One Lucky SOB

Yesterday, I met a man wearing a baseball cap which proudly proclaimed him to be a World War Two veteran. I didn’t bother to introduce myself I just asked him in my usual obnoxious manner, “so you are a WWII vet, what are you a hundred years old?” Without flinching or getting upset with me he answered, I’m ninety-four, and I want to live to be 104.” Then he began his history. “I joined the Army Air Corps in 1944 which later became the Air Force. I wore a brown uniform when I joined and a blue one when I left.”

As we spoke I learned that he was invited to attend his first OASIS meeting for visually impaired people By Lion Doc Taylor, his eye doctor. I asked him what problem caused his blindness, he rattled off a condition which I have never heard of before. That is not unusual, since I have become a volunteer member of this group the one thing I have learned is that there is no end to the number of reasons one can lose his sight. The one commonality among blind people is the need for social contact, and support. You don’t stop living when you go blind, but your life changes dramatically, and you find yourself living in a world of darkness.

As we continued to talk, the Vet began asking me questions, number one was “did you serve?”

“No, I didn’t, I was born during WWII, I was too young to be a part of the Korean conflict, and too old for the Vietnam debacle. After that I was too old for all the other world disagreements we were involved in. My brother, on the other hand was drafted during Korea, but wound up serving in Germany. My second wife’s husband was in a medical line waiting to board a ship to go to Korea, when some genius dentist mis-read his chart and pulled his teeth out. He served out his term in Germany also.

“So do you volunteer?” he probed, “I have learned that people of your age volunteer and hate to be recognized for it.”

“Yes,” I replied.

His ride was leaving so we ended the conversation. I might see him again next month.

Very often I thank God for giving me the good fortune to not have to serve in the military. Instead, I tell myself that He wants me to serve in different ways. I try to do that, and all my life I have volunteered for duty that I felt was in the interest of betterment to the community.

My first dutiful stint began in high school where I served in a number of clubs that provided service to the school.

My second term of duty began when I joined the Boy Scouts of America as a leader. I always told my kids that I served the organization to provide them with civic responsibility experiences, and as a secondary matter I helped their friends to have the same. My tenure lasted for twenty-five years.

During the eighties my personal goal was to teach the world about the value of conservation by joining the Folks On Spokes Bicycle Club to show example by using an alternate form of transportation that didn’t pollute nor consume natural resources. During my twenty years in the club I served a term as president.

Simultaneous to the bike club I became president of the Prestwick Garden Guild and led my neighborhood in many educational and beautification projects for the betterment of the community.

My current term of duty is as a Lion with the Frankfort Lions Club. My plan is to die a Lion.

So even though I am a lucky SOB for never having spent a minute of service in the military, I feel I have served as much, if not more, in service to the community to offset.


My Flag Flies Everyday

A passion of mine is watching young people develop into true citizens. Nothing makes me prouder than to hear about, or watch the escapades of my seven grandchildren as they grow. My deceased wife Barbara and I spent well over twenty-five years in the Scouting movement. She in the Girls Scouts, and I with the Boys Scouts. When I watched this video it brought tears of joy to my eyes. Teenager’s who have a grasp on life and express themselves so eloquently fill me with pride. It matters, what we do when we raise our kids. Every action, every comment we make imprints into their sub-conscious. As parents we must be careful of our actions and words in the presence of our young. As a grandparent my outspokenness is often heard by my grandchildren, and it will come back to haunt at a later time. I watch my kids cringe when I say things, or use politically incorrect words in front of the grandchildren.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Kirk a high school senior who founded an organization called “Turning Point USA.” His message is much like the one in the video below. Now, a new group called “im2morro”  co-founded by teen Audrea Taylor have  joined to do something about securing their future. I recommend you visit their websites and learn more about them. They are the future of America.

Gray-haired Man Freezes His Keester Off

It was a plan conceived to save an old man’s body from the suffering in low temperatures. It failed. Yesterday, I spent the morning hours begging for money to feed those in need. The plan called for a milder time today. deliberately, I signed up for  afternoon hours thinking the temperature would be milder. It wasn’t. Granted the temps were up from those in the morning, but they were lower this afternoon than they were yesterday in the morning. The result is that this gray-haired old man froze his keester off while begging.

The citizens of Frankfort were most appreciative and contributed generously. My fellow Lion, Tony, who has cerebral palsy and who has been a Lion for over thirty years, showed me up big time. He sat in his wheelchair bundled in his heaviest winter clothes and wrapped in blankets while begging. His bucket is always twice as heavy as any one else’s.

The manager from Jewel came out and told me to come in and to warm up, to have a complimentary cup of coffee, and to not bear the cold. I bravely told her it was better to freeze and look pathetic, people will give more willingly. Is that dumb or what?

My mind wandered as the cold penetrated my layers. This time it only took a few minutes to reach my joints, where yesterday it took an hour before I reached a point where my shoulders ached.

What a wimp I have become, I thought, remembering times past. Why just thirty-something years ago I went on a weekend campout with the Boy Scouts in below zero weather. Here I am standing within a few feet of a building in twenty-six degrees complaining about how cold I am. What a wimp those years have made me. Then, I looked across the front of Jewel to the second entrance and saw Tony patiently sitting in his wheel chair without a whimper. Yes, I am a wimp.

I remembered when I led my Boy Scout Troop 1776 to the Klondike Derby campout in Yorkville in January. The daytime temp was never above zero degrees, and the night-time temp dipped towards minus twenty. Amazingly, not a single scout or leader got frost bite or hypothermia. The crème de la crème came in the morning when the event ended and we all rushed to break camp and get the hell out of there. Not a single car started, and the leaders were all stuck starting frozen cars until four-thirty in the afternoon. That was not in the plan. We were smart enough to call home and have parents come to rescue their boys, but we were all stuck until the last car started and we all got out safely.

Yes! Thirty-plus years have turned me into a wimp. Where the hell is all this Global Warming stuff when you need it?

Leadership is an Art-form

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

Leadership is an art-form. It takes substantial training, disposition, and intelligence to become a leader. What I am witnessing in the new administration is a lack of real leadership.  My own  tenure in leadership lasted forty two years. I have led projects and departments of many people throughout my career, I understand what it takes to lead. In addition to my professional career, I spent twenty five years as a volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America organization as a Cub Master, Scout Master, District Training Chairman, and more. What I see in our Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is an inability to put a handle on what it takes to run his department. The job is huge, yet he refuses to appoint anyone to assist him. A good leader is only as good as his smartest people. If he was really wise, he’d find people who could do the job better than him.  I can recommend Eagle Scouts who could lead circles around him. 

POTUS could also benefit from the experience of  private enterprise business leaders. He obviously is not getting it. He must not be hearing what business leaders tell him . If he is listening, he refuses to agree it is “Change He Can Believe  In.”  I truly think he will only listen to advisers who push his socialist program.