Andy Craddock: March 2019 Barefoot Writing Challenge Winner

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Congratulations to Andy Craddock for Winning the March 2019 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:

Do you consider yourself lucky? Why or why not?

Andy told the upbeat story of his “lucky” breaks over the years. Enjoy his winning submission:


Me? Lucky? Let Me Think…

Mostly, luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. To not be ready when the moment arises would certainly be unlucky — wouldn’t you agree?

Personally, I’ve found myself on both sides of that coin — sometimes lucky, sometimes not — but always able to continue.

I met my wife, Jayne, right after getting divorced. One of the luckiest days of my life, no doubt.

We’ve had our ups and downs as most couples do, but we were prepared to work to stay together. It’s been 40 years now since we said, “I do.”

Lucky for me? Absolutely, positively! (I guess you’ll have to ask her how she feels.)

As a young man, still wondering what path my life should take, I was laid off from my factory job making boxes — right after Christmas 1978.

Not incredibly lucky. Especially right after Christmas.

And then, almost three weeks later, I got a job working in a machine shop making more money!

What a lucky break that was.

During the years I worked there — you guessed it — some lucky and some not-so-lucky things happened.

There was my first heart attack — definitely unlucky — but with the insurance I had, my time off work was covered. Luckily, I was as prepared as I could be.

We have four beautiful children.

They all lead successful and fulfilling lives and have blessed us with eight of the best grandchildren anyone could hope to know. It certain feels lucky to be so blessed.

Then right about 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer — anything but lucky.

Again, though, we had the right insurance and a little money in the bank, so I was able to be off work and receive the treatment that quite literally saved my life.

Lucky?

Blessed for sure, and maybe it was lucky that it hadn’t happened just five years earlier, because I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this right now. New knowledge brought new drugs and treatments.

That, coupled with great physicians and surgeons, means I’ve been cancer-free for all these years.

My oncologist said to me during one of my follow-up visits, “You know you’re a miracle, don’t you?”

I just laughed and said, “I’ve been called a lot of things, but miracle was never one of them!”

He said, “You were very sick when you first came in, but you never asked me that one question: ‘How long do I have to live?’”

Honestly, just like I told him, that never really crossed my mind.

Just lucky, I guess.

And lastly — that job I had for all those years? They closed the factory and moved everything to Canada! There goes that luck.

Luckily, just the year before, I had learned about the Barefoot Writer Club and AWAI, so once again, I’m better prepared for what comes next.

I’d have to say that at the very least, you can color me —

Very lucky!

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