Seeing How The Other Half Lives

My mom is from Minnesota, a fact she deplores since she hates cold weather more than I hate lima beans. But her youngest brother still lives here, so my son and I are out visiting and the son is taking sailing lessons.

When my grandparents came out here in 1945, they bought a house in Minnetonka Beach, which is on Lake Minnetonka. Now, Minnetonka Beach is a chi-chi community, with huge mansions, boats, fancy lifestyles and tons of wealth dotting the lakeside (there are Pillsburys, real Pillsburys, living and baking here, for example. My grandmother once cooked a Duncan Hines cake when she had them over to dinner many years ago. Oops).

Last Sunday, my relatives took us to a party celebrating a high school graduation. The patriarch is the CEO if a Fortune 500 company, and his annual salary for the past three years has been in the double digit millions. So the house? It was BREATH-TAKING. The family had built it themselves on five acres of land, and had bought a neighboring six acres so no-one could come in and “spoil the view.”

It felt really weird to be around that much money. And I thought the feelings of inadequacy and envy might be similar to what our poor churchmice heroes and heroines might feel when they entered a ton party for the first time. How incredibly overwhelming!

Just think if you had barely ever left your small village, but somehow you and your family has the connections and the funding to sponsor a come-out. And you end up at Carlton House, having a five-hour meal, or meeting the Prince, or just wandering through the rooms stuffed with precious artwork.

It would take a strong person to handle seeing that much opulent display of wealth without feeling some sort of inadequacy (side note: I was not that strong. I felt totally intimidated). What would a hero or heroine do in response? Have you ever had that kind of experience?

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