When irony occurs, It’s both amazing and amusing. I’ve received several benefits and insights from that missed haircut last week. Go figure. Mistakes have a way of providing those things.
First, Kris, the stylist, was gracious about my no-show. How does he do it? I’m not sure if I could be as forgiving. This a good lesson. Second, someone’s cancellation provided an opening for me and while there, I found my black scarf I’d left last time. Third, my no-show last week inspired me to adopt an appointment keeping system.
PROCLAMATION: It is hereby noted that said turquoise 2020 planner will accompany me wherever I go.
How’s it going with the planner proclamation? Here’s how. The muses of time think my idea is a joke.
They’re laughing at me, “You know, Bobbe, your planner concept sounds logical, but it’s merely like a fart in a windstorm. You made a little noise, but it’s possibly already lost and forgotten.”
This became my reality as I exited the car for my makeup haircut. I held my wallet and planner. The wind blew that planner right out of my hands.The pages stood straight up from wind gusts. It slid down the sidewalk like a flat rock, skipping happily upon the water surface. There I was, chasing and being teased by my planner. Every time I reached it, poof! It took off again. And again. What a mean trick.
Clearly, becoming aware of a habitneeding attention is the first step. Then you really have to step on it. Eventually, I was able to step on it. More accurately, I stomped on it. There is now a huge boot-print stamped upon the month of January. Hopefully, the boot will kick me in the tush, every time I have an appointment this month. And I’ve got a bunch of them.
People driving by probably found paper chasing activity fairly typical of windy day activities. They wouldn’t know the pure irony of me chasing the planner.There I was, literally and figuratively chasing my appointments.
What habit are you needing to improve in 2020? And willing to share?
Once you speak it, it becomes real. And that’s a pretty big deal.
I considered some New Year’s resolutions. Then I thought, “That’s stupid. Just make better habits.” That’s all resolutions are: better habits.
Here’s my Happy New Year habit proclamation to all seven people reading this post:
“I will be punctual for appointments. If not on time, I shall be early!”
Simple. Everything’s written in my planner, iPhone, iPad and on the fridge. Do we have tools out our wazoos or what?
And yet, January 3rd, three days into 2020, I missed my 7:00 a.m haircut. Not late for it. I missed it completely.
First you wonder, “Why would anyone pick seven o’clock a.m.?”
The first appointment means no waiting. This time doesn’t conflict with other commitments. It’s the best slot.
Second, I love my hairapy. (Hair + therapy). If you are a good fit with your stylist, you know what I’m talking about. Every four weeks Kris cuts. We talk about stuff. What I’ve been doing. What he’s been doing. Travel stuff. Life stuff.
Also, short hair needs regular cuts. If stretched further, you’ll have wonky spots (i.e. basic bedhead or hat hair). Not pretty.
In December, I stuck the appointment card in my backpack-card-keeper. I wrote it in my planner. That should have taken care of it.
I should’ve done a lot of things. I should’ve typed it into my work calendar, which pops up with daily. I should’ve written it on the refrigerator calendar. I should’ve stuck the card on the door with a magnet like usual. I should’ve, but I didn’t.
And as I’ve said it before, “SHOULD IS A DUMB WORD!”
I found the card and realized I hadn’t read my planner the night before.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I said. (Plus a really bad word.)
I beat myself up all weekend for being inconsiderate.
Kris will say, “It’s okay.”
But it’s not okay. I feel rude and irresponsible. Most importantly, when appointments are disappointments -meaning a no-show- the business loses money. Time is money. Believe it or not, someone else may have wanted that 7:00 a.m. And I disappointed. Like pearly white teeth, with a front tooth missing. That was me. Being late or a no-show makes me feel disrespectful. It shows how little I must care about someone else’s time. But it’s really not that. It’s not. It’s more like being Busy Bobbe. Too many things in too many directions. Kris should charge me anyway.
So I’m proclaiming it for all to read, “New habit. Right here. Right now.”
We can have 100 excuses about why we‘re late or why we disappointed. None of them carry weight, other than laying on an ER gurney or searching for a lost child, parent or dog. Aside from those, they’re just excuses.
The bottom line is: it’s about somebody else’s time. And that’s a pretty big deal.
We’ve been hearing this phrase a lot lately. It’s a handy one. It can tolerate any pronoun:
That’s on me.
That’s on you.
That’s on us.
That’s on them.
I think this phrase be used a lot or a little. It depends. If we’re taking ownership in something we’ve done that doesn’t turn out particularly well. Well, that’s on me. I need to own it.
Before slinging this phrase around, perhaps the best idea is to turn the phrase into a question “That’s on who?”(For you grammar gurus, I suppose it’s more correct to say, “That’s on whom?” Whichever, it is and right now, I’m getting confused about the wrong thing, so let’s move on, shall we?)
If someone is trying to throw blame on you for something, they might say, “That’s on you!”If it’s true, then it’s going to hit right where it hurts. Why? Because truth is hard. Truth can hurt. But the truth is the truth is the truth. And that’s the truth. Or as our Nick would’ve said it as a little kid, without front teeth, “That’s the troof!” And that’s okay. We need to hear a little more troof!
The problem with hearing the troof is that we become so damn defensive. It’s a natural response.If we don’t go down the defensive road, I know that for myself, I will just crumble into a puddle of woe. Woe goes like this:
“I’m so stupid. I’m such a loser. I should’ve known better.” Yeah, let’s be self-defeating. That’s so much more fun! This is because someone has just validated what I’ve known all along. And the troof can feel like crap. So, be careful before you sling around “That’s on you.”
However, if we’re to correct our actions and become better humans, then it’s important to know what troof feels like. I think I really like using this version (troof), because it makes me laugh. And maybe we all need to do that a little bit more when it’s on us. Bw
Recently, Jenna, my daughter-in-law, and I popped into Pappion Artistry, a petite New Orlean’s area gallery. The artist, Christina Pappion brings New Orleans culture to life through whimsical painting. She accents certain pieces with gold flecks that makes them fancy. Christina greeted us. We browsed and read publicity pieces hung on walls and easels around the shop. In addition to painting on coasters and canvas, she paints on football cleats. Not just any old stinky, muddy cleats, New Orleans Saints’ cleats.
Nosy (me) leaned into her studio. While she painted, I asked about the cleats. “It’s a weird canvas, but I researched and figured it out.” She literally creates masterpieces on cleats. Pappion learns the foundation/cause each player supports and incorporates the theme onto the boot (e.g. Brandon Coleman (Alzheimer’s Association) and The Mark Ingram Foundation (Children of Incarcerated Parents).
The Saints wear these decorated cleats during one designated game a season, they named “Cleats for a Cause.”The cleats are auctioned afterwards to raise (a lot of) money for the respective organizations. It’s the ONLY game Saints are allowed to deviate from their standard uniforms.
Naturally, we asked about Drew Brees’ cleats. Not surprisingly, he commissions his own artist but, and this is a BIG but, Drew’s wife, Brittany, contacted Christina, after seeing her “Streetcar” at a fundraiser. She was disappointed she didn’t bid enough to buy it. She had Christina paint another streetcar painting and asked her to paint Drew into the picture for a Christmas gift. (See Drew at the end of this article.)
Christina assumed delivery would be an exchange at McDonald’s parking lot or somewhere neutral, but it was delivered to the Brees’ home.While balancing a baby on her hip, Brittany wrote the check. She then asked Christina to help her hide it. They ran around the house, then up to the second floor to explore potential hiding places. Holy baldy! Christina was running through Drew Brees’ house!
Many years since, Brees’ has commissioned Christina to paint streetcars, incorporating their growing family. One year, she requested the extended family of thirty be featured. “Thirty people! All I had to go on were family photos, texted photos or social media. I didn’t even know how tall people were, in comparison to Drew, so I painted him seated!” Somehow, she managed to nail it.
Pappion shared other victories with us, but also failures, such as rubber boots (i.e. Hunter brand) on which she painted for $200 for a Kentucky Derby dignitary. “These boots were stunning!Until the woman stepped into the rain and onto the race track (not to race, but to pose for photos, haha). The design got wet and slipped right off those boots! All that remained of the $200 artwork was colorful mud. I was mortified.”UGH.
“I cried for two weeks after that disaster. I was sure I’d never work again. But the drippy boot buyer was gracious and commissioned me for further work. I couldn’t believe it!”
Another low point was a large painting for Mrs. Benson, widow of Saints’ owner Tom Benson. First attempt: botched and tossed aside. Take two: flopperino. The third time was NOT the charm. “I could not deliver, but Mrs. Benson’s secretary insisted it would be fine. It was a mess, but she insisted. Amazingly Mrs. Benson LOVED my mess and wrote me a big, BIG, HUGE check. I showed my family the check while dancing around chanting, “We’re going to Disney World!” My kids joined in the dance. And we went. Best trip ever!
My family thinks I’m a busy-body, talking to random people like this. In fact, I’m pretty sure they roll there eyes out loud at me a lot, as in, “Oh noooooooo, there she goes again. We’ll never get out of here!” I can’t help it. People are interesting. Talk to them. Ask about them. Learn about them. You never know what treasures you can discover. In honor of meeting an artist phenom, I purchased four coasters, representing the four major food groups we consumed during my stay at Nick and Jenna’s in Louisiana: shrimp, oyster, lobster and red fish.
Recently, Sam Horn, Intrigue Agency, wrote about being Bolder in Boulder. She was entered into a 10K walk and almost let self-doubt demolish her plans. She asked us readers if we were being bold on our own behalf. I replied and she suggested sharing my reply, as others might relate. The last twenty-four hours have been a cacophony of “Should I or shouldn’t I? Be bold or bashful?” Aha! I was practicing the exact self-doubt demolition to my idea. Would readers think I was a nutcase or normal? Asking for affirmations and compliments? My people will always think I am a bit of a nutcase, only because of my trudging through a number of human struggles. Oh, right, like everyone else. In that spirit, here is my attempt to be bold today. Read it, reap it or recycle it. It’s simply my offering.
My body image brain has two heads. On one hand, I am the wellness program coordinator for our company. It pushes me to participate to the fullest as an example, if I’m leading the program. I would probably workout with or without the program; always have. I am proud of the fact that as one of the oldest employees at 62 and 11/12 , I’m in decent shape, energy-wise, fitness-wise. Last Thursday, I wore a pair of slacks to work, or rather, they wore me. I felt fat around the waist all day. I started doing that thing I do in my head.
“You don’t work out hard enough.”
“You don’t work out often enough.”
“You finally let yourself go. Great.”
“You’re getting the middle-aged spread.” I have felt that I delayed the onset (like it’s a disease) until 63.”
And so it went for a few days. I was so angry and disappointed in myself, that no matter how much effort I would throw at my waist, it would never be enough. You see, I’m a recovering enoughaholic. Yes, I suffer from Enoughaholism. I’m considering writing this idea for a book title, but would enough people want to read it? There I go again.
Saturday morning, I signed up for Pound Class with my daughter. I was forced to stand in front of the mirrored wall of truth. However, during the forty-five minute class, some switch flipped. I was actually able to look at myself objectively. This is not an easy thing for PLU (People like us) to do. Somehow the wellness demon decided to ease up. Perhaps she had seen me berate myself enough the last two days. I assessed myself from head to toe. I didn’t hate what I was seeing, as much as expected. First, were my shoulders. One time a physical therapist described them to his co-worker as, “Well developed.” I liked hearing that. My upper body workouts were actually having a positive effect. Who knew? Next, were arms. There was a little jiggle underneath them, but overall, the biceps actually had definition. Moving south, the waist and tummy were next. Ehhhhhhh, they’re not HORRIBLE. Passable, I suppose. “However,” I reminded myself, “Remember, Young Lady, you’re wearing LOTS of Lycra.” Oh, for heavens sake, who let in Bobbe, the Body Bubble Burster? The self-sabotager. Finally, I looked at my legs; they aren’t twigs by any means, but they’re strong and they still work. Good grief, listen to me!
After class, I glanced once more in the mirror as we walked out. I’m used to being the oldest in most classes. It’s obvious, I’m not as lithe and flowing as younger specimens, but, by golly, I’m there. I’m okay for turning 63 in six days. Yes, I could work out harder. And more often. Push, push, push. Does it ever end? Or are we working ourselves out to death, literally and figuratively?
Choices I make are just that: choices. Live with them or make different choices. Ease up and give a little gratitude to the physical abilities I have and start bursting those bubbles that say, along with my rationale,
“Not strong enough,”
There will always be someone stronger.
“Not coordinated enough”,
There will always be someone more coordinated.
“Not thin enough”,
There will always be genetics that dictate body type.
“Not flexible enough”,
There are always ways to improve flexibility.
“Not smart enough”,
There will always be someone smarter. Hello genetics.
“Not pretty enough,”
There will always be someone prettier. By whose standards?
“Not rich enough,”
How much is enough?
“Not popular enough.”
There will always be the high school mentally.
”Not successful enough.”
There will always be someone with more drive, better timing, more bravery.
Sound familiar? Any of it? If yes, then let the mantra be,
“Enough OF enough.”
“Enough IS enough!“
I’d love you to PM me if you struggle with Enoughaholism too. Or am I the only one? Be bold. Be brave. I just was and it wasn’t that bad. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves. bw
RECAP: the three wise monkeys. Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil. Yes, I know you read about this months ago, but stress is one of those concepts everyone understands differently. We know stress is the devil incarnate to our bodies, our relationships, our work and our brains. So why can’t we get a grip on it? Great question. We all need applicable tools.
What I know is this:
Stress feels different to each of us. If you hadn’t read this previously, I arrived at a cockamamie (I’ve never used that word, but I kind of like it.) acronym, to pull together about ten (okay, twelve) ideas that I have employed this year. To give you a visual, there is now the fourth monkey. “Stress No Evil” is the name. Busting stress is the game. Imagine the three monkeys, doing what they do and then Stress No evil is doing yoga. Make sense?
Here’s a rundown, if you’re still battling stress now and then.
S ilence. Yesterday I drove to work, lunch errands and home in quiet. Nice.
T oxic people. Surrounding myself with others who bring me up.
R est. Stayed up late last weekend. Next day was awful. Can’t do it anymore.
E xercise. Do what I can. It could always be more. It’s good for what ails me.
S ocial. Hung at a bar with Friday AND Saturday. (I know!) Great friends/music.
S olo. I’ve attended 3 Broadway shows this year. Alone. I’m over feeling weird.
N o. This week I had an opportunity to lie, but I went with honest and said, “No.”
O utdoors. How is it out there? BIG! And springy. And calming. Get some sky!
E xplore. Okay, I took this one to the limit, read below*.
V ulnerable. Toughest one: put yourself out there and being open to wounds**.
I nhale. As in, b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Meditate-ommmmmm-whatever, just stand still.
L evity. Well, you know how I feel about fun and funny…
**Being vulnerable can be physical or emotional wounding. Physically, it can be an attack. This read leans more to the emotional, (i.e. Being open to criticism and hurt feelings.) Even bad-ass personas have vulnerability. Example: I used to think Jeff didn’t have feelings, so when I’d get frustrated with him, (which was more than once!) I’d spout things that wouldn’t phase him. I found out 41 YEARS later, my words hurt. Even him. Everyone’s vulnerable. Don’t think otherwise. Bad on me. And I’m sorry, kind of late.
On a brighter note, here’s my 2018 exploration experiment:
January: sensory session. Gong, drums and scents, oh my!
February: drum circle at a nursing home. Where everyone felt like Ringo!
March: Chicago cooking class with Jeff. Call me the “Crepe Queen”. Oh yeah.
April: Soul drawing session: five hours of meditation and paint. What appeared abstract was amazingly, correctly interpreted about my picture, by ten others. Incredible.
Shout out if you’ve tried any of the above tools lately!
It’s recommended that we find our “third place” to write, do taxes, work, read, pay bills, think, study, sketch, paint, workout or meditate. I tried a Third Place on Sunday.
What and where is your third place?
It’s not home, or work.
It is a neutral, mostly distraction-free zone. Think: coffee shops, parks, libraries, gyms and beaches.
Third place-why? First and second places tempt us with many diversions, such as:
An instant burning desire to wash, dry, and fold every last article, which includes ironing Jeff’s Jockey’s or sockies.
Without hesitation, you’re outside the house or down the office hall chatting with neighbors and co-workers, whom you’ve ignored for years.
-Eating: Before starting, you need a little snack, which turns into a full out pantry and floor sweep for crumbs, expired spices and old food in the fridge. Sure, the kitchen sparkles after this effort, but you haven’t done one intended thing yet.
Home closets, credenza drawers or under your work desk are favorite diversionist destinations. A simple pen search evolves into sorting envelopes, medications and paperclips. There’s something safe about diving deep into closets, drawers and other dark spaces.
Why are these activities appealing distractions? Google it. I’ve decided to term it: “Ostriching”.
A flightless swift running and the largest living African bird with long neck, long legs and two toes per foot.
Myth: ostriches bury their heads in sand to avoid predators.
Fact: they would die from asphyxiation.
Fact: When nesting, they dig shallow holes to bury their eggs. From afar, ostriches appear to be burying their small heads, when they’re simply tending their eggs.
Human ostriches (i.e. procrastinators):
People who refuse to face reality or accept facts, such as finite time. While ostriches are actually engaging in functional activity in their nests, humans, on the other hand, creatively try to avoid the intended task by burying their heads into places like closets, washers and refrigerators.
Our third place isolates us from distractions and enables us to stay on task.
Starbucks was my third place Sunday morning. I sat in the corner with my ear buds inserted and thought, “I don’t know anyone here!” Which was shocking. Then, a man, whom I scarcely knew, approached me while chatting, but I couldn’t hear him, of course.
I decided I had to give him the finger or he’d stay all morning. Mom always gave me the finger too. The “Wait-one-second-I’m-in-the-middle-of-something-on-which-the-survival-of-the-human-species-depends” finger. To further indicate my intention to stay on task, my eyes remained on my paper; ear buds stayed inserted. I felt (a little) bad being rude, but these types of people are easily encouraged and hard to disband.
What I learned
If you want your time uninterrupted, you must be willing to protect it.
When I happen upon someone who’s obviously busy, I will resist the urge to engage him or her in mindless chatter. Unless my pants are on fire. bw
Were you a customer in our bank October 31? If so, please come back. You saw us at our worst. We wore hideous housecoats, slippers, pajamas, curlers and facial masks. We looked awful. Photo shopping couldn’t help this bunch. You be the judge.
It didn’t start out fun for me. While waiting on our breakfast pizza order, it made sense to hit Wal-Mart. I entered in cheetah slippers with red pompons and anticipation. Maybe dressed as “Come as you are” could give a clerk, customer or cashier a giggle. I mean, at 8:00 a.m., the clientele represents a lot of PLU (people like us). You know, normalcy. At 10:00 p.m.? Not so much.
It seemed obvious that I was in costume. Didn’t it? Can I tell you I did not get one glance or second look? Not even one. In the hair aisle, a regular lady shopped near me. She looked at my curlers as I snagged hairnets. I smiled playfully, as if to say, “Can you believe people really buy these?” She smiled sympathetically, thinking, “Can you believe people go out in public like her?” I don’t think it occurred to her that I was in costume. Next, I went for trick-or-treaters’ candy. Two clerks furiously stacked shelves, tossed bags and boxes around and over me, never stopping to admire my costume. It was disappointing like the last aisle. I decided my costume would continue to underwhelm the cashier and customers, so I avoided them and self-checked my purchases.
In the car, I put on the hairnet and drove to Casey’s. There was an immediate reaction upon entering. YES! Then again, one of the clerks knew me. NUTS. Things improved at work, seeing as about 95% of the staff was costumed, department-by-department. Staff and customers alike were amazed and amused at how we could get so ugly, so easily. (I think we surprised ourselves as well.) We didn’t win best costume, but did get one vote. On the other hand, we were champions of comfort. Now I know why schools have pajama day. It is the BEST.
It’s difficult to express the joy of seeing co-workers walk into work, looking more hideous than the previous person. In banking, where we’re typically well groomed and dressed appropriately, we broke every rule. Some days the rules are meant to be broken. Post-Halloween, it’s business as usual, but the leftover fun, laughter and morale boost carried over. We’re now hearing how much better we look, from those who’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.
Fortunately, with flexible workplace management, kids don’t have the corner on costuming. I don’t know how we’ll top this costume next year, but I’m sure we’ll give it a go. All I know is when you’ve been incredibly ugly, any little improvement is noticeable. Everyone should get ugly occasionally, because you feel so attractive the following day. Hope your Halloween was overwhelming! bw. (Thought you’d like one more look at us…)
To a teacher, the month of August is like a month of Sunday nights. Suzy Duker
Goodbye July. Hello School. If there’s ever a memory trigger, going back to school is a powerful one. My vivid memory is first day of kindergarten at Madison School. My outfit has quick recall. Imagine a red and white checked tablecloth. Picture it in gold and white, made into a dress. Over top of the dress was a tent, with ties on either side. In fashion terms, it’s called a pinafore apron. Think, “Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie Style.” My bangs had been severely cut to five inches above my eyes. Before bed, Mom snapped on pink curlers on every side. This meant I slept on my face, because curlers and pillows never co-exist. Bobby socks and saddle shoes completed the ensemble. Go ahead; say it, “Precious.”
Hand-in-hand, Mom trotted me up the school steps, then down the stairs. Something wasn’t right. The kindergarten I knew was upstairs. It was the morning class; the downstairs classroom was afternoon class. We were a morning type of family. This would never work. We scanned the class list outside the room. If a kindergartener can recognize two words, it’s his or her name. There it was: “Robert Schecter.” Mom said, “Let’s go in.” I burst into a sob, “BUT SHE THINKS I’M A BOY!” I wouldn’t go. There’s a reason my nick-name through high school was “Stump.” Even for a five-year-old, I had strong legs. I locked my quads and poured weight into my heels. They held fast. Mom couldn’t drag this bull-dog across the threshold. I resembled a Vietnam War protest sign, “HELL NO, I WON’T GO!” The teacher coaxed me, but saw the resistance through my tears. Mom finally said, “I’m afraid there’s been an irreparable mistake. Morning session was much more workable with our schedule.” “(AND YOU THINK I’M A BOY, YOU WITCH!)” I wanted to add. Mom explained the problem to Mr. McKinley. Everyone in the principal’s office stared at me, like I was a monster. I must’ve had a look of defiance, “Nobody puts Bobbe in the corner.” It worked out that I could be switched to Miss Kuhlo’s morning class. I knew she’d know I was a girl. And I schooled happily ever after.
Don’t think for a minute that this was the last time I was called a boy. In every college class roll call, the instructor scanned the room for a guy. I became used to it; even amused by it. Tears bubbled up no longer, nor did I ever switch classes for mistaken gender. Sometimes you just have to stand up for what you are until you are heard. Perhaps in all of that confusion was a great lesson, because I’ve done this my entire life. Who knew my first school lesson would be the most impressionable?
Another piece was written yesterday, but I got busy and forgot to send the accompanying photo. I finally remembered, but it was after we’d gotten the call, Jeff’s dad had died. It didn’t seem fitting to post my typical, “Silly day or thought in the life of Bobbe” post. Instead, it’s preempted by a tribute to my father-in-law, Jim White.
It’s kind of unusual when the parents of the guy you start dating are already friends with your own parents. Our dads golfed together on men’s day; our moms teed it up together on Ladies’ day. They ate dinners together and occasionally traveled together. A few times the guys even fished together. For about twenty years, our parents were even neighbors. Our kids grew up assuming everyone’s grandparents were buds as they ran back and forth between homes. It was great skipping one of those horribly awkward “Meet the Fockers” events.
I had the privilege of working for Jim at State Street Bank for nearly twenty years, until he retired. Believe me when I say, “He played fair, but he never played favorites.” His decisions weren’t always popular, but they were respected. I haven’t met many people who didn’t like him, but I’ll bet they respected him. He didn’t manage. He coached. He rarely complimented the individual performance. He always recognized a good team effort. Rest never lasted very long; he’d raise the bar a notch for the next project.
The best lesson from Jim was a tough one at first. As we brainstormed ideas for State Street Bank’s 100th anniversary (1990), he kept suggesting an antique car show on. That was about the dumbest idea I’d heard yet. Me plan a car show? So it was set. We were sponsoring an antique car show, the centerpiece of our anniversary events. My anxiety kicked into gear. I felt paralyzed with fear of how to execute. I remember telling my co-worker and sister-in-law, Laurie, that I just can’t do this anniversary thing. Too much pressure. “Tell him you can’t do it.”
In my head, I knew it was unacceptable to not try. Jim grew up understanding you can do anything if you’re willing to work hard to learn. What I learned about antique cars and their events was throttling. (Oh, good pun!) Who knew car spaces were wider than our lot’s painted stripes? No door dings at our event! Who knew there was a difference between antiques and repurposed? Who knew this was a strong, thriving culture, drawing car enthusiasts from miles away? I learned that when you can’t do something, you get an expert’s help. You learn from them. It came off without a hitch (Ha-ha – another good pun, no?) I was one proud cookie, as the “Best of Show” trophy was awarded. Jim was right. The event was a gas. (A gas!! Queue: knee slap) People loved it. I loved it.
On the family front, Jim taught Jeff many life skills. This is mainly because if you got in trouble at home, your punishment was working with Dad. It usually involved early risings and long days. Suffice it to say that of all the six kids, Jeff is the one who learned woodworking, automotive, electrical, farming and metal polishing the best. Metal polishing? Yep, one time, punishment put Jeff inside the safe deposit vault, polishing hundreds of little doors made with brass hardware. I chuckle every time I escort a customer in or out with their safe box.
Whenever I entered the White house, Jim would greet you, “And what did you accomplish today Bobbe?” I would try to recite every task and he would answer, “Okay.” My accomplishments never seemed adequate. He always said, “Okay.” I began to wonder if I told him that I’d cleaned the Taj Mahal, swam the English Channel and climbed Mt. Everest, his answer would still be, “Okay.” It angered me because I always felt like I’d disappointed him. His son, Jeff, had married a star slacker. One day, I walked in behind my brother-in-law. Jim asked Kent, “What did you accomplish today?” Kent said, “Not a damn thing, Jim.” He answered, “Okay.” What? Okay? Hmmmm…”Okay” is simply his answer. His reply. His conversation starter. He wasn’t measuring. I felt like a dummy.
Until that day, when it wasn’t obvious to me that Jim was simply responding with a word, not a judgment. Oddly enough, that question remains in my head, to make sure I accomplish something every day. And even when you don’t accomplish anything, it can still be okay. (But probably not very often.) We’ll miss you Mr. White, Jim, Dad, Grandpa, and Great-grandpa. Thanks for teaching us we can, even when we can’t. Best lesson ever. Rest well. Hit ’em straight. Hook a monster. Take that bird. Give Keith a hug for us. James E. White (5.5.28 – 7.13.17)