Call it…

‘Twas a good day until just now. Did a title and, suddenly, there are songs in my mind. “Call me” and “London Calling” lead the pack. Oh well, I’ll suffer quietly and keep typing. Woe is me….

Over the years I have spent a lot of time on the phone. Eight hours a day being normal but it was commonly 10+. Simply got used to it. It came with the job and I don’t mind helping folks so….

Now, I’m on the phone far less. When I am, it’s by choice. The majority of my calls are folks I actually want to talk to. Previously it was common for me to be on the phone for ten hours and never have had a normal conversation with someone that I had picked or that I wanted to talk to. The conversations weren’t things of my interest.

Thought about all of that this afternoon and evening. Had a long run of calls. Spent five out of six hours on the phone. With two (brief) exceptions, they were all enjoyable calls. People that I wanted to hear from and talk to. The change is both notable and nice. It left me of the opinion that today was a good day indeed. Not really a post of consequence but just a thought looking back at my day.

Hope you enjoyed your’s as well.







Ever done something wrong? Ever repeatedly done that same something wrong? It is sometimes my wont to say that I’m not very smart but I can learn anything after doing it wrong six or eight times! Then somethings just stick. No way in heck that I’ll casually hop on that four wheeler to “just back up” with cattle sticks in hand again. Yep, that impact left multiple impressions! One from years ago that stuck was on my mind today. The realization of the prior post and a pleasant surprise had me mulling it.

(BTW, a short aside…. Slept some last night and was able to keep a little bit down today. Double bonus points for the fact that it appears that today won’t be another 12-16 hour day! Done by noon and home to hug a stove.)

Ok, where were we? Ah yes, the lesson.

Remember me talking about tobacco, the lifestyle and the changes after it? To sum up, you could raise some tobacco on the homeplace and have a factory job back then. The tobacco provided over half your income and the job was insurance and a backup plan. Most guys wanted to work second or third as it gave them the cool morning to farm and they could sleep some while the kids were in school. Learned a lot about relationships from one of those guys. Never discussed it but what I saw stuck.

He worked second. They got up and threw the varmints on the bus each morning. Usually he drove them up the drive (over a mile) and she cleaned up from breakfast. Then they worked together until he headed for work and she got the kids off the bus. She was mom all evening and he made sure hail didn’t sink them by doing what he did. Come day’s end, she tucked the varmints in and collapsed, sound asleep, on the sofa.

EVERY NIGHT her alarm in the living room went off. A bit bleary eyed, she rolled over and turned on the set. Oh boy was it a “Big Stick” but she needed it. He was 30 miles away clocking out. When they keyed the mike TV’S acted funny for a mile. Never mentioned how many guys were injured or killed trying to make it over that dark back road home did I? She wanted him with her, safe in their bed and her safe in his arms. So, every night she got up, got on the CB and talked him home. She earned her loving embrace and that lesson of simple, selfless love stuck.

Now a CB only had 40 channels so folks did stumble upon them. Sometimes they would visit and other times they just admired the commitment and love they were listening to. Worth noting that many of those listeners were headed home down a long, dark country road. Once home, they would try to sneak in quietly so they didn’t wake anyone. Also worth noting that the CB couple is coming up on 40 years and their friendship is as strong as ever. Their world still revolves around each other.

Yep, that lesson stuck.










It’s fair to say that I have been quiet lately. What can I say? Up and going 15-16 hours most days. Normally it can be a challenge to find time to sit and write. When you have perpetual blood shot eyes the choice between typing and sleeping is an easy one. I can do a lot of things and talk but typing takes the commitment of a pig to bacon. Throw in sick and you don’t sleep once you are in the bed. Oh well…., this is only the now.

Yet there is still wonder and beauty midst the exhaustion. A couple of things caught my eye over the last few days. Some big, some small, some of value and others that would seem without. Those things are each a treasure to me. No insurance company would ever ponder them but I find them irreplaceable. Last night was “Sweatin’ by an Oldie” at my house. Lots of sweating, twisting and turning but no sleep worth hanging your hat on. Kind of stunk but (a) I was up way, way before the alarm and (b) sometimes your minds drift takes you where you need to go.

I began to ponder my general distaste for not having someone there to care for. Odd I know but it’s who I am and it would distract me. With that thought came back the realization that, on rare occasion, it would be nice to have that person help me. I would have to be in a fairly rough shape but, the more it was ruminated on, the more I realized how precious that treasure would be.

Now, the fire is roaring again. My house suddenly¬† feels comfortable at 85. No clue what that is in heat pump or furnace. Maybe 100? Whatever, I’ll soak in the warmth of at least one love tonight. Anyone else celebrate “Woodstove Day”?






Silly boys

Ever started noticing something then it was everywhere? If this doesn’t sound familiar then buy a car, something that is unique and all yours. You’ll see them suddenly everywhere around you in traffic.

Had one of those realizations over the recent days as I rode along. Grumpy was purring along and I’m just looking. Started noticing other trucks. Grew up around trucks. They were the modern equivalent to a horse in some ways. Relied on, always there, a companion in getting the work done. Get done and (if there’s somewhere to go) get cleaned up then go get in the car. The car is for anything but working. Wife drives one for groceries, it gets driven to church…., you get the idea. Drive the truck to church and you’d get questions about what was wrong with the car.

Looking around, that’s changed. Now I knew this. The sea change happened via wise marketing and design of the 1997 Ford F-150. It started us on the path to where we are now. Vapid stupid is something I try to ignore so, though I knew it, I had not really noticed the prevalence of it. The days became a fun game of “I spy” in a manner of speaking. What I spied befuddled me. Falls into the catalog of things I see but don’t understand.

These folks are a couple of generations removed from getting in a hard days work and have nice homes so the manly-man emulation is both funny and cute. I don’t know if the scenery bugged me or Grumpy more but I did notice him snorting as they went by and then pulling a bit harder. I figure it’s an extension of too much free time, excess funds poorly spent and a need to feel macho that brings us to this puzzling crossroads of automotive history.

We saw pretty, shiny trucks indeed. Trucks that were bedecked, festooned and slathered with gizmos that must have kept a few credit cards warm at night. Seventy thousand dollar trucks are hard for me to justify to begin with to be fair. Then they get five grand in a lift kit, tires and rims. Don’t forget the exhaust. You must have very large exhaust to pull a lawn mower on a utility trailer with your big truck. The truck is rated to pull 20k and it’s pulling 1k, that’s mighty close to the limit so the exhaust is a given.

Now a truck is all about hauling but seeing as you haul next to nothing, why not haul butt? Need more seats for that job so they have tiny beds and four doors. Those tiny beds have hard covers to keep everything clean and dry. Nothing worse than a dirty, wet shovel right? But they can’t reach into the bed because the truck is so high so it wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that now nothing of any consequence fits under the cover! Some are really clever.

They get those nifty little racks that go in hitches. These are typically 2×4 platforms made of angle iron and expanded metal that sit behind the vehicle. Quite common and they could have their moments. Typically they can be had for about a hundred dollars. Therein is irony. A guy spends 80k to have a manly-man truck (“Strongest truck ever made!”) and he has his trash in a hundred dollar rack hanging off the back in order to save the carpeted bed and leather seats.

Silly boys…









…..the first time

You’ve heard the old saying that you wouldn’t have to do things over had you done it right the first time. That one has played on my mind this week as I’ve looked around. Kinda, sorta wish I had stuck to my original post idea the other night as it would have set this one up nicely. Oh well, this one works even without it so let’s start.

To give fair disclosure, I have no use at all for Valentines day. Never have. It’s basically a time where people play catch up on what they should have done for the last 364 days. We won’t go to far there as it is it’s own post. Consider this a disclaimer and the setting for my thoughts during what is to follow and it’s summation.

Found myself in an odd setting listening to what turned out to be an odd conversation last Sunday. With me was a group of about 8 disparate people. The conversation somehow turned to relationship and marriage. Every one of them (that had married) was on their second marriage. All of their parents, and spouses parents, were on their second marriage. They all talked about how they had failed to appreciate their first marriage and how much better second marriages were. I just listened, aghast.

I was raised in a world where divorce simply didn’t exist. No one I knew was divorced. You would no more consider divorce than you would murder. Marriage was entered into seriously, taken seriously and seen as being for life. Listening to this conversation was as odd as listening to Martians talk about their homelife. The way they described the first marriages showed that they entered into them without understanding. Their upbringing was in the first marriage of their parents in each case. They were raised with a very different viewpoint and really didn’t understand until their second union. This one they take VERY seriously.

Learned a lot and thought a lot as I listened. The statements and the lessons learned were the same. Respect for the spouse, listening, being slow to anger, fidelity……. Seems they has come to believe in the normal that I was raised with. Hmmmm….

Thought on it when the Valentines day edition of the paper arrived. Naturally it included the obligatory section of stories on older folks “still in love”. Typically I’ll skip such fluff but this time I read it. Mixed bag as it turns out. About half were on their second marriage. They said the same things that I’d heard on Sunday. Those still on their first credited the decades of happiness to the same reasons. Hmmmm……, brings up a question or two doesn’t it?

If you are on your second, hope you learned from mistakes. Not just your’s mind you, from all of them. Hopefully they are beneficial lessons now and your union thrives. If you are on your first, hope you are wise enough to pay attention. If so many people lay the demise of their union on a common set of causes then maybe there lies a good outline of where you should tread carefully and pay attention. No one wants to be alone next year do they?







Bad boy?

I’ve mentioned my writing style before in passing. Basically, an idea hits and (time permitting) I sit down, write it in one shot and hit “publish”. Such happened earlier today. Had a post, title and all, pop into my mind when tomorrow’s goings-on occurred to me. Now to find free minutes.

Then life hit. It kept hitting. All of my recent problems, worries and concerns took a new twist at some point today. Suddenly the title worked but the topic no longer seemed relevant. The more the day wore on, the more the irony of the juxtaposition set in. What it set into was my reality.

I have wanted a partner for a long time. Today and tomorrow would be good days to have one. (Minds out of the gutter please.) Leaders, dominants, what have you, they are all just human. While it’s nice to have them lead the way, never underestimate the power of their forward motion lies in the one who has their back. Tomorrow is a silly day of pageantry but don’t overlook the opportunity to let them know that you have their back as they push forward. Skip that message long enough and the strongest finally falter.

Seems fitting to end this with the first Internet image that I liked enough to save and the first I used in a post.







Follow the leader

I’ve spoken before on leadership. A refresher never hurts. Some go down in history for their skills and some are best forgotten. This is a point worth pondering because it takes the same amount of total energy to become either one. So…., why stink at something if you can be good at it with the same amount of effort?

The premise holds just as easily for one who wants to follow but my thinker is thunking on a man famous for leading. As with any good leader, he practiced the axiom that you must be a good servant to be a good master. Many of his works are viewed up close today and there is nothing wrong with that. To see how they worked together to form his world view we must step back to see how he was raised and how that rearing was one of obedience and humility. Those lessons in following congealed into the man who led. So, let’s take a peak shall we.

His education was far beyond the common drivel of today. If you do the extra credit assignment at the end I think you will probably agree that his teachers did not care if he felt “special” or “empowered”. They were wise enough to know that the education would create, as a end result, a man who gained those qualities on his own. They would be earned and not bestowed. The leadership then understood the foolhardy nature of any attempt to gift such as it is, by nature, corruption. (Feel free to challenge me on this. Note that I will compare my current subject and his peers to a half dozen modern counterparts.)

The method of his education is the same that a certain girly-girl is undergoing. Known nowadays as a “Classical Education” it still works wonders for providing thoughtful, well spoken thinkers. It’s first component is based on teaching Grammer. By knowing the language, you can understand thoughts and communicate your own. It’s second phase is Logic. With this you learn how to organize the thoughts that you can understand and convey due to your mastery of Grammer.

The third phase brings it together and makes you feel empowered. That phase is Rhetoric. You learn to use your knowledge of Grammar to convey the conclusion you reached via Logic. This rounding out creates an individual who, with time and experience, can be a fearsome force for the things they know true. The recipient of this education has always been sought after in life because of the quality of their thoughts when put forth. If you have ever seen someone with this education in action then you know exactly what I’m referring to.

The Jesuits were/are famed for using this method to produce exceptionally learned individuals. Even those not inside their formal system have been run through some of the wringers of their tradition and benefited. Such is the case at hand. As a boy, one of his lessons was to learn their code of virtue and civility and to write it out as part of his lessons. That act of copying out 250 year old (in his time) maxims helped form the man he later became. They helped define the world, his fellow man and his actions as he rose among them.

My lack of signal strength appears to be what precludes adding links but I’m sure that finding his work won’t be hard with ye olde cut’n’paste. For the short version and a direct application to leadership, search “Top 37 George Washington Quotes & Leadership tips” or….. Go for the longer route and take in the language and culture of a different age. Look for “George Washington’s Rules of Civility”. NPR has a nice list with the language somewhat modernized. (The original language is now almost 500 years old and could be hard to read for those unaccustomed.)

Read it and ponder the wisdom shown by the man and those around him. They almost all carried this education. I’m sure all modern leaders hold themselves to this standard whilst tweeting but, as a mere individual, I find them a useful read every so often. Never hurts to remember the burdens and grace needed while giving orders and while carrying them out. Doesn’t hurt to recall the duty to follow with a humble nature at points in every life and the responsibility to lead with the kindness when power is in hand.

Okie dokie, who will do the cut’n’paste for extra points?