Thursday, December 1, 2016

Miracle in December

At this time of year my mind drifts back to December 1st, 1989. I was about to leave work and g home when the telephne rang. I answered and on the line was a long time acquaintance and he could hardly talk without choking up. He is the father of 3 girls and one son. A good father but rather earthy and gruff. He explained his call haltingly and with much emotion:

Two days before he brought his 8 year old son to the doctor because he had not eaten for a couple days and when he tried he vomited it up. The doctor ran a few testes in the office and told them that it would be wise to check ito the emergency at the nearest hospital for further tests. They went immediately. Following X-Rays, blood tests and scans they determined he had a stomach blockage and wanted to run a biopsy. They then put his son to sleep and performed the biopsy of the stomach, brought him back to recovery. after what seemed to be an eternity a doctor came to speak with the father. "Your son is full of cancer, it is too late for treatment. The best we can offer is to send him to the specialist hospital in another city to keep him comfortable until the end. They administered drugs for comfort and sent him to the larger, specialist hospital within the hour. The new hospital ran more tests and verified the original diagnosis and told the father to make the best of the time his son had left.

When his son finally fell asleep his father called me with a request. Joe, we've had our talks about God and such and I always resisted your thoughts on the subject. I really would like to believe there is a God. Can you teach mehow to pray? I don't know how. As a father myself and a fellow human being my heart went out to him. I'd never had a request like that before. And so we began, two scruffy guys, helpless in our own human condition to do our best to pray. And, pray we did, for hours and hours until his son woke up and he excused himself to tend to him. i went home and explained to y wife what happened and truthfully, I don't know if I slept a wink all night.

at work te next morning early as always I wondered if his son may have passed in the night, the condition sounded that dire. I had no way of contacting his father so I went about my work. just before I went home for the evening I recieved another phone call. It was the father. He could hardly talk................

This is what he had to say. His son went back to sleep and they both slept the night not knowing if he would still be alive. The next morning his son woke up and asked for ice cream. He hadn't asked for food in days. The doctor said go anead, it can't do ant harm and may help him feel more comfortable. He ate the ice cream and asked for a ham sandwich. The doctor said go ahead, sometimes the death experience is like a light bulb and shines bright just before burning out for the last time. He ate the sandwich and was fine. The doctor was confused. He ordered more tests and after the tests he ordered a biopsy. After all morning and most of the afternoon, several doctors entered the room and had this to say:

Sir, wehave no idea what went at the oter hospital and then again at this hospital, but all the tests are negative, your son does not have incurable stomach cancer nor any other kind either. Something went wrong with all the tests. Yu are free to go home your son is completely healthy!

His son is alive and well today and has a couple kids of his own that he brings to grampa every week. I don't know if he still prays but I know of one time when he prayed his heart out. And I witnessed it I believe it to be a miracle.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lessons of life in my humble opinion

Lots and lots of news coverage regarding charity donations at this time of year. I believe that is a wonderful thing. Sharing is how we acknowledge that everything we have is not only a gift, a blessing and result of some effort on our part but also a benefit of living in a society of fellow human beings. It is an admirable virtue to give and share. However, there is another side to the meaning of giving, the receiving side.

In this country there are millions of people in need of various necessities and helping them is not only a virtue but most would agree, an obligation to our fellow man. Necessities actually consist of three things, food, clothing and shelter. That's what I've believed and been told all my life. Access to health care, in my opinion should be included in that too. But what happens when we give too much?

Growing up in a working class family certainly had it's challenges. "You don't get something for nothing" was one of the life lesson's my folks taught. My siblings and I participated in providing for our necessities through some type of work of entrepreneurial venture to help pay for some pleasantries or extras that we may want. My dad always worked two jobs to make up for the low pay and my mom filled in with babysitting. I grew up in a family unit that only asked for help in emergencies when all our efforts had failed and our resources were exhausted. Hard work, sacrifice, determination, persistence and faith in a better life pulled us through. The help we received helped us up, it didn't take the place of our dignity and learning experiences.

Charity is a virtue, I sincerely believe in sharing what I have and giving to a good cause in a variety of ways. However, I sincerely wonder if those charities aren't  providing so much as to remove many otherwise capable people from gaining the skills necessary for providing for themselves.

Life skills include: Speaking well and communication of thoughts, Proper clothing and appearance, need, desire, work ethic and common sense. Watching some folks who have no respect for others and the hard work it took to get where they are and just keep demanding more and more, I wonder if sometimes we, in our noble charitable efforts are creating a segment of society that os so totally dependent on others that they and their decedents will never learn to be productive members but simply slaves to make benevolent, hard working folks feel better because they gave. The only skills they have are based upon how to work the system and blaming others for their plight. In truth, taking much needed resources fro those that actually need a helping hand. It won't stop my giving where I see a need though.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"A Tale of Christmas" Children's story book

Around 65 years ago I visited The area around Luther Michigan with a family of a friend as they picked up a puppy for my friend. For some reason I was fascinated by the name and the countryside combined with the excitement of picking up a new puppy. Several years later, while working in Detroit I overheard a young boy begging his father for a puppy. His father, after listening for quite some time, sighed and said that until he got a job, the only way they could afford a puppy was if money grew on trees. Out of those experiences evolved this story.

In the this, third in my series of annual children's story books which are sold to benefit charitable organizations, "A Tale of Christmas" is about a boy, a puppy, a long journey and a very surprising ending. All beginning near Luther Michigan.

Now being sold at
Springrove Variety Store
815- 36th Street S.W.
Wyoming Mi. 49509

Or at my office
J&S Car Care
5724- Clay Ave. S.W. #3
Wyoming Mi. 49548

Or by calling 616-534-2025
cost $10 plus postage if mailed

As demand has been brisk we have ordered a larger supply so it is readily available for Christmas. We also have additional copies of the two previous books, "All About Don" and The Story of Klause and Gretchen" should you want the complete set.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New book progress

It's coming down to the finish line with the publication and printing of this year's installment of my annual children's book series. "A Tale of Christmas" The final edit was completed on Monday and the illustrations by Jeff Parks submitted and accepted the same day. We were pleased by the response from the proof readers as to perhaps the appeal to a wider audience. Once it hits the shelves at Springrove Variety Store on 36th Street in Wyoming Michigan we will know. The proceeds, of course will as always be donated to a worthy cause. In the past, hundreds of dollars have gone to DeVos Children's Hospital. Mary Free Bed, Santa Claus Girls, Crash's Landing animal rescue, and The American Cancer Society Strides event.

personally I am looking forward to greeting and thanking those who participate and purchase "A Tale of Christmas" Donations would not be possible if not for their generosity and participation. Including everyone from around the U.S. who send in to my business and have it mailed to them. One good old "grampa" buys one each for his 16 grandchildren and always includes a story of them along with his request and check. Good parents and grandparents ROCK! And these books are dedicated to their love and efforts for our children.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wyoming Riddler

I received a phone call from one of the winners of the Silver Treasure Hunt Riddle that I conducted for 33 years. It was enjoyable to talk to him. Brought back a flood of memories. I miss it dearly after ending it almost 3 years ago. The reason for his call is that somewhere on youtube there is a video with clues saying that the Wyoming Riddler is back. Just for the record I do not have any connection to those videos whatsoever. I personally have not had time to view them as yet but until further notice I am not conducting any riddles or treasure hnts of any consequence. Enjoy your day!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Who is telling me what I can do?

Let me get this straight. You are telling me that I do not know what I am doing.

Not bragging or complaining, just stating facts. After being told I could not do these things along with many others too numerous to mention.

I have run a business since 1960 through thick and thin, sometimes working 72 hours straight without sleep with a paralyzed arm (1-1/2 years)and through chronic illness.
I supported myself and my family without benefit of public assistance sometimes working 3 jobs.
I put my kids through parochial school.
After only knowing her for four months I married a woman and we're still married 50 years later
I survived a two year battle with carbon monoxide poisoning induced amnesia
I spent $100,000 over 33 years conducting a treasure hunt to spotlight the danger of CO poisoning
I raised two fantastic children that chose to be wonderful parents and successful, productive members of society
I have remained loyal to my friends even when most everyone else gave up on them
I mentored over 150 at risk young men and helped teach them skills and work ethics that last a lifetime.
I visited and befriends aging veterans for 30 years and in many cases was with them as they died
I visited, wrote to and mentored men in prison and helped them back into being good members of society
I held the hands of many friends and relatives as they passed away so they would not be alone.
I have never smoked dope or taken an illegal drug.
I have developed a faith in God that is unshakable.
Did my best to be fair and have always paid my employees more than I paid myself.
After the return of my memory I wrote my life story as I remembered it in hopes of helping others. It sold over 2400 copies.
I am grateful for the opportunity in each and every day.
I state these things for this reason:
Until you have a list of similar accomplishments I ask that you refrain from criticizing me and telling me what I can and cannot do. Good counsel and sincere advice are always welcome. Good friends are in many cases how I was able to accomplish these things.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando Pulse massacre

The massacre in the Orlando Pulse is a horrible thing. Such a thing was almost unthinkable until now. The massacre at Wounded Knee was a long time ago but was even more horrible with the slaughter of men, women and children. The unknown tens of thousands of Jews and Christians and others murdered by the Nazis excruciating to behold, also men women and children. The Aztecs murdered scores of innocents and the be-headings in the name of God today are almost common.Massacres are not new but we will never get used to or grow callous to. All are senseless. We must continue to pray for the victims and their families.

However, we cannot put the blame for terrible acts of a few on the heads of others. The vast majority of us lead peaceful and productive lives with our fellow man. The media and alongside of them the politicians use this terrible act as some sort of platform to achieve their own personal agendas. Bad news is always good for gaining attention. Personally, I find those media and political folks despicable. I have to concentrate on the good in the world, not on the evil. Some countries are in a war with their own neighbors in attempts to sort out disagreements. Murder and torture are an every day occurrence. We need to find solutions instead of constantly believing we are helpless victims. Being safe begins with knowing how and being able to protect ourselves and those around us.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves this question: The man that massacred all the people and wounded so many others in the Pulse, from what I understand, was unopposed by anyone else that was armed. If someone, anyone else fired back, perhaps would there have been a different outcome?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Donald Trump and free speech

The presidential election is a few months away yet and a lot of water/information has to pass under the bridge before that happens. I love America but some of the stuff I am hearing on the news is rather unsettling regarding the Donald Trump rallies and speeches. Violent "protesters" to be exact.

Being a maturing adult during the 60's and the 70's was an education in itself as far as protests is concerned. But right now the organized hateful violence of the opposing protesters at the Trump rallies is, in my opinion, totally wrong. It makes me wonder just what they are trying to accomplish with the hate and violence. I figure that Donald Trump should be able to speak freely so we can understand just what he is saying. If he backs down due to the violence and hate we will not get the information we need to vote our conscience.

When it comes to free speech the truth comes out eventually. good to remember the old adage: Give a man/woman enough rope and he'll/she'll hang himself/herself.

On the same vein, so far at least I have not seen all that violence and hate at The Hillary Clinton rallies except a few from the Bernie Sanders camp. Pics my curiosity as to just who is for free speech in the political arena. The media sure has their favorites and I'm thinking it just might come back to bite them over time if free speech becomes a thing of the past.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Every day is important

Being a working person in the field of manual labor has been my lot in life since I began collecting newspapers in the neighborhood after school to sell to the recyclers. It was good for a few dollars to enjoy some recreation on a weekend. It was all I knew. Money, for our family did not come from the government or other agency. One of our family motto's was, "Work first, play second!" We observed that every day. Another motto, "Choose to be happy!" went hand in hand with all that hard work. No matter what we did, we put some play happiness into it. When you are poor, you have to make the best of what you've got.

As I grew older it turned out that I did not have the patience to sit through the education process and earn a degree. (At least until I was 55 ears old.) This pretty much led me into the manual labor category. And, I relished it and actually still do. Mostly in the lower wage scale it meant, to support my family it took at least 60 or more hours a week to pay the bills. I'm in my 70's now and still work those hours. Something I have learned along the way: Choosing to be happy was the way to go. Every day held important opportunities and if I was happy it was much easier to see those opportunities and take advantage of them. Every day is important because it will never come again. good to remember, I have no regrets and I do not know anyone happier in life than I am. Memorial Day is a good time to meditate on that.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Finding fault

Being as guilty sometimes as anyone else of placing blame on others, I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and made a personal commitment to myself:

"I will do my best to find my own part in a situation before I attempt to place the responsibility on the shoulders of another."

I'm really going to try to live up to that.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Advancement of the Human species?

At least we still retain the right of free speech here in the United States. Mostly anyway. However, as far as I am concerned, adults who are supposed to serve and protect our constitution and keep us safe have gone so far off the scale it is ridiculous. And, on top of that, other adults are allowing them to make ridiculous laws without questioning their authority to do so. To the point of blurring the gender issue from natural law to nothing more than "feelings". It is just plain silly, but even more than that it is dangerous and verges upon pandering to perversion and predatory behavior toward impressionable children. Tell me the protection of our safety in that one.

Without passing judgement on good people of any religion or culture I ask this question: Do you wonder at all the blossoming popularity of the Muslim religion? Sharia Law is in the news a lot isn't it? It scares a lot of people but at the same time there are untold numbers of converts on a regular basis. Why is that? Would it be that all those converts are sick and tired of the "anything goes" culture developing so rapidly in Europe and the United States? Who is it that is standing up to the unceasing slaughter of our way of life? If you don't want to sit side by side with a person of the opposite sex in a bathroom, you are designated a "Hater" instead of a moral or modest person. You are not supposed to "feel" awkward or violated while at the same time, the person violating your space is allowed to "feel" whatever they consider at that time. The proof of burden is on your shoulders to protect yourself from any pervert that comes along under the guise of "feelings" because the government said they could.

It appears that the eventual acceptance of adult/child love relationships is on the horizon. Why? Because that is how some folks "feel" things should be. Watch your kids! Apparently the government doesn't give a crap about their well being.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Loss of a long time mentor

I received a long distance phone call yesterday from the wife of a friend, he has passed away. The pancreatic cancer took him quickly. I felt her loss and sadness across the miles. They were quite the loving couple, a real pleasure to be around and inspiring in so many ways. When love between a man and woman is so pure and simple the pain runs deeper but the memories of the time they had together will be the salve towards healing.

My personal feelings are sadness and loss. However, his strength of conviction regarding moral integrity, loyalty, honesty, you know, the things we all wrestle with from time to time will never leave me. As a man I've looked to my mentors and heroes like my dad, uncles, brother and friends to be an anchor when the world seems to be turning upside down and against me. wise men like my friend Ralph, in their conviction allowed me to see myself through their eyes and if they believed in me, I trusted them enough to believe in myself in spite of ignorant criticism.

It is my habit to make sure that those friends whom I admire hear me say just how much I appreciate their wisdom and tutelage. By holding true, they help make the world a better place.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Friendship is an exceptional part of most of us in some way or another. As a matter of fact, many people have much stronger, lifetime friendships than their marriages or relationships with their family members. In my case, I simply have a small, rather select, close knit group of friends going back as far as 62 years. I am so much a better person for our lasting friendships and I am grateful.

Friendships, I am told are based upon some sort of mutual need. For what I am not exactly sure but, according to that theory at least if there isn't some sort of give and take of benefit, there is no friendship. When I am interacting with a friend I cannot remember when I had a huge agenda of receiving benefit so it must be subliminal. After all these years I just figure: "Whatever!"

Last weekend I spent some time with a friend watching some of the race, grilling and eating steaks, shooting some bull, checking out some of his remodeling projects and watching a movie. Nothing earth shattering by any means but exactly what the doctor ordered at the time. Renewing and revitalizing a long standing friendship. Friends can argue and disagree and get a bit huffy or offended, but in a friendship, after all that is over they are still standing there and ready to move forward. Honesty backed by loyalty is the stuff of true friendships I think.

And, one important, but the only important factor of a solid friendship is  being there through thick and thin without question, through the best of their ability. It does not mean that everyone can do everything, no not at all. It simply means we do the best we can at the time with what time and resources we have and each of us understands one another's limitations.

I'm just saying that without my friends I would not be who I am today as a father, a brother, a husband and a grandfather. I wonder if there is a national friendship day?

Friday, April 22, 2016

History and me

I hear so many people speak angrily to me about what terrible things "people like me" or "people like them" did in the past to make a point about how guilty I am and they can blame the people of today for the sins of their ancestors. It saddens me when I listen to that type of destructive rhetoric. Am I to be blamed for those sins by simply being born?

Crimes against humanity regarding race, religion, color or opposing beliefs, property boundaries, water rights, you name it, have been going on since the beginning of time. Family against family, color against color, one person against another for the hand of a woman. I have studied history as most of us has. In my humble opinion, there is no race, religion, color or cultural belief that is Innocent of those crimes at one time or another. No country or civilization is completely innocent.

Today is the only day we can change and it is best that we look at history without hate for each other and unify our efforts. Free speech without fear of retaliation is a good first step. Creating boundaries of behavior in which we can conduct our lives safely and rules we can accept will carry that spirit of unity even further.

Get over the hate of me for the actions of whom you may believe are my ancestors and the world will become a better place. That is an admiral goal for all of us don't you think? It will never be perfect, but it certainly can be better.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fasting my way to better health

Often many of us find ourselves slipping a little in the healthy life style category. At least in my case that is true. Not huge slips all at once but several little slips, one at a time adding up. Slow but gradual weight gain over several months and then one day I see the scale and I have become 8 or 9 pounds above my goal. Skipping my daily exercise routine first one day a week and eventually for a week and even longer until it becomes only once in a while as I grow less flexible. With less flexibility comes more strain with weight lifting so I skip that because it takes more effort than I like. And, then I sit more and walk less etc. etc. etc. Snowballing into more of a sedentary life style.

All that sedentary stuff needs to halt! My modus apparendi is to fast for up to three days and get myself back on track. Fasting sharpens my mind and body to look and listen for what I need to do. A little sacrifice for my soul to awaken and point me in the right direction. I often fast 5 or 6 times a year.

Today is the second day of my 3 day fast objective. The first day is always easy and I don't crave much at all. The second day brings a desire to eat at every turn. I am so hungry at the moment I can almost visualize and smell a comfort meal. That's when I begin to think good things. I'm really not all that hungry. I am more like wanting food rather than actually needing it. I drink a glass of water and the craving disappears for an hour or so. As the day goes on I get back to business and the fast goes to the back of my mind and I busy myself with getting the exercise. The third day is almost silly in that I become no longer hungry and I am pretty much on my program to better health. Probably because I know that on the fourth day I will enjoy three normal meals and exercise will once again be part of my everyday life. Yeah, that's how I do it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jesus and his friendships

During this time of the six weeks of Easter I find all sorts of writing and essays and quotations from the bible and other historical books. Most of them are accurate and without agenda. Excellent for gaining knowledge and meditation. Much needed after such a cold month. But, then again, there are those with an agenda other than spiritual growth.

If given the time and with effort I suppose anyone can find a biblical quotation to back their own, often time inaccurate opinion. All one has to do is take the subject matter out of context or change the punctuation. However, doing that does not alter the original meaning, it merely changes it into a false statement. In effect, concealing the teaching lesson of faith.

The statement that Jesus sat and dined with thieves, tax collectors and prostitutes is commonly used for a variety of reasons to prove one point or another. Maybe we are all guilty of that at one time or another. The thing that bothers me is that when someone used that statement to somehow legitimize a behavior which is illegal, immoral or goes against nature the statement is made to be inaccurate. Jesus, in no way condoned those particular behaviors or life styles by sitting or dining with those people. What the teaching was and is becomes very clear when we look at Jesus' teaching in those cases. He said: "Now go and sin no more." He did not say: " Gee guys, I don't care about you enough to tell you when you are doing wrong." You see Jesus did and does care enough to be with people that practise those things, He loves them, but that is not to say he loves any sin.

If quoting a sacred text I feel it is best to allow the true meaning to be seen. Especially if we are attempting to justify a particular behavior. "Now go and sin no more."

Friday, April 8, 2016


Just a rant regarding a personal pet peave here: Tailgating.

I drive a Suburban which, as it is weighs in somewhere around 4500 pounds. It also has a multi purpose, heavy duty, reinforced magna trailer hitch attached to the rear frame. Not a simple bumper hitch, No siree Bob. That Suburban and its accompanying hitch combine into a formidable obstacle, not to be moved easily.

All that being said to give you, the reader, something to picture in your mind while you read my rant. Why do some folks, driving behind my Suburban, find that they can somehow intimidate me into either going faster or moving off to the side of the road so they can pass by tailgating within two or three feet (or sometimes even closer) and making angry faces at me. And, most often in some sort of small car. There is, of course the occasional van or SUV but most often it is a small,car. What are they thinking? It is my practice to not allow their tailgating to alter my manner of driving or even to respond to the faces or gestures which they may wish to offer which appear to have the purpose of scaring me the heck out of their way. Not responding apparently makes them drive even closer to that rear hitch.

My pet peave stance is based upon the danger to them and the oppupants in my vehicle in the instance that I have to stand on my brake pedal in an unforseen emergency situation. In my opinion being so close leaves little, if any time for them to react. From time to time, just to give them the opportunity to realize just how unseafe a situation they are creating, I will tap my brake so the lights go on. I have found that there are finger gestures that follow accompanied by angry faces and mouthed phrases. Yet another pet peave. But I remain unintimidated sitting in the 4500 pound Suburban. I guess I'm just a jerk that way.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Happy life exercise

The airwaves are filled with stories regarding all sorts of people, particularly politicians, at least right now anyway, blathering about lacing the blame for some debacle and getting revenge. In my humble opinion, certainly is not a happy sight. My question is this: What has all this blame and revenge ever solved? Huge resources both financial and mental are being wasted. Blaming someone today does not change what happened yesterday. Spending time in meetings or courtrooms filled with angry people does not change what happened yesterday and drains money and other resources that actually could alter the consequences of what happened yesterday.

I am not saying that consequences for poor decisions or behavior, particularly when it comes to the health and well being of fellow human beings should be overlooked. On the contrary, when one in authority makes a decision they are totally responsible for what happens. Just like the decisions of a parent over a child. But be that as it may, in time all of that becomes clear over the course of time and the price will be paid. That's what I believe in this country with the freedom of information the way it is. In that case, what is to be gained by fighting a battle that is technically already won. Use that time and energy and all resources available to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Solving a problem that is endangering fellow human beings, with all available resources is the immediate priority.

What has that got to do with a happy life? Anger, revenge, wasting resources, unnecessary delay, all add up to misery. Now, getting things done, proper solutions, release of anger, and making maximum use of all finances to help our fellow man leaves one to be free and happy. It's your choice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Picking a winner. Not me, ever! Until yesyerday

When you look at the huge casino building and fancy trappings, you must keep in mind they were not built on the winnings of the players, it is the losses. I enjoy a casino from time to time but I am determined not to contribute much at all to them. You see, I am totally aware that I am unlucky at picking winners or gambling. It's just not in my make up to win. 50/50 charity benefit drawings? Never won. Church raffles? Never won. Limited ticket sale Cancer society drawings for a new car with a one out o a hundred odds of winning? Never won. State and territory lotteries. Never won. Football pools? Never won. Basketball brackets? Up until yesterday, never won. I really still have not competitively. I drew up a bracket and submitted it in friendly circles. That one went down the drain after the first week. I researched that one for months. So much for research when it comes to college players in this incredible annual tournament.  Then I filled out a bracket for my own use picking as many Catholic schools as possible. It went great except in the championship game I had Notre Dame playing Villanova with Villanova taking the win. So, there it is, as close to winning something as I ever have and it was totally playing against myself and in truth I almost lost that too. Right now, it is sweet, sweet victory for a born loser. Congratulations Villanova!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Enjoy the ride

Flying is not in my every day life. The last time I was in an airplane was in 1975. I don't intentionally avoid being in the air, it's just not a necessity for me as far as traveling is concerned. Mostly because when I go on a trip, the trip is part of the fun. This state of Michigan is beautiful and the rest of the United States is filled with amazing sights at every turn of the road and I don't want to miss a thing. The journey, in most cases, is just as important as the destination. Expressways offer a less intimate examination of the countryside but still has a lot to offer in my eyes at least. My folks worked hard all their lives and usually the work week was six or even seven days of manual labor. They made it all worth while with that Sunday afternoon drive to wherever the nose of the car took them. Being one of their kids was my utmost pleasure and introduction to daily adventure and enjoyment of literally anything in sight.

This morning, on the way in to work it was dark. What's to see in the dark? Lately it's those frisky rabbits for sure. Also, the lights playing off the rain soaked landscape, other vehicles and even te hood of my truck. A slim line of light indicating the approaching sunrise, albeit shrouded by rain clouds. A deer momentarily stopping as it is mesmerized by my headlights as I turn into the parking lot. And the skunk, lucky for me, scurrying off after visiting the neighbors trash bin.

It's the journey that takes the time. The arrival at the destination is ove in an instant. I may as well make the journey pleasant. Right? Besides, there is no Spring Break for me so I better make the best of what I've got. Its worked so far. Happy Spring Break to you!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring always comes

Every year in Michigan is guaranteed to have a few surprises. At least when it comes to the weather. That, my friends is a huge reason I remain in Michigan the entire year. Not much remains the same from one year to the next. Last year the pussy-willows in the park were growing through snow and I had to walk over ice covered paths to get to them. This year I had to take off my coat because I was perspiring so much and the only snow was in small, melting pies where the plow had pushed it. Not everyone's cup of tea but, to me anyway, well worth the wait.

Rabbits were everywhere this morning. One group was absolutely huge, 15 or 20 or even more. Frisky little things in Spring aren't they? Yet another annual Michigan surprise. Well, maybe not quite a surprise, maybe a simple Spring ritual of nature. And then, the increase of birds singing during my morning walks. I'm not as up on the different songs of species but that is not to say I don't appreciate the music. Especially as the sun is rising and the landscape begins to awaken in my sight. You know how they use music to set the stage for events in movies and TV shows? That's sort of what it's like during my walks. That is why I personally prefer mornings. That and the solitude makes it surreal sometimes. An excellent way to begin the day. although there are times when I have a friend with me and that is a treat what with discussion and laughter and all that, but then I don't hear the birds as much or pay that close attention to the increasing light.

This morning has become a surprise in itself because I had arrived early to speak with a car collector about his 1965 Mercury Comet Caliente and the options regarding polishing the factory original albeit very faded paint. One of my all time favorite cars. Unfortunately, he called and the car will not start this morning and he cancelled until another date. I have a block of unscheduled time to myself. What to do? What to do? .................A stack of procrastinated  paperwork on my desk will be tackled. That will open up some free time during the day to search for morel mushrooms. That is a gift. Always a surprise, just like Michigan weather.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The pursuit of happiness

My childhood lessons on how to pursue happiness:

Growing up with the parents I had was a pure blessing. I'm not saying it was easy or all roses. As a matter of fact, it was most likely the difficulties that brought sight to the blessings.

From as long as I can remember I was told that I could have anything I wanted in life. "As long as I was willing to pay the price."

My happiness was not in the hands of any other person. My happiness was my own choice.

It was not the responsibility of anyone else to provide me with anything I wanted.

Rest and recreation were the rewards of hard work, not an entitlement.

If I wanted to further my education I should remember just that: It is "My" education and I should pay for it.

If I allowed anyone else to do my work for me, by natural law I would expect to grow weaker.

Nurturing compassion for others was as natural as breathing but pity for them was selfish.

Loving someone is a forever thing. That does not mean you can be together forever.

Life brings pain, sorrow, heartbreak and other negative events, Do not allow them to defeat you, learn to deal with them. Put them behind you and keep moving forward.

Every day is a gift and not to be enjoyed at the expense of another.

Hard manual labor is equal in every way to any less menial pursuit.

I have done my best to pass that on to others.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writing letters

Some might say that I am old fashioned. I guess they would be correct. As I am very much the fashioned result of an old era gone by.

I write letters. I write letters often. I write long and short letters. I write letters of praise, letters of criticism, letters for all sorts of reasons to all sorts of people. Family, friends, politicians, government agencies, restaurants and auto repair shops. If I like the service I received, I want them to know it so they will continue that good service. If I did not receive good service, I want them to know it so they can correct the problem in the future. Letters of love and wisdom and praise and inquiry to friends and family to keep them ad myself in the loop and not overlooked or forgotten.

Why so many letters instead of a simple phone call or email or text? Because I find those things not to my liking most f the time. They are not bad things, I just don't want them to replace my standard of communication. A letter, to me is more personal and brings me closer to the recipient. Besides, these days of rushed and forced activity always seem to be in the way of a phone call. "Hi, I'm sorry but I'm doing something else and will call you back when it is convenient." A letter can be read at any one's convenience, over and over again if they so choose. Also, should I by chance offend someone they can crumble the letter and throw it as far as they wish without breaking the phone, right?

How many times does someone place a text or email into their "Box of memories"? To pull out a couple decades later to re-read and laugh or cry at the thoughts written there.

So there you have it in a nutshell. I write letters. They require time and thought and reasoning. But when all is said and done. I find it worth the effort. I have received personal return letters from Friends, family, mayors, governors, congressmen, and even two presidents. when was the last time I received a text or tweet or phone call from them? Well, actually a few times but I can save the letters a lot longer and maybe pass them to the grand kids some day.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Our new English language A matter of (dis)respect.

One of the nice things about blogging is that I get to go on about stuff and if you or anyone else doesn't like it, simply click and my ruminations are gone, kaput, off the screen. It is, of course, the same with any other part of social networking too. However, on such places as Face book and the like, the postings are sudden and take me by surprise. Occasionally it becomes unsettling, like the ridiculous bantering back and forth regarding political positions or candidates. I will not participate in that stuff. But then it comes to certain ways of verbal expression that has changed more and more of late, especially much to my surprise, among people of age. Apparently, class is no longer something to be desired. throughout my life there were certain words that belonged amongst a select group of acquaintances or on bathroom walls. More specifically, vulgarity. Yeah, I'm as guilty as many in telling of crude jokes or making a vulgar statement now and then but I've never been good at speaking vulgarity in groups, in front of women or children or generally in public at all.

)Wow! Sometimes I even surprise myself at how many words I use to make a point.)

Anyway, it appears certain rules of good taste, class or integrity no longer apply and those lines are blurred when posting on social sites. vulgarity is becoming more common by the day and seems to be accepted by parents and grandparents of their younger generations. I always believed that as a person of age it was my obligation to say when certain behaviour or speech was disturbing or inappropriate. Recently I have been told to mind my own business and to quit acting "holier than thou!" By the parent! The law against swearing in front of women and children was overturned in favor of free speech. Lately, I'm thinking certain free speech is disgusting.

Now I can understand why so many teachers complain about how disrespectful they are treated by parents.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Respect for senior wisdom

Oh my goodness! From what I read here, the last posting was on August 15th 2015 or there a bouts. It sure doesn't feel like that. However, what with all the happenngs I can certainly see where I lost track.

The second book in my annual series of children's stories "The Story of Klause And Gretchen" was edited, illustrated, completed, printed and put on sale between September and November. They are sold at Springrove Variety in Wyoming Michigan on 36th Street. Hundreds of copies were sold and the proceeds went to help Mary Free Bed Foundation., Santa Claus Girls, St. John Vianney Foundation and The American Cancer Society. Thanks to everyone who purchased a copy and helped so many deserving programs. Many more people also purchased copies of last years book: "All About Don." and those proceeds went to them too.

In October I received a complete knee replacement and aside for some inconvenience and discomfort it went very well indeed. Within 3 days of coming home I was off regular pain medication except for an occasion or three following physical therapy. I have taken not even an aspirin since 45 days following surgery. It is hard to imagine the pain of the previous 12 years is gone that quickly. Wonderful! I must say, my surgeon: Dr. Alosh of Spectrum Health and my physical therapist: Russ also of Spectrum were incredible in their skills and knowledge.

Which brings me to my subject of today. I just spent two hours interviewing a pair of applicants for a certain position of responsibility. The position requires insight and a sense of understanding of others on their level. Unfortunately, neither of them fits that criteria. In each interview I was bombarded with huge volumes of their knowledge and abilities of "making things happen!" for my business. They were not experienced in the services we offer but both assumed that there really was not much to know and they could master it in short order. I am a man of age, obviously and have been performig these services since the mid 1950's. It was explained to me that it was time that my (very successful) business should be brought to the next level with the emphasis on sales and up selling rather than the customer interviews we perform now. No where in either interview was I actually asked what my specific goals were. One of them put it this way: "You've spent a lifetime in the past. I'll bring this business into the future." Stated without ever asking me a question other than how much the position paid.

I may be thin skinned but I got the opinion that they figured I was too old and senile to know how to run my own business. Right or wrong with that assumption, I felt that I was seeing a major problem that I face more often than I like. Many young professionals do not have any respect for the wisdom that comes with age. But, maybe that's just me being who I am and remembering that I'd probably have been a lot less successful in business and in personal life if it had not been for those older folks sharing their wisdom with me.  I fully intend on returning to blogging a great deal more if you find my old guy words of interest.
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