I was chatting with my neighbor this morning about lessons learned and how they influence our lives. I was not close to my step dad, but I received a couple of object lessons from the man.

One day, I was hanging out in our town of forty houses on the side of a Sierra Nevada mountain, outside of Reno, called Floriston. My seven year old buddy Richard talked me into stealing something from Nana's store, a little place that sold basic supplies and the only store there.

I don't remember what it was, probably candy, and Nana caught us. She summoned our parents, and a severe punishment was handed to both of us. We were banned from the store for a year! As that year went by, I was reminded every day that stealing has consequences, and it formed my integrity on that matter.

As the years progressed, we moved all over California, finally landing in Paradise, CA. Yea, the same town that was burned down from the Camp Fire in 2018. I was still friends with Richard and he was living in Reno.

One day we came up with a scheme to buy a bunch of alcohol at a discount store in Reno, and bring it back to Paradise to sell it to my underage friends, at a markup.

In the dead of night, we rolled into town on Neal Rd and decided to pull off into the bushes to sleep until morning. Unfortunately, I fell asleep with my foot on the brake...

A local sheriffs deputy spotted the lights in the bushes, and lit us up. He demanded we open the trunk and found all of the booze, at which point he had us load it all up into his vehicle, and then he split.

He knew my step dad Paul, who was working at a local gas station, and the next day he pulled in and asked him if he wanted the booze, and Paul said hell no.

The cop kept everything, never reported it, and never wrote us up. We were out a bunch of money, and I realized that a life of crime was not up my alley! Lessons learned...