Hell of a Guy
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time. - Vince Lombardi

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scary Moments…


Last Friday I was in Dallas, Texas at the airport waiting to board an American Airlines flight.  At the very same moment my very sick wife was sitting at War Memorial Hospital here in Berkeley Springs awaiting the results of a C-Scan that would determine whether or not she might have to undergo surgery for a colon issue.  Both of us were pretty nervous.

I think the nothing brings out how much you truly love someone more than when that someone is hurting.  Here I was in Texas with the love of my life 1500 miles away and I couldn’t do anything to support her.  I knew I had but minutes before I was to get on the plane and take my seat.  In the meantime The Nancy was pacing at the hospital wishing the doctor would give her a report on the test she had just finished.  Nothing was working in our favor.  The minutes quickly evaporated.  The call to board the plane came and then the instructions to turn off all electronic devices.

It was painful to shut down my phone when the announcement was made to do so.  The flight time from Dallas to Baltimore was to be just under three hours.  Three hours of not knowing what the heck was happening to my best friend.  I immersed myself in the book I was reading, though my mind drifted to The Nancy more times than I could count.  Fortunately, surgery was not imminent, but she was admitted and spent three nights there.
She is home now; the diverticulitis is better but still present, as is her abdominal pain.  The Nancy was on a clear liquid diet while in the hospital and has graduated to just liquids – lots of cream-styled soups.  This may require a change in lifestyle for her and for me, but it is a small price to pay to have her feel better.  She is on the mend and that is all that matters.

Last night we both slept better, in fact, she slept so good she is still enjoying it.  It is after nine and she has not stirred, and I am not going to wake her.  I think she needs this.

This is The Best Day Ever, my Nancy is here.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Last Hoorah!...


I am currently sitting at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport awaiting to board American’s flight 1003 to Dallas.  The maybe The Best Day Ever, but it is offering some challenges.

I am on my way to my former company’s annual company meeting (formerly called a “sales meeting”).  My former boss has invited me so the company can give me a formal send-off even though I officially retired in November of 2011, or as a friend of mine termed his, “a go away party.”

The Nancy and I were slated to go to this together, but unfortunately she took ill yesterday and has had to bail on me.  I want to go, if for nothing else than to see all my friends for a final goodbye.  These people are my other family.  But I do wish Nancy could be here, I like to show her off.

I was to fly out of Dulles International on another American flight.  It was canceled, and I am very frnkly not surprised.  When I checked in on-line yesterday I noticed there were a very large number of seats to choose from.  This should have immediately brought up a red flag.  The reason for the cancellation was not explained and would not have had I asked, but inasmuch as there is no weather issues in either Dallas or the Washington, DC areas, I have to conjecture the cancelled flight was due to American Airlines not wishing to make an unprofitable flight.  I am due to attend a dinner at 6pm, and American thought it would be fine with me if I missed it so they could make money by putting me on a plane with more people filling their skimpy seats.

All is well, though, I can resume The Best Day Ever; I got a very nice lady within AA’s customer service department who got me on a flight out of BWI with just a minor inconvenience of having added forty miles to my drive (both ways).  So I am off to see Dallas and lots of old friends.  Life is good, though I have to wonder if I should be making this trip given the obstacles.

Aside from the inconvenience I know I will be able to settle down and enjoy my trip, especially after a few beers with my buds.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Monday, February 20, 2012

“Have a Magical Day”...


If I heard that phrase once during the two full days I spent at Disney’s Contemporary Hotel last week, I know I heard it a hundred times.  Well, maybe not a hundred, but most definitely a lot.  I think every Disney employee must be thoroughly trained to say this instead of “get the hell out of my face.”

I was there to represent my former company at a conference for school business people.  The guy who was supposed to attend was visiting family in the South Pacific, so my former boss ask me to work the three days on a “consulting basis,” which is a nice way of asking one to be paid as part-time employee with no benefits.  Nonetheless, I got paid for it, or will once the check arrives.

There really wasn’t a magical moment for me while I was there, except for the multitude of happy children I was blessed to see – girls dressed as Snow White, Cinderella, and even Minnie Mouse, and boys with their pirate hats and eye patches and other crazy head gear.  This is truly a magical place made for children as was evidenced on their little faces.  I did, however, witness a fair number of crying children, though the happy ones out-numbered them three or four to one.  The thought crossed my mind the many lakes Disney World is dotted with were filled with the tears shed by children that were just plain overly tired or heard that terrible tear causing word, No!  I bet it’s a fifty-fifty on that one.

This was my third trip to Disney and I can easily say I was impressed only on my first one that took place in 1978, but then it’s been so long I don’t remember a lot about that one, either.  The past two have been to conferences, the first of them just about two years ago.  As I said this last one was just two full days, so I did not get to see a lot other than the inside of the hotel - my room and the bar.  I was mildly impressed with my room, though it had two queen-size beds and not the king I had hoped to get, but then it was just for two nights.

The food at Disney, in my humble, non-meat eating opinion, ranks somewhere between “sucks” and just plain “ain’t too good.” I had two breakfast buffets at $25.29 each that were okay, and just ranked as so-so for the money – but I did not indulge in the meat products on it and maybe that is what made it worth be overpriced.  I had a vegetarian Cuban sandwich in the bar that was okay, except for the $10.00 price tag that made it so-so, as well.  The thing that got me most was the poor excuse I had of a “gourmet flat bread,” in other words a fancy name for a pizza so the restaurant can charge more and give you less.  The one I had was billed as a Four Cheese Flat Bread with sundried tomatoes and basil pesto for a mere $12.00 that was maybe 5”wide by 8” long.  I am not a food critic, but I do have taste buds and that flat bread did not titillate any one of them; it was pretty tasteless bordering on bland.  I don’t recall much of my first trip’s dining experiences, but the meals of the last two have left a bad taste in my mouth in more ways than one.

And then there was the beer.  $6.75 for a bottle of Budweiser that I would not drink if it were free, and a whopping $7:75 for a pint of draft beer…which I did have.  One of the hotel’s bars did offer Orlando Brewing Company’s Organic Pale Ale on tap and, while plainly over-priced, was quite drinkable and flavorful, so I had a few, but then again too few to mention.

I have no desire to return to Disney World any time soon or forever.  The only highlights I will enjoy remembering from this, hopefully my last visit there, are the faces on the kids as they skipped their way to the Magic Kingdom and the three hour, thirteen-mile walk I took around the hotel and grounds before collapsing in a chair in my room just prior to the conference activities on Friday that required my presence. The absolute best part of my Disney trip was boarding Southwest flight 1934 and heading home to West Virginia and The Farm.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Thursday, February 09, 2012

One More Trip Around the Sun…


In the song “One More Trip Around the Sun” Jimmy Buffet sings,

“No, you never see it coming,  Always wind up wondering where it went,  Only time will tell if it was time well spent.  It’s another revelation, celebrating what I should have done, with these souvenirs of my trip around the sun.  Yes, I’ll make a resolution, that I’ll never make another one, just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun, just enjoy this ride ... Until it’s done.”

Today I get to celebrate having made another trip around the sun.  What a wonderfully clever way to describe one more year passed.  I was not familiar with this song, but thanks to my fine brother-in-law in Tampa, Florida, I now am.

One more trip around the sun.  That is exactly what I needed today to put this birthday in prospective.  Earlier I read a long list of Birthday Wishes on Facebook.  Many were simply put – Happy Birthday and Wishes for the Happiest of Birthdays, but then there were those I didn’t expect.  Accolades?  I just am not good with accolades. 

I think of myself as a simple guy with simple tastes, just happy to be who I am but also comfortable with whom I am.  I learned a long time ago that it isn’t about me, it just is, and as I read some of the nice things people had to say, I have to admit I choked up a bit.

David Viscott said, “The purpose of life is to discover your gift.  The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” 

I personally have never needed accolades, and as much as I am embarrassed to receive them, I must also admit I like them.  But rather then get them I really enjoy giving them.  As a manager I loved to get recognition for my people, as a father I love to see my children get it, and as a husband, nothing makes me prouder than to hear good things said about my wife.

I am not too sure I ever have or ever will discover my gift; I take pride in having given of myself to others.  My goal as a parent, in my marriage and in my working and social lives has been to make a difference in the lives of others.  I pray this is something I have accomplished.

As I begin my 69th year on the planet I can honestly say it has been a wonderful ride.  One, as I have said many times, I would start over from the very beginning and live each and every moment again without changing a thing – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Now I think just going to sit back and enjoy the rest of this day to the fullest because, for sure, this is The Best Day Ever and the perfect day to begin one more trip around the sun.

And that is all I have to say about that…

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