Investment Journey

Jody and I bought shares of ATCO Gas in Alberta a few years ago.  I’ve wanted to buy some more.  Last week, I closed the joint account that we had with the brokerage TD Waterhouse and opened one of my own.  It was active as of Monday and my goal today was to buy 300 shares.  But it wasn’t totally easy.  If I delivered a cheque to TD today, it would take a day or two to clear and only then would I be able to do the trade.  Should I serenely wait or do all I can to make the purchase today?  Well, I had a goal, didn’t I?  So I went for it.

Going for it would mean withdrawing the cash from my credit union and plopping the money on TD’s counter.  Both institutions are in St. Thomas.  Then go home, phone the brokerage and consummate the deal.

Step number one: show up at the credit union.  “Having that amount of cash ready for you will take about two hours, sir.”  “Oh.  Okay.”  It was 11:00 am and I didn’t want to go home.  What to do?  In my driving wanderings of the past few days, I’d noticed a new asphalt walking path that led from Pinafore Park in the south part of town, north a few kilometres to downtown.  Oh, I love exploring.  So I parked at Pinafore and sauntered northward, trees to the left and trees to the right.  (“Hi, Jody!”)  It was lovely.  The sun was shining, the temp was a degree or two above zero Celsius, and the huge banks of snow from our recent storms were melting to beat the band.  Quiet little streams flowed over the asphalt, glistening.  And there were black wrought iron benches every 400 metres or so.

I sat.  I looked at Jody’s trees.  I talked to my dear wife.  I talked to many passersby, who seemed as delighted with the new path as I was.  And I thought of the snow.  Such a bad case of piles, all dripping away.  Slowly fading.  And in a week or two?  Perhaps nothing.  Just as in our lives … shining in the sun, big globs of energy, but slowly moving towards diminishment, and eventually disappearance.  I closed my eyes.

After much pleasurable dipsydoodling of the feet, here was Talbot St. and further along, a mom and pop eatery serving an all-day breakfast.  They even had those little containers of peanut butter for my toast.  I rested.  I ate slowly.  It was good.

Then off I ambled a few blocks to my credit union.  1:15.  Perfect.  A smiling young gentleman teller greeted me with “Hello, Mr. Kerr.  Your money is ready.”  After a few signings of this and countings of that, the cash found a home in an envelope and in my coat pocket.  “Bye.”

It was a 20-minute walk to the TD Bank.  Was I nervous?  Okay, a bit.  I hoped that I was walking normally – nice, relaxed gait, not too fast, not too slow.  Nothing to get potential criminals sniffing around.  Actually, I smiled a lot.  Never before had I walked the streets with such a load of moola.  Sort of exciting.  A bit James Bondish perhaps.  I heard the nervous voice inside … “Bruce, you should have driven to the bank” … but truly, who cares?

I found a few back streets between credit union and bank, and discovered new and rare snow sculptures on my way.  And I didn’t think the left breast of my coat was bulging at all.

In the front door I strode, like a wealthy industrialist from downtown Toronto.  The staff were very nice.  Fifteen minutes later, the delivery was complete.  More smiles.

I continued my loop trip and eventually made my way back to the wondrous path.  Still sunny, still dripping, still happy.  Half an hour later, I was with my trusty vehicle Hugo, and homeward we went.

I phoned the brokerage at 3:58.  The Toronto Stock Exchange closed at 4:00.  Too late.  Hmm.  But tomorrow is another day.  They open at 9:30.  I’ll be there.

Who knew investing could be such fun?

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