Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WHO ARE WE? We Get to Decide!

WHO ARE WE? WE GET TO DECIDE! Just how cool is that?

We may be short or tall, slim or brawny, white or otherwise, smart or not so smart. We may have red hair or dark hair, blue eyes or green eyes, perfect teeth or crooked teeth, big or small boobs, in the case of girls. NONE OF THAT IS WHO WE ARE. That is WHAT we are.


The Honorable J. C. Watts, Congressman from Okalahoma, said it well, quoting his grandfather. "CHARACTER IS WHAT WE DO WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING". There is a four way stop just up the street from my home. In the dead of the night, when no one is looking, I come to a full stop and say to Congressman Watts, "I'm one of the good guys!" I'm certain I could "drift" right on through that stop and no one would know, except for me.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, money, family or riches, play no part in who we are. At age 60, in good health, I walked away from a six figure position. MY ONLY REGRET IS THAT I DID NOT DO IT SOONER.

True, when I now go to Ireland, or elsewhere, I carry a backpack and stay in hostels. I have been to "THE LAND OF CASTLES" as a guest of those with deep pockets. Yes, it was fun. This picture is of my wife Julie going to dinner in an upgrade hotel. Notice how drab I was dressed while Julie was the typical, overdressed American. I NEVER INTERACTED ONCE WITH THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND ON THAT TRIP.

I have the best stories to recall from backpacking Ireland's west coast. People in Ireland dress very plain. The ladies do not wear makeup. If you look like the Irish look, talk to them as equals, they are delightful, fun loving folks. This picture is how I looked leaving home on that backpacking trip. Except for my size, the Irish are small, I blended right in on this trip.

IN ADDITION TO HOW WE ACT WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING IS HOW WE ACT UNDER DURESS. The Ohio State coach, Jim Tressel, is a great example. Although his team wins far more than they lose, he is always the same, win or lose. I know he was crushed when the Bucks lost to Wisconsin early in the season. He always, always speaks highly of the other team, win or lose. He is a class act! Any jerk can jump up and down with joy when they are a big winner.

My daughter, Kimberly, took her son, Riley, to the Sugar Bowl. They went first class and were guests of a local doctor friend. They had loge seating on the 50 yard line. The Buckeyes won the game. HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY, Go Bucks.

THERE IS ALWAYS A FLY IN THE BUTTERMILK, HOWEVER! They flew to New Orleans early because of current flight problems across the nation. No problems going down. NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS COMING HOME.

If I got the story straight, and I probably didn't, there was a heart attack of someone on the plane before take off. They were delayed in New Orleans. Of course they missed their connection in Charlotte. They spent the night in less than a five star hotel. When they got on a delayed flight the next day, there was a total computer shut down at the airport. They spent a day there with masses of other people.

Riley, who just turned 12 last week, could not accept this situation. He had real problems at the Charlotte air port. Of course his problems were his Mother's problems. I talked to her on the phone and she sounded terribly stressed. Now Riley is an experienced flyer, probably flying a half dozen times a year, more or less. This was his first bad experience and he did not cope well with it.

Sadly, it will not be his last bad experience in life. He knows what it is to be a winner and loser. One year his football team won the Championship and the next year, a much smaller, less experienced team never won a game, I don't think. He handled that well.

I know Riley. When he was born both he and his Mother struggled with life. I cooked and cared for both of them for his first six weeks of life, turning his situation around. I have been very active in his life--we're going out for steak later this week. We'll talk about life's "flies in the buttermilk" and how we deal with them. I KNOW HE WILL GET ON TOP OF THIS SITUATION AND HANDLE IT BETTER NEXT TIME.

My wonderful wife, Julie, always sells herself short of who and what she is. She tends to find fault with her cooking, and she is a great cook and cooks a lot. Frequently when she can't reach something she will say, I'm just too short. I always brag on her cooking and tell her that she is not short, what she wants is too high. When I can't see something in the fridge, I remind her that I'm not too tall but she is just right to get what I want.

We are not hair, size, teeth, boobs, smart, rich or whatever. We are what we do in life's difficulties. In the great depression we never had lawn mower problems where we lived, we had no lawn. If company came we might "sweep" the yard. We never had one toy--UH WE NEVER HAD ONE TOY.

We played a great game called "SHINNY". It was a form of hockey, I guess. We played bare footed, we never had shoes in the summer time, played with a tin can and tomato stakes. UH, WATCH YOUR SHINS! We rolled one another in old tires. At night we played a great game called "Fox and Geese, or Whistle and hollow and the fox can't follow", a rowdy game where the fox tried to catch the geese, none to gently as I recall.

The toys in my life time consisted of small spinning tops of paper and wood, a sled--which I treasured--and a BB gun, a cheap, one shot BB gun. At age 13 I got my first real shotgun, a single shot, 16 gauge Winchester. I gave it to my oldest son, Mark. Of course there were always cards, checkers and dominoes and there was a perpetual game ongoing. And there was the river for swimming and fishing.

We worked hard all the time. Wood to chop. Water to carry in. Berries to pick and gardens to hoe. We did have a Christmas tree which we went to the woods, chopped down and dragged home through the snow. We made the tree decorations stringing popcorn and pasting paper chains.

I WAS NEVER POOR! Life was great! It still is! I have made and spent a fortune, I have travelled the world, I have been the guest of royalty, I have dined with the heads of state. I have been featured on national television and have been on local stations time and time again. I have been published a number of times. I have three wonderful childen, all professionals married to professionals. At 80, I have pages of plans for exciting things to do in the coming years. THIS IS WHO I DECIDED TO BE.

ASK YOURSELF JUST EXACTLY WHO ARE YOU? If you don't like the answer, do something about it. Plan for adversity, it will come. It does not have to be bad, unless you make it bad. Plan and work for good times. If you plan it might not happen but if you don't plan it surly won't happen.

BE SOMEONE YOU LOVE AND RESPECT! When you can do that life will be sweet!

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER! Smell the roses!

God Bless

1 comment:

Phatmom said...

So sorry to hear of Kimberly & Riley's nightmare trip home. Glad they made it okay despite the "flies in the buttermilk." I always like reading about your childhood. Good stuff!