A beader's paradise to beadazzle you
Maybe Yes, Maybe No
- by Suze Orman
After his little chicken shack had burned to the ground, my dad was
penniless. Because he wasn't properly insured, everything was a total loss.
He had absolutely no money to start up another business. He had gotten
emphysema inhaling smoke in the fire.
It was a hard time for the family. My mom was working full time, and
we three kids were doing whatever we could to bring in extra money.
Still, there was never enough. Everyone was saying how unlucky my dad
had been, which started to bother me. So I asked him if he was unlucky.
"Maybe yes," he said, "Maybe no."
One day I heard him on the phone taking a call. "Really?" he was
saying. "How can this be? Are you sure?" And then: "Great! I'll take it. I
walked into the hallway where the phone was and he looked at me and
said, "Honey, we are back in business!"
I can remember to this day how thrilled he was. A salesman who had
been one of my dad's suppliers at the chicken shack told my dad that the
meat packing company was going to give him the start-up money to open a
new place, and they had found the perfect location for him as well. I
said, "See, Dad? You are lucky after all, aren't you?" Again he just
looked at me and said, "Maybe yes, maybe no."
A few months later. Mory's Deli (named after my dad) opened up on
Chicago Avenue in downtown Chicago, with us kids all working there every
day after school. From the beginning, there was always a line out the
door, and this time I knew that my dad was really going to make it.
Then one day he came home looking forlorn, and said that Northwestern
Medical School was expanding and taking over our place, so we would have
to find a new location. This can't be, I remember thinking.. We were just
starting to do so well. Just to check, I said, "I guess we're not so lucky
after all, Pops," and he said, "Maybe yes, maybe no."
My dad began looking for a new place. When the word got out that he
needed a new location, a landlord back in Hyde Park, where the original
chicken shack had been, contacted him and said that he had the perfect
spot and that, again, everyone would help with the cost of moving back to
Hyde Park. He was so happy. The day he signed the lease, I felt that I
had to set the lick record straight, so I said, "This means our luck has
changed for the better. Right Dad?"
"Maybe yes, maybe no."
From the day the new store opened, business boomed. Every day, there
were huge lines out the door, especially for Dad's corned beef sandwiches.
Dad's health was getting worse, but somehow he was able to manage.
Only two years after the store opened, we had another fire. It
happened at night, so nobody was hurt. This time, I said outright to my
Dad that I thought he was the unluckiest man in the whole wide world,
thinking that he might finally agree.
"Maybe yes, he said, "maybe no."
The fire was caused by an electrical short in the apartments next door.
The landlord knowing that my dad had been doing such great business put
him on notice that he was going to triple the rent after he rebuilt the
place. There was no way we could afford it. So at the age of 70 and in
frail health, my dad began looking, once again, for another location.
When word got by, a representative from the University of Chicago
asked Dad if he would like to open the first private business on the
university campus? The spot was perfect, right by the hospital where
thousands of people worked and the rent was affordable.
"Wow," my dad said, "I'd love to!" then he called up his old landlord
to say that he wasn't moving back in. The landlord was in such shock that
he offered him back his spot totally rebuilt, and for less rent that he had
been paying before. Now my dad was the one in shock: He took *both*
Soon with my brother Gary's help, both places were up and running -
and successful beyond my father's wildest dreams. I went up to him one
day and said, "You know what, Pops? You are one lucky duck."
This time to my utter amazement, he said: "Yep Suze, you got that
Not long after that, my dad died - in his eyes a lucky man.
My dad's gift was knowing that good luck or bad luck is always in the
eyes of the beholder, and always cycling: it rarely stops for long in any
one place. He was able to see past the present situation, whatever it
was, to the future.
Notice another thing about Dad's story:: Many of the good things would
never have happened if the bad events hadn't happened first. If the
second fire hadn't happened, and the landlord hadn't tried to raise the
rent. Dad would have never gotten his store on the campus or got a
better deal at the first store.
Next time you feel that bad luck has struck you again, remember my
"Maybe yes, maybe no."
If you can face misfortune and ask yourself how you can find the gift,
the lesson, in what is upsetting
you right now, then you are rich despite the setback.