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Landon Saunders

            I was in Boston, Massachusetts, maybe a year or two before Dad died. I got a call that he had had a heart attack, his third. Come quickly. They didn’t know if he would survive.

            I flew into the city and ran over to the hospital. He was all wired up, and my mother was there. After a little while, she went off down the hall and Dad sort of came to and said, “Son, pull up a chair. I want to talk over some business with you.” Well, I felt a hole in my stomach, but I reached over and got a chair and pulled up close. I was thinking he probably wanted to talk about his will or something. I mean, he was 75 years old, and in his life he’d survived tuberculosis, cancer, seven strokes, and this was his third heart attack.

            He cleared his throat and said, “Now, I’ve thought it over very carefully. And I’m thinking about going into the trucking business.” It was great. I couldn’t believe it. I said, “Dad, seven strokes and three heart attacks, and you’re thinking about going into the trucking business?” He said, “I’m thinking about it.” And I said, “Well, if you do, count me in on it, because I want to be a partner. It’s bound to succeed!” He thought that would be fine. “We could just put ‘Saunders and Son’ on the side of the trucks.”

            I want to live that way.

            Well, he made it through his ordeal.

            A couple of years later, I talked to him on the telephone…the night before he died. I had a long conversation with him. President Reagan was about to be nominated, and he said, “Landon, do you think Mr. Reagan might get us into a war?” And I said, “I don’t think so, Dad.” He said, “Well, that’s good. That’s good. But if he did, do you think he would draft me?” And I said, “I don’t think so. He might draft me, but I don’t think he would draft you.” And he said, “Well, that’s good.”

            We finished our conversation and he hung up. He was sitting in his chair, chuckling to himself as my mother walked through the room, and she said, “Robert, what’s so funny?” He said, “Well, I’m just so relieved. It just makes me feel so good.” She said, “What?” “Well, Landon assured me that even if we do have a war that I probably won’t be drafted!”

            Exuberance.

            At 6:15 the next morning, he breathed his last. Sad note? No. No, the majority vote is that it’s a happy note. Died with his boots on. Died with exuberance.

            It’s true, isn’t it? If we can survive all of our troubles and live. And if you can get all the way down to the end and go out with a smile on your face or a chuckle—that’s exuberance!

            Exuberance was one of the secrets of how my dad handled life’s woes. There are many other secrets. Actually, you’ll find one hidden in each problem.

COMING FRIDAY: Living With No Regrets

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]