She works hard for the money.

So hard for it, honey.

Our generation of Top 40 music lovers grew up with Casey Kasem.

Last Sunday, as I listened to a rerun, he told this story.

After the Grammy Awards, Donna Summer was at an afterparty in a Hollywood hotspot. She went into the bathroom and found the attendant taking a nap.

Turns out Onetta Johnson, the attendant, worked two jobs, the other as a nurse, to make ends meet and was indeed tired.

“Wow, she really works hard for her money,” Summer thought to herself. That night she wrote the hit single.

Our family works hard for their money.

My first paid job was moving irrigation pipe south of Abilene for farmers Cap and Charlotte Wilson. Before harvest, I think the milo was taller than me. Talk about working hard for the 35 cents an hour wage.

It didn’t take long until I moved up to being a busboy at the Trail’s End Restaurant, cleaning tables.

Naturally getting to work at 5 a.m. required a vehicle which was eventually a 1962 Bel-Air that I paid for. Mom and Dad paid for the insurance.

What I didn’t spend in gas went into the maintenance of the car.

I guess I shouldn’t brag that I had three different vehicles before I turned 19, one being a yellow 1949 Chevy pickup. And if I got the date wrong, Greg Becker who drove it before me, can correct me.

I sold that and bought a 1967 Chevy Impala after my first year of college.

I also worked two jobs one summer: weekdays at Green Ford Sales and Saturdays for Bud’s Tire and Auto for “Bud” who was actually Chuck Hurlbut.

The next big expense was college. College tuition wasn’t the biggest killer of the budget as we had planned for that. It was the cost of books which updated more often than Windows software and were expensive.

I don’t know how Dave Ramsey expects students to work and go to class full time to avoid debt but we did it, both of us working 36 hours a week.

During spring break there were no trips to Padre Island since we were able to get in a full 40 hours during that time. Kathy was working at the Dutch Maid grocery store.

We had some rough times in college when Robin came along. Beans and rice, rice and beans were a luxury back then.

Long before there were such things as phone trees, word got out quickly when there was shipment of Emfamil at the store. Selling it by the case, they were sold out by the evening of the shipment.

Like tuition, while buying our first house it wasn’t an issue paying the mortgage which we had planned for. Utilities were a different story. 

We once funded a vacation with a wine bottle. For a year, instead of eating out, we put the money we would have spent dining out into that empty bottle.

Skip a generation and I see my grandchildren working hard for their money, too.

The youngest, Gemma, just met her summer reading and math goals and earned a new lamp for her room.

Landon, next in line, is saving for a PlayStation 5. What else would one expect of an eighth grader?

Teigan, a high school senior, works two jobs and is paying off his vehicle.

Hayden, a junior at the University of Missouri, just moved into a house and is learning about those utility bills.

He was saving for a lawn mower, something he hasn’t needed up until now. However, he found out that he and his roommate supply the water of an adjoining community garden. In return, a member of that community cuts the grass.

Dave Ramsey would be proud of him. I sure am.

Contact Tim Horan at

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