Walking for a good cause

June 22nd, 2009 by John Morris

I did a mere four miles in today’s PA Hero Walk. Volunteers for the Wounded Warriors Foundation are going from Philadelphia to New Kensington, PA by foot on business Route 30. They plan to arrive on July 4. I thought I’d enjoy hanging out with these folks for a brief while. 

Their goals include raising money and awareness for our wounded warriors returning from Iraq. Judging by  drivers’ actions, their message is getting out. Walking alone with committee member, Al Pulice, we were often interrupted to accept passing donations. There was of lot of spare change, but workers at a car wash emptied their wallets into Al’s can.

Al’s not in the service or a Veteran although he’d be one in a heartbeat. This 20 something was a well of energy; had just the right response no matter; and always uplifting.

Al’s group has not only the expected number of Veterans, but also has teenagers and children. I guessed this latter demographic has both the time and ability to do the 300+ mile trek. What struck me was they were eager to do it.

Today’s message: our country has great young people.


PA Hero Walk can be reached at http://www.paherowalk.org/.

Songs to aging children*

June 5th, 2009 by John Morris

“The evil that men do lives on. The good is oft interred with their bones.” Or so says Marc Anthony in the play “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare. Act III, scene II.

I think this is backwards especially when someone spends the lion share of their life doing good, as in, raising a family or a business; doing community service without a judge mandating it; or helping out at the Little League.

So our sample solid citizen dropped trou 1. at Spring break in the 70s and got busted for indecent exposure – along with the 12 other drunkards. It comes out during his run for town council and forever becomes his story.

This takes me to the recent death of David Carradine. The man lived the life of an actor. He had it all: money, fame, women. He even became an icon for boomers. He seemed to be a contradiction: serenely under control while also being out of it.

Above it all, the man could ply his trade as an actor. His fluid movements sold the audience on his being a butt kicking Shaolin Monk 2. in the TV show, “Kung Fu”.

He became folk singer, Woody Guthrie in the movie, “Bound for Glory”. His portrayal of a cruel egoist in the “Kill Bill” movies made his audience believe in his character’s evil.

I hope this is not all forgotten because of how he died. Even as we await the final explanation, enough has been said to taint his memory. How he died will always be in the first paragraph of any article written about him.

*  A song title by Joni Mitchell

1. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=drop+trou

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaolin_Kung_Fu

How it’s done.

June 3rd, 2009 by John Morris

What do aging boomers do during their not very busy days? They meet at the common fence and discuss whatever’s on tap. Today it was the missing element of customer service. The stories traded included waiting 90 minutes for an agent to just answer the phone.; sales staff taking calls while talking to them; and being put on terminal hold. I said when I receive decent customer service these days I’m pleased at first and then saddened that it happens so infrequently.

Today, I got one of these moments from a disembodied voice selling for a high end lumber yard. He received my fax – yeah, how quaint!, and we reviewed my choices for wood trim. He asked for the rest of the day to respond properly. In two hours, he was back. Important point time out: under promise and over deliver.

He said he’d mail – again quaint – the specifications on the trim. He can have my special order trim by the end of next week. He offered to wait for my call to close the deal pending my approval. He closed me already.

We old school sales guys genuflect at these moments.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.