Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Holiday Gift

Every year, just before the Holidays, the student government of my kids’ high school puts on a dinner for the residents of one of our local senior citizens centers and homeless shelters. It’s quite an affair with roast turkeys, mashed potatoes...lots of gifts, games and songs. My daughter, being Senior Class President, was very involved. She surprised me by showing up back at home about halfway through the party. As she rushed through the door I could tell she had been crying. She threw herself into my arms...shaking with tears. “Dad”, she sobbed... ”There’s an old man there with no coat and a different shoe on each foot. We have to do something”. So, we gathered up a couple of unused jackets and a pair of pretty decent tennis shoes and off she went. She came home after the party was over and stood quietly by herself in the kitchen. I put my arm around her and asked how everything went. She told me that when she gave the shoes to the old man he said, “Thank you honey. I know someone who can really use these”. She said, “But these are for you”. He smiled at her and said these words. “Thank you sweetie, but see here...I’m lucky. I already have a shoe for each foot”.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Un...or maybe Non

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately, hmmm, actually it’s been a lot of very loud talk, about the Constitution. Actually, to be more specific, it’s been about what’s Un-Constitutional. Social Security… Un-Constitutional… MediCare….Un-Constitutional…Department of Education…Un-Constitutional and so on and so on. These things are not in the original Constitution. Now that’s a fact, but doesn’t Un-Constitutional, the way it’s being used, mean against the Constitution…Anti-Constitution…evil, bad and nasty? Let me suggest something else that might help tone things down a bit. Maybe some are not so Un-Constitutional as they are Non-Constitutional. Things that are not in the original Constitution…true, but are actually conceived in the same spirit as the Constitution for the good of the people of this nation. Things our founding fathers could never have imagined there would be a need for…or laws for…or regulations for…or budgets for. Which maybe, is why in their incredible wisdom, they included such thoughtful flexibility in the way Congress can conduct the business of the nation and Article 5 that allows the Constitution to be amended to grow and change as the nation grows and changes. Changes from 13 states to 50. Changes from a little under 3 million people in 1780 to over 300 million people today. Changes from a farming society, when it was a lot easier to take care of Grandma and Grandpa when you were all still together on the farm and grew your own food, to an Urban Society with family scattered all over the country. Our founding fathers could never have imagined federal highway, train and communication systems that would need to be built, maintained and regulated for the good of interstate business. They never did get their arms around the possibility that someday there might be computers, television, the internet, global corporations, the importation of food and drugs…all needing new sets of laws and regulations. They were, however, wise enough to create a guiding document that includes incredibly wise ways for us to make it all work over 250 years after the original document was drawn up. Now, are there things that are Un-Constitutional? Absolutely! Maybe however, many things that are being called Un-Constitutional are actually just Non-Constitutional… for now.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Father's Hands

I just realized that I have my Father’s hands. I doubt though, if I’ll ever have his touch. I guess maybe Dan Fogelberg’s “Thundering Velvet Hand” described it best. Strong hands that would “Thunder” when necessary. Loving hands that would comfort when needed. Knowing hands that would guide with wisdom that could only be learned from a life lived so well. I miss those hands. I miss that touch. When I was growing up those hands taught me skills, taught me lessons, patted me on the back and…other places when needed. When I grew into a man and placed my own babies in those hands I knew there was not a safer, warmer or wiser place that they could be. I can only hope I learned enough from my Father’s hands to touch my children’s lives with at least some of the love and strength that touched mine. I just realized I have my Father’s hands.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Man's Question

This is one man’s question to all the hot, young ad guys who are creating and approving all those very cool, very hip beer spots we’re seeing on TV. You’ve never put your teenage son or daughter in a car with their friends on a Friday or Saturday night...have you? I’m pretty sure I’m right on this because most of you are too young to have kids old enough to be going out on the weekends. Someday though, it will be your turn. And maybe then you’ll give some thought to the messages you’ve been sending our children. Because you’ll be the ones holding your breath until you hear the sound of the car pulling back in the driveway. It will be your hearts that leap out of your chests when the phone rings late at night. It will be your turn to attend a funeral that should never have happened. Because, unfortunately, the young consumers you’re influencing with your award winning creative are not downing your product for the choice hops or the sparkling clean water. They’re drinking it for the buzz, guys. And you know that...don’t you? So, this is a question about judgment. Yours. And I think you’ll understand this question much better when it’s your turn to watch your own child get into a car full of friends on a Friday night.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hey...How are you?

What if everyone who said...”Hey, how are you?”...really wanted to know. It would be a different world wouldn’t it? “Not bad.”...could no longer be the standard response if the asker really cared about the askee. There would be follow up questions. “Are you getting enough sleep?” “Are you regular?” People would be late for work because of time spent describing the little gas problem, probably from those frozen burrito supremos, that kept waking them up during the night. Or...
“Hey, how are you?”
“Well, since you’ve asked, I’m quite concerned about my stock portfolio actually.”
And there goes dinner.
Maybe it would be nice though. I mean, everyone likes a sympathetic ear to tell their troubles to. But then again, wouldn’t too many extended outpourings about chronic heat rashes, concerns over whether to go satellite or cable and the heartache of unrequited office romances tend to slow down the national economy? In the end, it’s probably better that we’re the shallow, superficial society that we are.
“Hey, how are you?”
“Not bad.”
And that’s it.
We get a lot more done this way.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Good Old Days

Someday...these will be the “Good Old Days”. The stuff around us now will be what we will be referring to when we say, “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to”. When we’re geezers and we fire up a story with, “Well...back in my day...”, this will be that day. And someday when we say, “Remember when life used to be simple”, this will be the simple life we’re fondly remembering. will be a “Good Old Day”. So, let’s make sure it really will be. Let’s not let the days get away from us without trying to make them as good as they can be. Learn something, teach something, give something. Don’t just go through the motions of living. Truly live. Sure, there’s always tomorrow, but there will never, ever be another today. So, get the most out of it. These will be the “Good Old Days” someday. Now is the time to put the “Good” in them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Promise of Spring

They’re kind of like a promise aren’t they? Those tender, new green shoots poking their heads up through the frozen February ground. It’ll be over soon. This grey, shivering shroud of winter will soon be lifting. Giving way to bluer skies and the feel of warm sunshine on bare skin. Soon the earth will be green again and those dirty, grey mounds of snow ice will be just a melted memory. The promise of Spring. The promise of renewal. A world coming to life again after a cold Winter’s coma. They are a promise aren’t they? Those tender, new green shoots struggling up through the frozen February ground. They are a promise...or maybe they’re just really stupid plants.

Friday, February 5, 2010

They just wanted to know

They called his name again. Like they did back then. They called him to serve again. Like they did back then. So, he rose from the place where he had fallen so many, many years ago. He was a plumber, who became a soldier, who became a leader. And on that frozen, splintered morning in the woods of Bastogne…he gave his life fighting to hold the line. They held the line. At such a horrible cost they held the line. They called his name again. One last mission…one last duty. So, he rose from the place where he had fallen so many, many years ago. His uniform dirty and bloodied. One last mission…one last duty. This was for them. For all those heroes who stood with him through that nightmare that was Bastogne. For all those heroes that fell with him in that hellstorm that was Bastogne. They just wanted to know.
So, he stood before the chosen ones in his dirty, bloodied uniform. The President, the senators, the congressional representatives, the judges, the lobbyists, the CEOs and the talk show hosts. He watched and he listened because they just wanted to know. His brothers in arms wanted to know what all those people were doing with what they had been given on that frozen, splintered morning in the woods of Bastogne. With his heart breaking he turned to go back and tell his brothers what he had seen. They will be so disappointed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The scary Government "Take-Over" by "They"! What?!!

Can anyone tell me what this “government” health care plan that we are all going to be forced into…is? Who put that one together? True, one version of the plan does require everyone to have health insurance. It also provides subsidies to help those who can’t afford it on their own. And maybe it would help those folks get to doctors offices for care and prevention instead of having to depend on expensive emergency room care, that tax payers end up paying for, when it may be too late. Hmmm…might that not help bring down some costs? Maybe that’s why you’re required to have automobile insurance. So everyone isn’t paying for the accidents of those who don’t have it. Curious.
And doesn’t competition help control costs? Economics 101. That is, sorry, that was the plan for introducing a public option. Right…public option not “government” takeover. Give the insurance companies some healthy competition for the business. The fear mongering and lies about the public option were outrageous. However, when profits that incredible and campaign contributions that large are at stake, greedy people do outrageous things.
And let’s just quickly mention that there were hundreds of “Keep your hands off my healthcare” signs being held up by seniors at all those rallies. Seniors whose healthcare was probably Medicare…a government run healthcare system. Seniors who had been scared out of their wits by Dick Armey and his insurance company lobbying firm and the current leaders of the Republican Party Limbaugh and Beck. Grassroots protests?!!! Follow the money kids. Check out who’s sponsoring those “Grassroots” websites.
Can anyone tell me who this “government” is that wants to take over all our healthcare? Who are they? The senate and house? The President? Those 5 scary guys who really rule the world? Isn’t that why our founding fathers in their wisdom divided government into 3 sections? Executive, Legislative and Judicial so that one group couldn’t “take over”?
And what’s in it for this “government “ in a “government take over”? Why in the world would “They” want to take over? For the Power? The power to do what? And don’t just say “Run our lives”. C’mon…how is one group ever going to “Run the lives” of 280 million people? When would “they” have time for lunch? And how do “they” split that power up to make it fair to everyone that’s in this “government”? Shouldn’t everyone in this “government get to “run” some lives? For the Money? Same questions. And what happens when someone new gets voted in? Do they get their very own copy of the “You are now part of the Take Over and here’s how you get your power and money” handbook?
Please don’t let yourselves be told what to believe. Find out the facts for yourselves and like I said…follow the money.