broader culture tells us. Like DR says, living this way can/will change your family tree! :)

Jaclyn Bailey said...

I hope that my husband and I can leave a legacies like Ramone' someday. We have one credit card, and pay it off every month... well two if you count the one we got through the army to buy my husbands uniforms. We pay that one off everytime we use it too. The only reason we even have a credit card is so we have a credit history. Turns out that even if you are gonna buy your house in cash, or your cars in cash, you get better rates on things like your car insurance if you have a good credit score! Who knew!

Egghead said...

Truly a wonderful example of what is so important. You can have all the money and stuff in the world but when you die the only thing that you take with you is the love you have tended.

Sally said...

I'm so sorry about Ramone. I don't comment often, but I've enjoyed the posts about him. What an incredible person; what a legacy indeed. His family - so fortunate to have had him and their mom, Virginia.

Janelle said...

Thank you for sharing his story, it is a great lesson and a reminder to us all. Ramone will not be forgotten and we will work that much harder to make him proud. Thanks.

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

sounds like a truly loving and giving Father....Sharing life skills by example and deed not just words.
And the simple life he led to some may sound awful and lacking to me the simplicity of it all sounds wonderful.
RIP Sweet Hard working Ramone.

Pam said...

Thank you for sharing this. It warms my heart to hear stories of people full of honor, integrity and character. People who leave a legacy of things that matter in life. God bless Virginia and the rest of the family. May they have peace and comfort and may Ramone's legacy live on through his children and theirs. And God bless you and your family as well during this difficult time.

Deborah said...

It used to be that acquiring money was for the financial security of yourself and your family - and Ramone is a prime example of that. Now, it seems the primary purpose of money is to show off, and see where that got us. No one believesin delayed gratification any more.

By the way: "a bridge from Point a to Point fairyland" - LOL!

Rhea said...

Ramone was a smart man.

Credit was supposed to be a "Safety net" but has somehow metamorphosed into a "daily crutch."

MrsMama said...

It's muscles, dear. Those kind bloggers warmed the cockles of your muscles.

My grandparents and my great Aunt and Uncle built their houses themselves and owned them outright. Things have sure changed!

Tracie said...

What a sweet man. And what a great example. If we all lived like that, imagine how much better the world would be!

Sally-Ann said...

My Dad paid cash for everything except the farm he bought with my Mum just after the 2nd world war. That was paid off fairly quickly.
That is a wonderful legacy that Ramone left for his family. We all should live within our means, a lot less headache and heartache.

HappyHermit said...

I have silently watched here for a while. Your Ramone reminded me much of my abuelo Jose'. The Value of living within one's means were passed down to me. I lived completley within my means , never gathering any debt. My Husband was on the other hand had tons of it when we married.

He was amazed and asked how.
I Told him what my abuelo taught me.

"Owe no one anything but love and your life will be happy"

For me , I found the simplest life WAS the happiest.