Sunday, October 21, 2007

Making The Flight Seem Short

With my deepest apologies to Ginger, the Southwest flight attendant, for posting this so late, even the most usual and mundane occasions can be made interesting and meaningful by wonderful people. Take Ginger, for instance. The flight from Baltimore to Salt Lake City is about 5 hours east to west. It normally feels like a very long time. I'm reticent to complain about "long" flights since so many of my ancestors spent 90 - 120 days crossing the plains from Iowa to Utah in search of religious freedom and the hope of finding Zion. Certainly, 120 days would be a LONG FLIGHT, but what can I possibly say about 5 hours or even 6 or 7 hours if the flight is delayed or there are problems? Nothing! So to say that five hours seems "long" is at best relative and at worst whining. Anyway, on this particular occasion, Friday 12 October 2007, the length of the flight seemed shorter because of Ginger. Ginger is from Houston. Ginger always smiles. She spent 25 years on the Houston police force, retired and started a new career as a flight attendant on Southwest Airlines. When we first met she noticed I had brought along plenty to eat and I offered to share. She took my response as typical passenger small talk but eventually thankfully took half a ham and cheese on homemade wheat and then we began to talk. My curiosity revolved mostly around how she could have such a happy outlook after spending 25 years on a big-city police force encountering the worst the world has to give on a regular basis. Her response was simple and profound: "I believe most all people are good." She reinforced to me how our experiences are powerfully crafted by our own beliefs and expectations. I am certain that her experience with the same criminals as other officers encountered in Houston was completely different than most because she believed the person was inherently good. Now she smiles at passengers and wonders what other attendants are talking about when they complain about "nasty" passengers. They don't know what "nasty" is, but then, neither does she, I suppose, since to her, people are good. So she smiles. Thanks Ginger. Houston, and the world, are better places because of you. Rodger

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Although it never occurred to me 14 years ago when contemplating moving to central PA, it is fun to be only 3 hours away from New York City. I would simply never want to live there, but it is a very fun place to visit. On Friday, after completing the golf tournament, Emily and I piled into the car and drove to NYC to see a musical on Broadway. Emily loves singing and wants to be a Broadway star one day. At this time of year it's easy to get half-price tickets (which still aren't inexpensive-$56/per), but it makes it tolerable.
Right on Broadway and about 46th there is a large store with every conceivable cd and dvd in it. Emily likes to go there to look for "original cast" Broadway shows. On this day we bought "Legally Blonde" (the musical) and also an old time favorite movie, "Ferris Buehler's Day Off," which when combined with a ClearPlay filter is a very funny movie. Emily is fun to be with because her enthusiasm and exuberance for experiencing life are energizing.
Granted, NYC is a bit of a strange place. Here on Time Square some of the "strangest" assemble. The picture is of a "living" Statue of Liberty who, I suppose for a fee, allows you to pose with her for pictures. Emily wouldn't allow me to take a picture of "The Naked Cowgirl" who was right behind us, in fact, she wouldn't let me turn around and look at her. Just another great reason to hang out with Emily, my moral compass.
The show we saw was "Hairspray." Emily has the cd and knows all the words but had never seen the show. It was delightful. We bought tickets at the 1/2 price window TKTS. She said they were "partial view." They turned out to be a box, you know, up on the side wall, stage right about 5 rows back. We were practically on top of the stage and could see everything. Of course the couple from Japan who sat directly in front of us were very nice and moved just enough to allow me an unobstructed view. We got back home at about 2a, just as Jeanne was leaving for work at the hospital. What a life!

Golf: The Life Game

Perhaps 10-12 times per year I play in golf tournaments. I love to play golf. Golf is a game that can teach valuable life skills and points to the gospel in so many ways. So, even though I'm not very good (12 handicap) it is a joy to play and learn. We have a "team" at Cindy Rowe Auto Glass. I love these guys. Kelly Ditto is my son-in-law. He is competitive but fun, always making funny comments and keeping us loose. Kirk Reed is Director of Operations at Cindy Rowe, a fine man, committed to family, always appropriate and very comfortable to be with. Brian Clayton is the assistant Dir. of Ops. He is the best golfer among us. A good person. Humble. Prone to a bit of sarcasm and ribbing. Never crosses any "line." A good athlete. They are always fun to be around. There was a tournament on Friday the 4th of October, 2007, at a course called Manada, just off I-83 and Rt. 743. Emily had no school so she came along. She was a great help and lots of fun and helped us do well. although we finished 12 under par, it was not enough to win (we came in third). It was a beautiful fall morning. There was light fog, the temperature was in the low 70's and the greens were in good shape. Like life, golf is a game and a time to be enjoyed. The scenery is beautiful, the company is fantastic and the opportunity to achieve is abundant. Of course things happen that can be unexpected, frustrating, surprising, even stupid. But other things can be almost sublimely joyful. We started on seventeen. Kirk hit to 12 feet, above the hole. I sank the putt. We were off to a good start. Focusing on good is the key in golf and in life. On the "long putt" hole, I sank a 45 foot putt, from just inside the fringe. It would be difficult to have a putt any longer than that. Yet at the award ceremony, the $50 gift certificate was awarded to someone else. Turned out he thought it was a "closest to the pin" hole. No worry. It's all for fun. And for learning one more lesson - even when people are wrong, just smile and enjoy the moment and learn from it.