In this way, I am lucky

October 29th, 2010 by John Morris

An affable guy visited Maxwell’s Hardware today.

Before I learned he was Chris O’Brien and he works for a sports memorabilia auction house, I noticed what he brought in for repair. It was an autograph poster of Joe DiMaggio. His need was for a new glass for the frame. My eyes focused on the section with Joltin’ Joe’s signature. Wow, what a piece of history that was!

Chris’ company, Hunt Auction is staging a major auction in Louisville, Kentucky but everyday tasks still remain. Articles are bought every day by sports collectors and shipping them falls to Chris.

He also showed us ball gloves dating back to the early 1900s. I held these treasures, and we both marveled to how the game could be played with such small gloves. He also brought a newspaper article dating to the 1941 World Series. This was the last World Series until the end of World War II five years later.

We worked together to get his project back on track. He rewarded my efforts by giving me the upcoming auction’s catalog. I paged through it and found some baseball cards I also have in my collection. Their selling prices mattered little to me since I plan to leave my collection to my sports loving daughter, Beth.

He also gave me an official Phillie’s rally towel which I plan to also give to Beth. Help me keep the surprise.

I write today about  Chris O’Brien of Hunt Auctions’ visit to show how my days are impacted by the fine folks who visit where I work. I know many of them and am always on the look-out to meet new and interesting people.

This way it is not so much like work.

The way it should be done.

October 20th, 2010 by John Morris

Tonight’s Phillies/Giant game was at the seventh inning, and following a new tradition, Major League Baseball now has an artist perform “God Bless America” at this time. Tonight a violinist played a spirited solo of the song. Soon enough, the microphones starting picking up the crowd as they were singing along. Their voices grew louder and stronger. It was one of the most touching tributes I’ve heard. It reminded me of another one years ago.

My daughter, Beth played organized softball as soon as she could find a league to match her age. Each game started with a pre-recorded playing the National Anthem sung by various artists.

At one game, the music stopped. After a small hesitation, the girls lining the baselines started where the song stopped. Their soft voices lifted our spirits, and the moment caught fire as the coaches, umpires and parents in the stands joined in.

It was better than good; it was memorable.

Glad I lived this long

October 17th, 2010 by John Morris

One of my guilty pleasures is to allow my mind to go unfettered. I free my mind of all thoughts and listen to what pops into my brain.

Doing this recently, I realized Bette Midler’s song, “The Rose” ends with the title, and it’s the only time the title is sung. See how it works? Not earth shattering stuff but more like a pidgeon coming home.

I grew the thought into one of those mind games my neurologist suggested I play to keep my brain fresh and active. This new game was to recall other songs with the same criteria: titles sung only at the very end.

After spending some time, I was not able to think of any more. So I googled the conditions and found . Imagine that.

The list of these songs contained only one other one I recognized: Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Lace”. There were maybe four other ones I didn’t know existed.

What surprised me was someone had the same thought and made a web page about it. It’s a tribute to our times that we have so much information available to us. Even the most trivial of trivia.

What a great time for this old techie to be alive!?!


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.