Log entry no. 139:  A Little Street Theater in Cermer, “Hey Little Girl”

It was Thanksgiving Eve a few decades ago.  The family was “out” partying heavily and by 2 AM my brother-in-law, known to the kids as “Uncle Dirt” (UD) and I were the last left at the Swirl Inn Bar.  UD is to meet his sister Zee at the Greyhound Bus “station”, arriving from Baltimore, at nearby Cremer, Pa. at 7 AM so she can join the family for the day’s festivities. UD and I fashion a plan at the bar to enhance Zee’s arrival experience in Cermer… it is, without a doubt, a masterpiece plan, that even today the resulting event on that cold Thanksgiving morning, remains a historic event in family folklore.

Zees Street personSome salient points: (1) Cermer is a tiny town, maybe 15 blocks square if that. (2) It was a snowy, frosty morning, maybe 20 degrees. (3) The Greyhound bus terminal was an old, classic house of sorts, on the main street, closed that holiday morning. So when the bus deposited Zee at 7 AM Thanksgiving morning, the tiny town was dead, no cars, no people, and Zee’s waiting area was outside, on the front porch. (4) Zee was and remains a spaz of sorts and was scared to death of Baltimore Street People. So much so she once admitted she would cross the street to avoid walking near one on the way to work.

UD and I leave the Swirl Inn Bar, well oiled, at 3 AM or so, Thanksgiving morning. We went to my dad’s house and gathered up an old stained raincoat, galoshes, dirty work khaki pants, and a scarf that looked so bad Goodwill wouldn’t take I; also a walking cane, a rag-bag, and an old filthy Fedora type hat.  I put it all on… the outfit was a perfect recreation of a Baltimore Street Person. With that, at about 5 AM, UD and I head to Cermer, about 10 miles away, to await the arrival of the Greyhound, and Zee.

Zees grey hound busUD dropped me off in my outfit, behind the Cermer YMCA, across the street and adjacent to the Greyhound bus station.  He positioned the van a block away where he had a clear view of the scene.  And in rolls the bus at 7 AM.  Zee de-buses, walks up the steps of the old house to wait on the porch for UD to arrive. Cermer is a ghost town.

I step out from behind the YMCA in my outfit and make my way across the street, now in Zee’s line of sight.  I am bent over, moving slowly, limping, with cane, in filthy clothes, the Fedora concealing most of my face.  Zee is watching. She thinks its street person!  Yes!  As I get closer to the house, UD pulls the van up directly across the street, Zee starts down the porch steps, crosses the sidewalk, watching me. I’m getting closer now.  Later she would reveal that she was sure she could “take me” if anything “funny” started. Zee starts to cross the street, with a travel bag in each hand, looking at me. She reaches mid-street, halfway to UD and the van, Zee in Cermerand I start after her yelling, “Hey Little Girl, Hey Little Girl”.  She throws both bags up in the air and races toward the UD’s van.  UD is in the driver’s seat, bent over howling, and is only able to snap one photo, the one in this post. Zee dives into the van, I run up, identify me, she is beyond pissed.

The story was fully recounted at the Thanksgiving dinner table, the family in hysterics; Zee, not so much.

If you encountered Zee today, decades later, and spoke the phrase, “Hey Little Girl, Hey Little Girl”, she would have a very special message for you, most likely beginning with F and ending with U!

***** S&E *****

One of most difficult leadership jobs

Parenting !

One of most difficult leadership jobs in the world is raising and guiding your kids.  And it is a job that spans all borders, all countries, all families.  It is like being a CEO, so many complexities, but you can’t resign.  Here are some of the parenting essentials, as this blog looks back.  There are books, but there are no books. There are so many influences, so much to do, so many challenges… here is a partial list:Family Leadership

  • Peer group pressures
  • Giving them enough space (trust)
  • Providing guidance
  • Knowing when to “step in”
  • Accountability without pressure
  • Instilling values
  • Leading by example
  • Taking the time
  • Direction — considering their abilities
  • Keeping them involved and busy
  • Communications, communications, communications
  • Being open to feedback
  • Caring for the family unit
  • Having fun
  • Maintaining their respect
  • Discipline with understanding

So much more… so challenging… so difficult.

***** S&E *****

 

Amazon Leadership

There are many great examples of leadership. I do look for those as it is a nice break from just posting my own experiences and observations.

This example, dated November 14, 2018, comes from a LinkedIn article by George Anders, San Francisco Bay Area, LinkedIn, Little, Brown and Company.Amazon

Amazon set a standard in recruiting and turned the job over to employees whose actions, behavior, and performance mirrored the culture of the company. It is not that it is the best way, but it is hard to argue with a titan as successful as Amazon.

Here is the article: Amazon

***** S&E *****

All the great advantages of being a leader

  • Build great career paths for employees
  • Provided training and development supporting career paths
  • Assist in removing barriers to successful employee performanceLaozi on leadership
  • Design meaningful and challenging work assignments
  • Sponsor laterals and promotions when employees are ready
  • Provide recognition for small and large accomplishments
  • Use of influence to place round pegs in round holes
  • Lead by example: values, integrity, work ethic
  • Show them that humor is important

Being a great leader – it is like the famous quote from the teacher turned astronaut, Christa McAuliffe who was killed in a space launch, “I touch the future, I teach”.

Great leaders are teachers! They do touch the future.

What greater contribution can you make to those who work for you than to help mold successful futures!

***** S&E *****

Humming Along    

This is a different kind of success, but a success nevertheless.  And some distance from the intent of this page, “Success”.  However, here it is…

I’m about as far from a “birder” as you can be, birder being one who studies birds.  But…

A Humming Bird (HB) flew into the garage.  It happens infrequently and not always HB’s.  Normally I use fishing net to capture the bird and release it outside.  The HB was too small so it always flew out of the holes in the netting.humming bird artr

This went on for hours, I was pissed and the HB exhausted.  It eventually landed on top of a container located near the garage ceiling, resting, or in torpor as it is called.  With the help of a ladder I was able to pick it off the container with my hand.

So, go to the web for instructions – put it in a small box (used a motorcycle battery box), let it rest, feed it sugar-water, and when it’s recovered turn it loose.  I fed it through a straw, from 8 to 11pm, on and off, it eventually did respond, enthusiastically drinking from the straw. Very cool!  I called it a night putting a bottle cap of sugar-water in the box, hoping it would be alive in the morning.  They can die in four hours if not fed due to their high rate of metabolism.

At 7 am it was very much awake, sitting on the edge of the bottle cap.  I placed the box in a hedge row out back, opened the lid fully and off it went.

Very interesting birds –When hummingbirds migrate to the United States in the springtime, they cover 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, flying for 20 hours without stopping.  In preparation for migration, a hummingbird will store half its body weight worth of fat.  Hummingbirds migrate alone and not in flocks.  Very commonly the males migrate first followed by the females.

http://hummingbirds.ucdavis.edu/hummingbird_information/interesting_facts.cfm

***** S&E *****

Log Entry No. 121: “Hooter’s Cruiser”

Hooter spent gobs of money, time, and effort in the spring, converting a used panel van into his dream camper with many special features and accommodations. He lived in the northeast, his area famous for its nasty winters featuring cold, ice, and snow.  Accompanying those elements were the many tons of road sand and salt just waiting to ruin your car or in Hooter’s case his newly restored camper.

Hooter 2Hooter’s answer to the DOT’s concerted effort to slowly rot his dream machine was to store it away for the winter.  His answer to an alternative source of transportation was an early, old 1960’s boat of a car for which he paid close to nothing, as I recall a few hundred bucks. It only had to last until spring.  An honest description of the car would be to describe it as a rust bucket, featuring peeling paint, many dents, banged up wheel covers… one owner away from the junk yard, just plain ugly.

Unlike his van, he had little respect for his winter “Beater” as he called it.  He used the back seat as a garbage area for all sorts of waste to include rags, empty cans, fast food garbage and empty automobile oil containers. The Beater had a never-ending, insatiable appetite for motor oil, much of which went up in black smog, a byproduct of engine operation, exiting into the atmosphere from the car’s exhaust pipe.  Hooter always carried spare quarts of oil (and beer) in the back seat.

It was a chilly weekday night that turned into bar hopping ending late, maybe 1:30 am.  Hooter was dropped off at his apartment by his two friends, actually relatives.  They watched him ascend the outside steps to his second floor apartment.  His Beater was parked just outside.  After some discussion they decided the paint was so bad on the car it needed touched up, that night, before dawn, prior to 6:30 am when Hooter had to leave for work.

It was a mad rush to round-up a sufficient number of used spray paint aerosol cans to do the job.  Color was not a concern.

By 2:30 am the perps were hard at work on Hooters car, skillfully applying various colors to most of the painted surfaces on the Beater.  There had to be some special effects, so stars were painted on the hub caps (it was an old car, still had hub caps).  The exterior mirrors were addressed, as was the roof.

Hooter 1 The trunk lid rolled down, offering a huge flat area which faced onlookers or drivers with a view of the rear of the car.  So, to match the stars on the hub caps, the boys painted “State Police” across the rear of the trunk, trimming it up with two more stars on each side of State Police. Perfect!

The boys moved back a block to watch Hooter’s reaction at 6:15 am, his departure time for work.

Hooter, feeling not so good from the night before, opened his apartment door, and on the way down the steps had the pleasure of a full view of his police cruiser. The boys witnessed an indescribable dance and were sure Hooter wove a tapestry of words never featured in the English language.

I suppose the icing on the cake as it’s called, was that he had to drive his new (to him) cruiser more than 15 miles to work, much of the distance being a state highway.

It is one of those log entries that never goes away, still alive in Hooter’s family.

***** S&E *****

When is it all going to change!

For all too long now it has been all about the parties. Who will control the house, who will control the senate, conservatives, liberals, and not about the country.

It is internationally embarrassing, irresponsible, petty, corrupt, controlled by special interests, and just plain disgusting.  It is about power, about raising money to achieve it, and then holding onto it once you’ve gotten it.

The change we need — leadership: integrity, honesty, issue focused, a government the represents the people, not political parties and financial contributors.

The situation might be corrected when:

  • It is illegal for special interests groups and lobbyists to fund / contribute to campaigns
  • Term-limits apply to all elected congressional representatives and senators
  • Washington DC officials have the same health care plan and other benefits as any citizen
  • The federal budget is managed like citizens manage their household budget
  • Intense scrutiny of money that is sent, donated, given away to other countries
  • A positive (versus adversarial) focus on building an international economy and trade
  • Smaller government

The dilemma is that the very people who “benefit” from the corruption, who have put themselves first, instead of their country, are the very people who have to change it.

How, when, is it all going to change? And, who will change it?

The most abused phrase used in Washington, DC is “in the best interest of my constituents”.

***** S&E *****