Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thanks Mom Revisited

Race to the moon, civil rights, protests in the news. Banging on copper-bottom pots and pans on New Years Eve. Sloppy Joes served as chairs rattle loose screws. The times they are a changing. We're making plans. Black & White programming of political views. Swimming lessons, coloring books and Kool Aid stands.

Church keys opening Shasta flavored pops. Little theaters, museums and fine arts. Stainless steel counters with built-in stove tops. School clothes filling up shopping carts. Historic sites, parades, and homecoming teams. After school -- the Stooges, cartoons on television starts. Barnaby, Captain Penny, Jingle-ling, Holiday themes.

A Baby Grand piano, trumpet, banjo, drums, and guitar. Sterling silver, Bunnykins, Royal Daulton figurines. Screwdrivers. Cigarettes. Makeup. Jelly Jars. Time, Life, and Look Magazines. Board games. Sparkling wine. Martinis. Chanel Number 5. Steak and SauSea cocktail shrimp at dinner in the pantry nook. The remarkable and mystical Edgewater Drive. Do your homework. Kitchen is closed. You know I hate to cook.

Backyard sunning for a Coppertone tan. Extensions a plenty -- never far from a phone. Reading a book and drinking a Coke from a can. In the Wonderful World of Ohio you're never alone. Cedar Point, Sandusky, a Summer cottage rental. The Football Hall of Fame, Mystery Hill and Firestone; Buckle up and away we go in the Lincoln Continental. But first, "No ice cream in the car. Finish your cone." Ordinary things, of which we become sentimental.

"I'll do anything for you kids -- as long as you remember." Silver goblets, meat loaf, tuna casserole, chicken soup, Hough Bakery cakes from Spring until September. On a continuous loop. The birthdays, they come and they go. We remember the routine and the ordinary. How did she know? A life lived and a life extraordinary.

Read, enunciate, project, pronounce. Improvise the method. The talent is a fact. Study, debate, articulate, and announce. You must believe, if you think you can act. There are no small roles. You'll stand out among the rest. Listen to the words and listen well, "Oh honey, you always know what's best." When to pause, when to gesture, you cal always tell. To dream the impossible dream.

Everything is rehearsed -- scene by scene. Coffee cup and saucer -- Black. No sugar. No Cream. The play is a hit, but what does it mean? Acting, directing, and winning your heart. The final curtain. Bravo! The audience approves without pause. Good to know but not a surprise. Prepare and be ready for your cue. Face each day. The show must go on. You know exactly what to do. House lights go up and suddenly you are gone.

We are an ensemble cast. We knew that one day, the performance would be your last. You were great mom, it was your way. On to the future, with regard for the past. The show will go on. Thanks mom.

We will go on.

Mary Frances Lawton Morgan passed away on May 31, 2011. She was 89 years of age.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Toasting Lindsey & Chris

To An Angel on her day

Henri Matisse dancers Ring Around the Rosie.
A lemon garnish makes a special tea.
At camp, a General on land is as capable at sea.
The world revolves around that little girl.
She means the world to me.

The world is a better place with her in it.                              
Her sweet, caring, creative spirit;
Among the first in a generation;
A rock, a role model, and an inspiration.

Once upon a time, a Hoboken swing made her smile;
“Push me more!” she says in a while.
Even then, she is committed, driven and oh so serious. 
And yet, like George, always very curious.

She is a big girl now and making her way.
Life is a journey. As we come to this day;
She wants to go higher. She wants to fly.
She finds joy in reaching for the sky.

She will try. She will win.
Along the way she will stop and begin again.
The ups and downs are so much fun;
Nevertheless, a marathon from the starting gun.   

Youth group advisor, conclave motivator;
Larger than life, adapter, innovator;
Wherever she is: pottery wheel, strawberry field, pumpkin patch
You will find chutzpah and determination unmatched.

Maple Leaf Diner, Raleigh Racquet Club, Montclair Swim;
It comes to this in the Orange Theory Fitness Gym.
The first clarinet carries the day, the band and the show.
Lindsey Morgan Dewey is someone to know.

In the best of all possible worlds
That is my angel. My little girl.
Here is to another Technique of the week;
And Miles to go before I sleep.

Here’s to you. To Life. With Love. Mazel Tov.

A toast to my daughter on her wedding day, September 13, 2014

Pep Talk for Chris
One Summer night the phone rings
“I want to marry your daughter,” is the news it brings.  
I pause, and I answer, “Who is this?”
I’m kidding, of course, I knew it was Chris.

Hey Son-in-Law,
Guess what I saw?    
Someone’s Dad. Sharing hopelessly;
There in front of all, so helplessly. 

Compelled to offer an Irish Blessing. Oy, the sighs
You can almost hear the rolling eyes.
I married her mom years ago. “The longest years of my life” She’ll say.
But for me, I would not trade away a single day. 

Always remember, the world revolves around your wife.
Do that, and you will live a wonderful life.
She is part of a Matriarchy. Women rule.
This is the stuff you never learn in school. 

This girl is on fire. Don’t make her mad.
She will be the best wife you ever had.
She lost a lot of weight to get into that dress.
You know, when I first met her when she weighed considerably less.

This baby girl was 7 pounds 7 ounces. Now we are wishing you all the best
Yes of course, Marry her! She’d expect nothing less.
Like a Hurricane, do it with swagger.
Be fearless. Be ambitious. You have our blessing. Does it matter?

It isn’t dollars and cents that will determine your worth.
Now is your chance to be among the richest on the face of the earth.
Live. Laugh. Love. Seek out culture and art.       
Let the fun begin. This is your start.

God Bless and be well.

Thank you for asking. Now give ‘em hell.

A toast to my future son-in-law on her my daughter's wedding day, September 13, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Last Laugh

I recently wrote a blog for UPworld about joking. Knowing full well that this is a business audience connecting professionals interested in real estate, design, architecture, engineering, and construction. The suggestion was put to the readers of this blog to seek-out humor that is timeless if a bit formulaic and funny if a bit silly while being artfully inoffensive. If we believe people want to do business with those they know, like, and trust it might make sense to let humor be a point of difference.  
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The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting - or so says the famous Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu.  It seems humor can be a powerful tool if we can appreciate the nature of competition in this digital age. Naturally you will want to set yourself apart as a premium provider of smart solutions. (Solutions that solve real problems ranging from quality service, workmanship, reputation and reasonable value. All at a price that is acceptable.) Think about it this way: You want engagement with business prospects. You have to find ways to create meaningful dialogue with your customers. That dialogue is only possible if you create an environment of approach-ability. In the scheme of things your current customers and employees become the most important ambassadors for your firm.

As a case in point, allow me to give a specific example. A general contractor, of whom I was working, was struggling with a client who was feeling less than satisfied. At the heart of the customer’s complaint was the notion that communication was falling short of expectations. “I think the problem was the lack of communication with our organization about schedule, cost and project updates,” he said in an emergency meeting between customer and general contractor CEO.

The CEO paused a moment and responded, “That’s funny because I have here some verbatim comments from your project manager specifically to the contrary.” As it happens the CG had funded an outside researcher to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. Used diplomatically, the objective evidence (in a written report) allowed the General Contractor and his client to better understand and mend the working relationship between the two firms.    

The objective report was just what the two executives needed to let their guard down and share a laugh and address what appeared to be the real issue – flawed communications between builder and customer.