What-Ifs and a Smile

Finally, it’s Friday, the end of a long week on the road. I’m at the airport in New Orleans, heading for Chicago.

As I walk the loading ramp, I glance out a window facing toward the tail of the plane and see what appears to be a dent in the plane’s fuselage. I do a quick stop, look again to be sure, then keep walking.

The flight attendant checks my ticket, and I find my seat, stuff my duffle into the overhead compartment, and sit, my brain flashing back to what I’d seen minutes earlier.

What if it really is … Read the rest “What-Ifs and a Smile”

The Enduring Wheelbarrow

We had always tried to instill in both our kids the habit of carefully considering the “old and proven” before rushing into the “new and improved.”

I wasn’t surprised when one afternoon I saw our son pushing up our driveway an old wheelbarrow he’d found a couple of blocks away. He’d struggled to free it from a curbside pile of junk destined for the landfill.

Its rough appearance bore evidence of a hard and already lengthy life, most likely in the hands of a building contractor—the rolled over lip of the heavy steel bed dented in places, the bed covered … Read the rest “The Enduring Wheelbarrow”

Creating Common Ground

No matter your age or who or what you are or do, what you are about to read could make a critical difference in your success.

About a hundred members of a national association of journalists serving a particular industry were having their three-day annual meeting. I accepted their invitation to be a presenter during two sessions.

Being there was an enjoyable experience. Although I was pleased by how well I’d performed, I had a feeling I could’ve done better.

At the close, everyone completed an evaluation form for rating every aspect of the meeting. As I reviewed the results … Read the rest “Creating Common Ground”

Help From Sherlock Holmes

If you’ve read any accounts of how Sherlock Holmes solved crime cases, you know he didn’t rely heavily on the technology available to him at the time. Instead, he trusted his uncanny ability to use his imagination to establish patterns and relationships.

One of the best examples of that is Silver Blaze, one of Holmes’s more well known cases described in Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, Memories of Sherlock Holmes. In it, Holmes and Watson, his assistant, are investigating an incident in which a man was killed. Holmes picked up on the fact that because the inspector lacked imagination, he … Read the rest “Help From Sherlock Holmes”

A New Year with a Memorable Beginning

It was mid-afternoon on New Year’s Eve. The four of us aboard our chartered cruiser were heading eastward along the northern coast of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

We soon arrived at Cane Garden Bay, our destination for this special night. We breathed easier as we left behind the choppy ocean. About five hundred feet from the beach, we stopped, dropped the anchor, and turned off the engines.

All too soon, it seemed, the sun dropped below the horizon. As daylight dimmed, I felt as if I were surrounded by the best of the world. On three sides of … Read the rest “A New Year with a Memorable Beginning”

Connecting with Philip Hyde

We always hear about the power of connections, the effect they can have on both our professional and personal lives. Not only does travel do much to make new connections, it also reminds us of old ones that still serve us well.

So there I was at the Dinosaur National Monument visitor center in northwestern Colorado. I was slowly walking through the gift shop when my eyes locked on a book describing the events that led up to the building of Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah. The dam is on the Green River that flows eastward into Colorado and through … Read the rest “Connecting with Philip Hyde”

The Sky Isn’t the Limit

During my corporate days I belonged to an association of writers specializing in one field of subject matter. Two of my fellow employees belonged to a similar association in the same profession. It was scheduled to have its annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona, at about the same time I was scheduled to be in southern Arizona on a trip. So I agreed when my colleagues asked me if I would attend to represent both them and our organization.

When the time came, I went to the hotel where the meeting was being held and signed in at the registration table. … Read the rest “The Sky Isn’t the Limit”

The Big Fire

One evening in mid-town Manhattan, a professional photographer in his third-floor apartment was hunched over a light table editing some pictures. A fire truck went by with siren blaring. Because sirens are usual in New York, he barely noticed. Within two minutes, however, another raced by his window, then a third, and a fourth.

Each time, he noticed the sirens didn’t drift away but, instead, stopped suddenly a few seconds after they had passed. Instinctively, he grabbed his jacket and camera, stuffed film into his pockets, and took to the stairway two steps at a time. Once on the sidewalk, … Read the rest “The Big Fire”

Night War

It was happening again. I’m deep in sleep when the words begin coming into my brain from somewhere, an account, a news story, with names, places, and events. Yet, I later find no evidence that any of it is true. Even more puzzling, nothing seems to have caused it.

Eventually, it wakes me up, yet the words keep coming. Not until they stop do I get up and write what’s been revealed:

Colonel Frank Young, a U.S. Air Force officer stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, had just picked up his staff vehicle from the repair depot. He was driving through the … Read the rest “Night War”

The Art of Piddling

Yes, my friends, today we talk about piddling. First, though, we must settle a couple of issues.

Namely, Webster has it all wrong in saying to piddle is to “waste time and dawdle” and that piddling is “trifling and negligible.” To the contrary, piddling is a valuable component in today’s living mix. That brings up the second issue.

We are on a treadmill and the techies keep increasing the speed — go fast, set alarms, cut corners, expedite, increase efficiency, accelerate, streamline, cram it in, toss it out, make a new to-do list, do it faster, run, shove, push, do … Read the rest “The Art of Piddling”