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Our Loans to Repay…

Happy Memorial Day in advance everyone!

Next Monday is an occasion to celebrate America – our America – our nation of great opportunity and great diversity, yes?  Even though our country and our cultures are addressing many difficulties, Monday is a day to celebrate our blessings and our future possibilities.

On any other day, it’s easy to get mired in everything that seems to be wrong with America.  What concerns you the most? Politics?  The economy?  Health care?  World peace?   Airport security lines?  Lots of opportunities for worry, fear, frustration, and anger, I suppose.

Conservation of our Earth for future generations is another difficulty – and periodic hotbed of debate.  Nothing new about this however; it is a topic dating back to our country’s original landlords:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children. 

Native American proverb

Do you believe we’re experiencing (and contributing to) global warming?  If we are, what can each of us individually do about it?  Will our children feel the same way about lending us their Earth as we do about inheriting our Social Security trust fund?  (Not much “trust” in the use of that trust fund is there?)

But Monday is a holiday and a time for celebration not worries; for national pride not fear; for appreciation not anger.  Monday, we Americans can celebrate the interesting, diverse, and humorous lifestyle others have enriched us with as noted by our favorite, Unknown Sage:

Only in America…

can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America…

are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

Only in America…

do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America…

do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America…

do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to  the counters.

Only in America…

do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America…

do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America…

do we use the word “politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning  “bloodsucking creatures.”

Only in America…

do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Yes, only in America.  And in America, Memorial Day is a day to celebrate our country and the men and women of our armed forces who have preserved a country where cultures of diversity come together unlike any other place on Earth.  It’s a time to salute our service men and women; present and past; who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our optimism and way of life.

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. 

Reginald B. Mansell

We all benefit today from those who overcame difficulties before us.  But what are we making of our opportunities?  And what opportunities (and difficulties) will we leave for our future generations?

Monday, let’s be optimistic and enjoy the holiday.  Then we’ll go back to work Tuesday – working to overcome our difficulties; working to leverage our opportunities; working to preserve our way of life for future generations; working to pay back the loan on our planet Earth to our children.

GAP

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“That guy”, still…

Posted May 3 2018 by in True North with 0 Comments

I was chatting about my recent little ditty with a friend of mine who never knew “that guy” (see http://thequoteguys.com/2018/04/that-guy-again/ ).

The real me would rather be a hermit.  With today’s headlines I doubt I’m alone in that yearning.  But life is meant to be lived among others; so here I am – living and working with the villagers.  It’s not easy.

Dr. Travis Bradberry wrote this about people like me.  Maybe you can relate:

Nine Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

Sensitive people get a bad rap. Highly sensitive people’s strong emotions are easier to identify (and potentially use to their benefit) than the average person. This also helps them to communicate effectively because they don’t just hear the words coming out of other people’s mouths, but they also catch on to subtleties in gesture and tone.

The Highly Sensitive Person:

  1. You think deeply. When life throws you a curveball, you retreat deep into your shell, thinking through every aspect of what transpired before taking any action. Small things (in your own life and other people’s lives) can have a big impact on you.
  2. You’re detail-oriented. You’re as sensitive to details as you are to feelings. You see details that others miss, and you aren’t content until you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s. This is a strength that is highly valuable in the right profession.
  3. You take longer to reach decisions. Since you’re prone to dig deep beneath the surface, you tend to drag out decisions. You can’t help but try to run every possible outcome through your head, and this is often at the expense of the ticking clock.
  4. You’re crushed by bad decisions. When you finally make a decision, and it turns out to be a poor choice, you take it much harder than most. This can create a vicious cycle that slows down your decision-making process even more, as fear of making a bad decision is part of what slows you down in the first place.
  5. You’re emotionally reactive. When left to your own devices, you have a knee-jerk reaction to your feelings. You also have strong reactions to what other people are going through. When your emotions come on strong, it’s easy to let them hijack your behavior.
  6. You take criticism harshly. Your strong feelings and intense emotional reactions can make criticism hard to take. Though you may overreact to criticism initially, you also have the tendency to think hard about things and explore them deeply. This exploration of criticism can play out well for you in the long run, as your inability to “shrug it off” helps you make the appropriate changes.
  7. You work well in teams. Your unique ability to take other people’s feelings into account, weigh different aspects of multifaceted decisions, and pay attention to the smaller details makes you extremely valuable in a team environment.
  8. You have great manners. Your heightened awareness of the emotions of other people makes you highly conscientious. You pay close attention to how your behavior affects other people and have the good manners to show for it. You also get particularly irked when other people are rude.
  9. Open offices drive you crazy. Your sensitivity to other people, loud noises, and other stimuli makes it practically impossible for you to work effectively in an open-office environment. You’re better off in a cube or working from home.

It’s that fifth one that I constantly work to overcome.  You?

GAP

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April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Nineteen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, can bring to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become all too common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for too many young people.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today.

Tell them today that you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Today, help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us. 

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton, Colorado – We are all Columbine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Seqhcq23M 

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today – and every day!

GAP

Good fortune…

Posted Mar 1 2018 by in True North with 0 Comments

February is my birth month. That means I will pause for a moment and reflect on the past twelve months. I will speculate on what the next twelve will bring, to be sure. But I need to do more than mere speculating. I must set a course for success. Good fortune does not appear by happenstance, true?

So far, I have finished my Annual Achievement Plan – yea! I have also submitted our documentation to the CPA who will finalize our income tax returns – yuck! I suppose if our financial situation is involved enough to merit a CPA’s expertise, that’s a good thing. Until I receive his invoice that is.

Speaking of good fortune… I’m looking forward to the upcoming year. It’s another year offering me the opportunity to get better. Lord knows I certainly have plenty to get better on. This year’s birthday can be the juncture between backwards and forwards:

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

Looking backwards it is important to recognize my failures; understand what went wrong. On the other hand, I want to celebrate my accomplishments too. Like many people, regretfully I still gravitate to focusing more on my shortcomings than my successes. Gurus would say, “Live life with no regrets” – but I think that only works for gurus.

So if part of life’s fulfillment is facing and recovering from failures, then I am leading a very fulfilling life indeed LoL! Today, as I seek to understand my past year in preparing for this next year, I’ll try to heed John Charles Salak:

Failures are divided into two classes – those who thought and never did, and those who did and ever thought.

What do you think? Which class of failure is worse? I’m guilty of both. But that’s OK; this next year affords me the opportunity to learn from the past; to improve; to be better; to accomplish more; and hopefully, to fail less. How about you?

When we pause to think about it, one of the keys to good fortune has to do with our daily routine. A “big splash” or two might occur during the year. But for most of us it’s all of those little things; all of the details; all that we do (or choose not to do) day in and day out; that builds towards our annual outcome:

Some wins and some losses are big and unavoidable, but most of life is won or lost at the margin.

Harry S. Campbell

Setting up my daily routine to win “in the margins”, that’s an important lesson to apply to my upcoming year. And if God blesses me with peace of mind and a few “big wins”, I will be grateful. But I’m not counting on Divine Intervention to make my way. As has been said, we will reap what we sow. While remembering past failures, I am sowing this year’s successes.

Thankfully, I’m still ready, able, and willing to work for my harvest:

Luck is not chance, it’s toil. Fortune’s expensive smile is earned.

Emily Dickinson

So here’s to good fortune this next year on earth – for you; for me; for our families; and our friends. And as we stumble into failures seen and unseen, let those not deter us from fulfilling our full potential.

Then come the following year, we can repeat the process; building a lifetime worthy of remembering – of celebrating – of having won in the margins.

Good fortune everyone – let’s go to work!

GAP

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Horse people…

I like being around horse people.  They have commitment!  For that matter, I like being around farmers, ranchers, and western folk.  I like their foundation of values – God, country, family.  I like their work ethic; centered on kids, crops, and critters vs. board rooms, bank accounts, and bling.

Since moving to Colorado, my wife has become a horse person; and my younger son, his wife, and my granddaughter, too.  After growing up in suburban Chicago, I now live with a whole different “herd”.  And these horse people are committed!

My husband said if I don’t sell my horses, he will leave me.  Some days I miss him.

Unknown Sage

In January, I enjoyed being around western folk and horse people almost the entire month as I worked evenings and weekends with my wife’s company at the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo.  She is the unofficial embroiderer for the National Western Event Center equestrian events.  She embroidered 83 champion coats over a 16 day stretch:

One of my favorite events involved the draft horse teams.  Talk about commitment!  On surface, the audience sees the power and beauty of these teams that campaign throughout the United States.  They certainly exemplify western values as written about in James P. Owen’s book, Cowboy Ethics©:

Ride for the brand.

Those in the know understand what it takes below the surface for these folks to run such campaigns.  The time commitment alone necessary to prepare to compete in a venue such as the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is indescribable.  Not to mention the small fortune required to enter the event.

When you look at this picture of 14, 6-horse teams (84 tons of horse!) I figure you’re looking at a financial investment of $8,029,000!

$105,000 for tack (42 sets of harness, hitches and reins x $2,500 per set; 3 pairs per team – 2 horses as the wheel team; 2 horses as the swing team; and 2 as the lead team, all with special fitting, matching tack); 14 show wagons with trailer @ $25,000 each = $350,000; 14 pick-up trucks to haul the show wagon trailers @ $70,000 each = $980,000; 14 tractor-trailers to haul the 84 draft horses @ $110,000 each = $1,554,000; and 84 show draft horses @ $60,000 each average public auction price = $5,040,000.

Not counting the cost to hay these horses (50 pounds of hay per horse per day x 84 horses x $5 per pound x 365 days = $7,665,000); and grain them (50 pounds of grain per day…); or to shoe them … or to vet them … or the fuel for the vehicles to haul them … or… or… or…

The $2,500 prize money for the 1st place team (along with a couple of “Champion” jackets provided by NWSS and embroidered by my wife) clearly is not the reason why these western folk compete, true?

While many were watching the NFL playoffs on TV (and perhaps remembering the controversy NFL players started by kneeling during the National Anthem); these teamsters were filling water troughs; grooming their horses; polishing their tack and wagons; mucking manure out of stalls.  They all know one another and enjoy visiting with fellow competitors; sharing stories.  While caring for their critters, they eat their meals in the barn; and prepare for their next event.

And at the start of each and every day, everyone stands and “removes cover” for the singing of our National Anthem.  Yep – I really like being around horse people!

GAP

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Memorable…

Posted Jan 24 2018 by in True North with 1 Comment

What do you remember about 2017?  Or for that matter, 2016 or even 2015?  You know … it wasn’t very long ago.  What stands out?

Living in the moment is one thing; but pausing our daily grind to remember why we’re grinding every day to begin with is important as well, true?  Do you have to consult Facebook or your cell phone photo gallery to remind you?  Are today’s machines going beyond dominating our daily routine and now replacing our memories also?

If we’re not careful, our fast-paced life can become a blur.  Guilt can surface when we’ve missed time with our family because of our job.  If we don’t pay attention, our failures, short comings, and tragedies can consume our memory.

Here’s an item (and a picture) I’m adding to my 2018 plan reminding me to lighten up – courtesy of Guy R. Ratti:

I carry a picture of myself as a child (about six years old) to remind me of two things: 

To remember to always look at the world as a child does, with wonder and excitement of what I can become.

To remember to forgive and love myself just as I would that innocent child in the picture. 

Too many grown-ups live their lives feeling guilty over mistakes made or lose time blaming themselves for things that could have been.  I remember what it is like to be a child and know that in many ways I am not much different from that boy in the picture.

Our approach to remembering things can vary by age group, too.  The young have their whole future unfolding in front of them.  Looking back is less common because looking ahead is a wonderful opportunity to imagine what can be; what will be.  The old are in a different state and we often look back.  Here’s Jan Carroll’s observation:

The young are luckier:  They don’t need to remember what the rest of us are trying to forget.

Will we commit to memory all of the wonderful things that happen in our lives; every accomplishment; every enjoyment; our family; our friendships; all of the good things that surround us in 2018?

OK, but what about the “other stuff”?  Yes, we all have to face the constant drum beat of negative impressions often courtesy of our modern media where negativity; mud-slinging; and shock seem to be their stock and trade.   It’s true that we have to face it; and when it’s real, we have to deal with it.

We have to deal with it when it’s labeled “fake news” as well, but we don’t have to commit those images to memory:

A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness. 

Elbert Hubbard

There is a limit to everything that one can remember over the course of our lifetime.  Starting in 2018 let’s commit to remembering the good things in our lives and leave the “other stuff” to the machines.   Google can call up that “other stuff” as necessary.

We can also count on those that have better memories for counting stuff than we do:

Creditors have better memories than debtors. 

Benjamin Franklin

We don’t have to constantly stress out over our credit card balances; student loans; and mortgages.  Others are doing that counting and they are more than happy to remind us.

So, let’s make 2018 memorable for all of the right reasons.  Go ahead and share your childhood pictures everyone.  I bet they are memorable!

GAP

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Common enemies…

Posted Dec 6 2017 by in True North with 2 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “How will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today, tomorrow, and every day.  Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day.

On December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good – Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annals of bloody combat, or even the bloody headlines of 2017, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary and the word “Post-truth”:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Their definition continues:

‘It’s not surprising that (this word in 2016) reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  With the difficult events that have occurred almost daily throughout 2017, we certainly hope so.

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world.  The 2017 Houston Astros won the first World Series for a city that earlier in the year was devastated by Mother Nature.  Were the events related?  Only God would know.

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs continuously crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple rose to dominate personal, technology devices and the way we all consume entertainment and information today.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights.

“ADVERSITY”:

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. 

Horace

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the wounded; the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done. 

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  What lessons have we learned?  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December in the face of our many common enemies?

In every community, there is work to be done.  And in our hearts, we all have the power to do it!

GAP

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Exceptions…

I have been leading in a major training initiative for my company’s re-sellers this year.  We are making significant changes and we’d like our partners to adopt these changes in their approach, too.  That way the customer has a consistent experience across all of our channels.

Seems logical, doesn’t it?  Yet, with but a few exceptions the majority of our partners offer resistance during the training sessions.  They cite all sorts of exceptions (real and imagined) that suggest our new methods aren’t as good as their existing methods.  Sometimes they even suggest that our new methods flat-out, won’t work.

It reminds me of my Father-In-Law.  He was a carpenter and a true “master mechanic with the tools” (as they say in the trades).  In the 1960s and 1970s he trimmed million dollar mansions in suburban Chicago when million dollar mansions were rare.

When my wife and I bought our starter house in 1978, we had a whole list of home improvement and remodeling ideas.  Champagne taste; beer money (as they also say in the trades).  It was natural to turn to Dad for a little help.

My wife would show him what she was thinking for remodeling the kitchen; building a deck with a clubhouse for the kids; changes to the living room; bathrooms, too; the list went on.  And his initial response invariably was, “That won’t work”.  We heard the phrase “that won’t work” so frequently that we carry his legacy in our life to this day.

You see, when he said, “That won’t work” he didn’t mean it couldn’t be done.  What he meant was it actually could be done, but he would have to do it differently than the way the idea was initially laid out.  He did remodel our kitchen, living room and bathrooms.  We did have a deck and a clubhouse.  The clubhouse was built so well that we relocated it to our next backyard when we moved up from our starter house.

Fast forward to my training classes this year.  Every time a partner says “That won’t work” and cites an exception that doesn’t fit with our new and improved engagement model, it triggers old behaviors.  My knee-jerk reaction is to engage; to argue; to discredit the cited exception as some fantasy.  Then, after I regain my composure I remember my Father-In-Law.  I smile and think that’s what they said but that’s not what they meant.  At least I hope so.

I understand exceptions, I think.  I agree with Malcolm Forbes:

There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be the exception to the rule. 

And I’m no exception – just ask my wife when she says we need to remodel thus and so.  I give it the old, “That won’t work” try.  Then we smile and realize my will power will wilt in the face of her vision.

The opinions expressed by the husband do not reflect the views of the management of this household. 

Unknown Sage 

We all deal with exceptions throughout our day; at work; at home; in the community.  I believe our views about exceptions are grounded on our individual perspectives:

Nothing makes me more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. 

Franklin P. Adams

So this year I’ve been trying.  I’ve been learning how to address exceptions.  I’d prefer such cited exceptions to fade in the face of our training, but I understand Malcolm Forbes is probably right.  Then I remember my Father-in-Law.  And then I’ve learned to smile.

GAP

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What’s the answer…

I have a training class next month.  Classes afford me the enjoyment of a little intellectual sport.

When conducting class for our resellers I insert a variety of exercises designed to strengthen our problem-solving “muscles”.  A lot is being studied and a lot is being published about how technology is actually reducing our ability to think.  I mean, is artificial intelligence making mankind’s intelligence artificial?

I have contributed to the conversation myself (see http://thequoteguys.com/2015/02/self-obliteration/).  Instant messaging; email; social sites; et al, are contributing to the weakening of our intellectual capabilities; dulling our minds; making us stupid!

Sorry, I inserted that last phrase of hyperbole to catch your attention – odds are you’re reading my little ditty from a cell phone or a tablet while having additional devices and screens open; multi-tasking.  If you are driving – please close my post and keep your eyes on the road!  Please drive defensively against those around you – who are ignoring my plea and reading my post!

But I digress…

As I work with my partners on problem-solving exercises; constantly competing for their intellectual attention in the face of continuous multi-tasking; I get their frustration and their preference – “Gary, just give us the answer!”  In my last class, one participant Googled for the answer to the opening exercise (which was a 3rd grade math problem from the year 2000).  He didn’t even try to think.

I understand.  We’re all busy; we’re all stressed; we’re all distracted; we’re all connected every waking minute of every waking hour.  If you believe that such behavior has very negative impact on our intellect, it begs the question, “So what?”

To me, our value in the workplace of today and that of the future is based on our thinking abilities.  Simple jobs are being automated; employers are hiring robots; employees who can’t think will be left with the leftovers of the jobs machines won’t do, true?

So how do we gain or maintain our intellectual strength while avoiding Donsen?

Donsen’s Law

The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.

We are on top of the animal kingdom because of our minds aren’t we?  We can trace this fact all the way back to the invention of the wheel.  But what if they we’re distracted back then?  What if the invention of the wheel was overlooked due to the dulling that comes with technology?                           What are we not inventing today because we’re overly dependent on machines that may decide to overlook solutions to problems that impact mankind, but not machines?

I remain hopeful that we can snap out of our social media induced; cellular technology driven; Siri mind numbing; drone sleep-walking environment.  I believe we can reverse the trend and regain our intellectual strength:

Imagination is stronger than knowledge.

Dreams are more powerful than facts.

Hope always triumphs over experience.

Robert Fulghum

I enjoy Robert’s expressions of hope.  Here are a few more; https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/robert_fulghum

I understand.  Problems are hard; answers are easy; can’t we just get to the easy without going through the hard?  I don’t think so.

In class I try to offer a little fun in the pursuit of the “answers” because getting to the “answer” is grounded on the strength of our “thinking”.  The mathematical solution comes from the accuracy of the formula.  From the caveman days forward, it always has – don’t you think?

GAP

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High School Sweethearts…

Posted Oct 4 2017 by in True North with 4 Comments

Fall; October; football; high school; Homecoming – do you remember your first high school sweetheart?  High school is a very special and memorable time for teenagers; it certainly was for me.  And I always enjoyed the autumn season when I was in high school – Homecoming; Halloween; dating; parties (most chaperoned, some not).

Forty-seven years ago, this very time of the year, I asked the prettiest girl in my high school out on a first date.  I guess it went well enough because here we are forty-seven years later and I’m still awe-struck by the glow of her beauty.

I hope you enjoy this opening to Chapter XII True North, of my book, The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective © as much I enjoyed writing it:

Dedicated to… a crisp night in October; with a slight breeze blowing through bare trees – waiting for the coming winter.   Close your eyes.  Can you smell remnants of autumn leaves burning?

To winning the homecoming football game.  To being carefree. To a Saturday night party at the teenager’s house whose parents are away.  Can you hear the kids having fun in the kitchen; the basement; and the backyard, all to the beat of the Rolling Stones?

To couches, blue jeans and sweaters.  To the floor lamp reflecting on her blond hair making it shimmer with silvery streaks of light.  To the nervous small talk of a teenage boy in the presence of a varsity cheerleader.  To the patience of the teenage girl sitting on the couch with the captain of the varsity basketball team.  Can you remember when you could actually hear your heart throbbing?

To throw pillows, which come in handy when the small talk runs out – what else can a young boy do?  And to playful pillow fights; which lead to gentle wrestling and ultimately to that first kiss. Remember how delicate she felt in your arms – the hint of her perfume – the taste of her lips?

To first dates – dinner and a movie.  To the movie Catch 22 and the Oriental Theatre in downtown Chicago.  To dating the prettiest girl in your high school; to falling in love; to asking her father’s permission for her hand in marriage.  Were you ever so nervous?

To the tears welling up in my eyes even as I write this short memoire.  To all those emotions; all the happiness; all those hopes and all those dreams; some fulfilled, some yet to be; and all that I can remember today as if it just happened yesterday – that I will remember everyday, as long as I live.  How can someone be so lucky?

To 1970 – and that Saturday night in October in Elmhurst where I kissed Debbie for the very first time.  And to the friend’s house whose parents were out – to their couch, their floor lamp, to their throw pillows; and to the Rolling Stones music.  Can you imagine being so young, so infatuated, and so in love?  I still am.

Gary A. Pokorn

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