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Lessons learned September 23, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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    Hey all,

 I must admit my last post dealt with a bad time in my life. I also will admit I left out some pretty important details of some of that story. But for the most part it was to protect the integrity of some very close friends.

 These days nothing really comes to mind to make me want to take my own life. Well for the most part nothing. I have always felt that if I were to go completely blind I might do so as not being able to view all the beauty this old world has to offer would make life so unbearable.

  The last posting was also brought on by a low happening in my personal life. 6 months ago I was so happy you couldn’t sand the smiles off my face. I had a job and a half going on. I worked days at an office job where I started out as an underdog and became the top dog with a little time. My half job was a little tough at times as it was 2 nights a week and I didn’t arrive home from my days work till midnight or later and to back it up it was on 2 days back to back. But it was a neccessary evil for spending money. I had and still have a good woman to make times good.

     Now I live closer to her (5 minutes) but have a terrible job these days. Living expenses are a little higher and wages are way off for me.

    What essentially brought on my hard feelings in the post was I went last monday for an interview with a tire store. I really liked what I heard and really was made to feel I had a great chance at obtaining the job. I was excited and that word doesn’t really give justice to how happy I was going to be with this new job. I mean a place to where I would look forward to going to work ( I truely love to work) a good pay raise and a bonus program that looked very easy to score on. What bad can I say.

    Lets look at what reality is and what made me unhappy……

    First I have a job now that I get hamburger helper type wages at. I have always said when the last mile to your job is the hardest to drive its time to make a change. I live 3.2 miles away from my job, the whole trip there is like the last hundred feet to the gas chamber. The atmosphere there is “dog eat dog” were paid a small salary with comission from sales. I work outside in the field from 8am till noon after an hour lunch I work instore from 1pm till 5:30pm. When I arrive the person I’m relieveing doesn’t always leave at his time. So I’m forced to have to find things to do till he does. If I am lucky (did I say lucky?) enough to get a phone call with a customer thats not requesting someone else I don’t have a terminal to look up parts on, instead I have to ask to “borrow someone’s terminal” I get 1% of my sales for comission. So if I can get a hundred dollar sale i make a whopping $1 bill…WOO HOO but the catch comes here. It seems that if I quote the sale and they call back, certain ones will not print my quote yet make the sale on their own sales number.

    To top it off the management staff that control my side of the business just seems to hang me out to dry on a regular basis. Here I am supposed to be a person going out and trying my best to obtain sales for the store and when I seem to have a good lead and request something that most companies will break their neck to provide, mine lays down on me…UGGGHHH what a drag…

    So your saying to yourself why doesn’t this guy just get a new job…well my friend I am really trying hard at that. Thats where the tire store deal comes in…What heppened there? I have no idea. He said he really enjoyed speaking with me on mnday (we spent a little over an hour) and said there were two other fellows he would be speaking to, gave mehis card and said “I am going to be traveling some if I don’t call you on thursday call me on friday”.. I did, got the deaded voice mail and have heard nada since. I must admit on friday I was super bummed out by that. After arriving home on what seemed like a friday that was as long as erternity I thought about things.

   On monday night I prayed to God All Mighty above to send me that job, if not that one, one that would be a good one and provide for me well. All I can say is this…Maybe that wasn’t the job the good Lord above has for me yet. I also started thinking maybe I’ll hear from the gentleman on monday. One things for sure I feel, whatever is in the books is what I’m going to accept and be happy with.

   God has never let me down as of yet and I don’t feel he has any plans at doing so yet.

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Some times are good, some bad September 22, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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   Weve all had some good times, in fact some better than others and then again…Weve had some bad ones as well.

   At this moment I am experiencing some of the latter of the afore mentioned. Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve had some REAL BAD times as well.

  How bad? I’ll tell you about one incident of that and then go into my present bad times.

     A short while back I was in a relationship and had not been moved to South Carolina for more than a few months. When I told everyone how I had bought a “little piece of heaven” they all were happy for the most part. All pretty much sad to see me go some that had known me knew I had finally came full circle knowing how long I had talked aimlessly about the day I’d move to the carolinas. Some told me “you’ll be back and when you do we’ll welcome you back with open arms” some warned me that the people in the carolinas are not so forgiving to “outsiders” like myself. You’ll have a tough time adjusting to they’re ways. I thought nonsense I already have the southern twang so normal in this region. A lot of people have asked me in all the years past, “what part of Georgia or North Carolina are you from with that accent? I laugh thinking some day I’ll have it so made fitting in with those nice folks. But, One good friend warned me about something as well… She told me Glen if you move up there, be prepared to go it alone. Your wife will leave you not long after going there. She told me she’s not cut out for that kind of living like you are, and to make things worse she’s pretty close to her family unlike how you are.

   The town we bought our house in South Carolina seemed very friendly as we were shopping for it. We took notice of how everyone waved to us as we passed by them. We even made it a habit to start waving upon approaching vehicles coming from the other way laughing as we noticed they already were as we approached them. I thought this is our place by golly.

    After saying our goodbyes to the friends and families in florida we made our trek north. Reminding me of settlers in the past. All of our wordly possesions sitting behind us in a giant box truck and trailers in tow carrying my many 4x4s . Coming into town the people looked at us like the circus was in town. Here was a guy moving here with two trailers each carrying a ford 4×4 and one even having a race car on it as well. Unloading all of it passerbyers would stop and introduce themselves and point in the direction to where they lived. I was amazed at how things were clicking so well together for me. I already had a job lined up down the road with a local automotive shop, and I was to manage it.

   We unpacked the first week and things were so different at that time. Spending afternoons on the front porch drinking iced tea and watching the cars buzz by on a busy state road 50 or so yards in front of my house and of all things missing all of my old friends.

   We found after officially moving there, we were treated like outsiders. At first I shrugged it off thinking they’ll see..I’m just like them. My then wife had a tough time finding work suited for her. She had all kinds of credits to her account in the university department yet no one in town was offering much in the form of employment and what was offered was not even worth getting up and going to.

   I worked everyday and struggled to fit in with this tight knit group. It seemed the more I tried to fit the worse I stuck out like a turd in a punch bowl. I finally succombed to being just me.

    That seemed to be the magic trick I had been looking for so long. I was merely deemed as an outsider but only in some senses. I didn’t worry about it any longer.

  All of a sudden I was accepted, sort of. Anytime there was a discussion I was kind of considered the voice of what was not the norm around town. Sort of like an ambassador if you will. Meaning when the company I worked for would have the monthly sales meeting and it seemed as if things weren’t going as planned i was asked how they did it in Tampa. Sometimes it was a typical smart assed way, then again at times they would be sincere.

   Moving on with my story, it wasn’t long before my now ex wife flew the proverbial coupe. She could not make up her mind. At first it was ai’m out of here attitude. It came as no surprise as we knew things were going away even before leaving florida. She left and stayed gone a while. After her leaving and my trying to get over things I met a friend.

   Her name was Linda, she lived a couple of hours away. At first we were email friends, soon afterwards we became phone buddies. At first I didn’t think we’d be very compatible at much as we were definately two of a different kind. Me being a southern guy and layed back attitude. She being a solid northerner..accent and all.  She had that “no bullshit attitude ” all the yankees have.  I soon found we talked every morning and during the day and every night before going to sleep she’d call me or I’d call her. We’d laugh some I might cry some and we’d just talk about things. One of her favorite things to talk to me about was my darling little pooch Milton. She loved him like he was her own even though she had yet to meet him.

   One night not long after she and I had gotten to know one another over the phone my phone rang late. Thinking it was Linda as no one else was calling my house I answered without looking at the id screen on my phone.

  On the other end came a shaky voice..”what are you up to” I heard. It was not Linda at all..It was my ex calling me. She said I wanted to know if I can come back and be your “carolina girl”. I thought about how I watched her drive out of my life. I said I don’t know…I mean a few things have happened since you left me. She sounded astonished..” Like What” I said well for one thing I’ve been busy picking up all the broken pieces of my life around here. I mean here I am in a town with absolutely no one I could call if I needed something, Its true I was an outsider living in that small town and had no one I could really call my friend at that point in time.

    There was a pause for a moment. I said also I’ve made a new friend. The response over the phone was “So Your Fucking Someone Now” I said no I can’t believe your accusing me of anything here. She said so tell me about this “new friend” I said well theres nothing really to tell, we’ve talked quite frequently over the telephone. She’s helped me to maintain myself here by myself.

    The question was then..”what do you mean maintain yourself” I said well I don’t have anyone I can talk to close by, she’s a couple of hours away and well I really enjoy talking to her.  I said I’ll tell you what, if you can accept that I’ve made her friendship very important to me than yes you can come back, but if not then you’d better stay put where you are. She agreed to accept my new friend as it was. And would be leaving the next morning to come back. I called Linda and told her. Linda offered to back away from our friendship, ( a true act of nobility in my book) I said no, we have a fre=iendship going and what kind of friend would I be if I chased her away after doing so much for me.

     The next day Linda made the trip to my small town to meet me in person hoping there’d be other times and that I’d not forget her. Also the ex showed up that morning at 8am not leaving that morning but instead leaving right after we hung up the night before.

   It was nice meeting Linda and I knew we’d be friends for a long time as she was very genuine, the kind we all hope to meet some day ourselves. I didn’t feel as if there were any alterior motives with her.

    That afternoon the ex came down to the shop I managed and I even introduced them to each other. Linda had no problems but with the ex I could see a hint of the “green eyed monster” gleaming back at me.  We all sat and talked in my office and I felt good about Linda all together. A few days later she and her girlfriend made the trek back to my town, She needed some work done on her car and hey I ran a repair shop so I put one of my mechanics to getting it all in ship shape for her.

     After closing she and her friend followed me home and we all sat in my livingroom chit chatting away and had a wonderful time. After they left my ex really gave me the third degree about my friends. I reminded her about our agreement. She said she had changed her mind and was not going to honor it as of now. I said well too bad as  deals a deal and if she wasn’t happy she knew the way back to Orlando.

   Over time Linda stayed my friend eventually getting a boyfriend she made sure to let him know how “our friendship” was and he gladly accepted things well.

    One day I woke up to find a very big problem. I got paid every other week. On the friday I got paid , I checked my bank to find me in the negative. I had a job that forced me to use my own money to work it getting paid later. Well payday from that was 15 days away and I was unsure how I was going to make the 90 mile round trip for the next 10 days with no gas. I was very stricken as my job was terrible and i dared not to tell them of my situation. I won’t even go into what the problem was to lose my money, but you can bet it had nothing to do with me.

  The whole way to work I cried my eyes out because to be quite frank my life seemed to be in shambles. I was living in a town that seemed to hate anything I did to improve myself. I was only accepted if i was the proverbial scape goat, (please deal with me on this statement because it would take a week of my typing to explain this one). I was living my life in a house with someone that did’nt love me and I missed my family back home something fierce.

   On my way to work I talked to the lord explaining I was very sorry but I was going to have to break “THE” golden rule. I planned a way to take my own life upon arriving home that evening.

    On my way home I called my little sister and asked her if something were to happen to me would she take care of milton. She said sure she would. (incidently all of my siblings had become aquainted with Linda via emails)

   My little sister could tell I was very distressed about things asking why I’d ask such a strange question. I told her not to worry about it. Well that was out of the question, she being so far away got ahold of Linda and within minutes Linda was on my phone with me.

   Using her “yankee in your face attitude” she asked whats the matter with you Glen. I said nothing, why? Her reply was well somethings wrong with the question you just asked your sister.

   At that moment I basically unwound everything that was wrong with me. She heard all of the good, bad and the ugly that was in my lfe presently. So matter a factly she asked and thats worth taking your life for? I said don’t you understand? She said yes Glen but all that can be fixed.

   At that moment I realized she was absolutely right about it. There wasn’t anything she and I as friends could not fix. At that moment she became an even closer friend to me as Now I had felt she had saved my life.

   On my way home all I was focused on was taking my life. But since talking to her, she showed me I should of been focused more of trying to save my life.

  Needless to say it worked and not too long after the returning “ex” made her choices and moved on with her life and the other fellow she had been so charmed about back in florida.

   To this day Linda and I are still great friends, Yes theres been some strain at times but then again being my friend is not always a box of chocolates either. Just today I chatted with her online and we laughed online as we did in the old days…

  THANKS LINDA!! I LOVE YA!

This That and The Other… September 18, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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   This is just a post for one to get to know the person behind the name “A Simple Man”.

   Sometimes I go overboard trying to explain my thoughts or ideas. Maybe thats because I’m making sure that everyone is on the same page as I am or then again maybe I’m becoming senile in my middle age years..Who knows? I sure don’t.

   Its like at times I really don’t know if I really know myself. I switch up tastes in music as much as my underwear, trust me folks thats a lot…LOL

   I feel as if when I was younger I lived by different rules. I was more on the quiet side as a young man in my 20’s I was more of the kind that would not really voice my opinion and maybe later come back later and retaliate in some way. I feel those were my cowardly days as I would walk away from situations with so much I had wished I’d of said and get angry with myself  eventually talking myself in finding a payback of sorts to rectify my feelings. We’ll call those my “all bite and no bark days”

   Later on (i’d say maybe my early 30’s) something happened to me. Maybe we could call it a rebirth of sorts I became more of a “more bark and less bite” kind of personality. Oh sure there is still some bite left as if one’s not careful he has to prove it once in a while.

    What do I mean by this? It simply means you need to stand up for what you feel is right, and let em know what you mean with that threat of an “in your face ass kicking” if things don’t change. More times than not you’ll not have to administer the “asskicking” but there’ll be those times where your going to have to show your ass. Normally just the verbal threat will stop someone in their tracks..What do I mean by this?

    Here are a few of my favorite ones to use. But please remember with the use there may come a time you have to “walk the walk” Remember one more thing before I get into these sayings. The act of putting on the illusion of the soon to be mentioned sayings is what I call a “Dog and pony show” meaning simply that your getting ready to put the actions of monday night raw or whatever professional wrestling show you watch to shame. Now with that said here goes..by the way if you have some I have not listed here please comment back to me. Now..1.”Don’t make me show my ass” that is the prewarning of the afore said “dog and pony show” abut to commence. 2. “You might whip my ass, but you’ll damn sure know I was there” This saying alone promises that it might be a hell of fight. And yes the subject of you could come out the victor in our little contest of ass kicking, but buddy I’m not going down without a fight and when its all said and done, your going to have some hurt to deal with as well. 3. “My playground is right outside that door and its time to play” Thats when the other fellow says wait till after work to handle the situation. While using this statement you need to have the deranged far away look in your eyes like you truely don’t give a shit about humanity. I am sure there are many more I have used over my years of life , but these come to mind right now.

   The latter one was used one time on a fellow much taller and larger than myself, he asked me why I had to butt in being the whole ordeal didn’t involve me but that of someone else which I might add was a bit smaller than me. My reply was “because I’m the voice of the little people around here” that along made the larger fellow decide to turn tail and make a run for it.

    These days I pretty much just keep my guard up and keep my mind tuned in to what my surroundings are. Most of the time I keep myself on the alert mode and with a few wise comments or should I say comebacks I don’t have any problems. I suppose they figure I’m pretty much so high strung that they had better leave me alone. Or maybe they’re afraid they may have top match wits with me..I don’t know…lol

    So with that said it explains things I hope.

     These days I try and not get involved into too many confrontations. I have to admit they do seem to find me from time to time. Maybe the good Lord above is keeping me in tune for a mission coming up soon.

   These days I tend to like to sit in front of my old computer and type away some ideas and chit chat with my many friends. I also like just se=urfing the web somewhat and I have to admit I have grown quite smitten with Myspace as well.

   At this pont I’ll bring this to a close and get my mind focused on yet another story soon to come.

Another story.. September 13, 2007

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     If you were to go back to my home town in florida and ask anyone in the automotive field if they knew me by name chances are if they have been in business more than 5 years they’d answer yes. If the next question were to be what does he do for a living? Their answer would be a solid “He’s a partsman”

   That is something I am proud of. Like so many people go to see their doctor because he has a full understanding of the human body. I understand the automobile like a many a person understands a complete other language.

  Here’s the story of how that all started back in 1978….

  I was a student in Ms. Betty June’s DCT class. Keep in mind this was a 3 hour class that taught me a lot about life and gained a few good aquaintances as well. The first two hours of school were devoted to classroom time learning all the stuff I believe every kid should. Like public speaking, writing checks the proper way. How to act on a job interview. I’m sure theres more but I don’t want to get off my subject here like I’m so bad at doing.

   One morning not long after the new school year had just started Ms. Betty was sitting in front of the class calling out prospective job leads off of index cards. Anyone interested was to raise hand and show interest in job. After so he/she would walk to the front of the class and retrieve the index card and report back to Ms. Betty about their results.

   One thing I forgot to mention is that I wrote earlier this was a 3 hour class. Like I said the first two hours were devoted to classroom duties and the third being on the job with your work performance being your grade for the class. With that said on with the story.

   After sitting there a little while hearing the postings for the day and thinking no I don’t want to work at Simpson’s Feed store and nah I think I’ll pass working at Felton’s Food Mart bagging groceries..(sorry Les not meaning to knock your job).. What I heard next was like a calling from beyond …MY DREAM JOB!!!! Wilson Davis Ford Parts Deprtment…I nearling slung my arm out of its socket raising my hand so quickly it was almost like when you watch the rodeo on tv and see the cowboy’s arm jerking around I imagine thinking back to that day. I was almost raising hand and getting up out of my chair all at once thinking I might need to tackle another student on my way up there to keep my card from being taken before me.

  It was amazing no one else even tried for that one… I thought this must be mine.

   That afternoon I could hardly wait to get out of school so as to go see about “MY” job. I imagined all the cool duties I’d perform while on the clock. Selling a high dollar engine a day maybe an old race cammer engine for several thousand dollars. I’d be parking up in the employee of the month parking spot for sure cause bygod I was going to set records that would hold up for decades.

   Okay now that the dream music that you normally hear while dreaming sweet dreams is over here’s reality speaking.

    I went to the dealership, had a time trying to park where no one would possibly hit my beloved 69 Torino GT fastback . I went to the parts counter in search of Mr. Coffman the first person I found was standing there with a white shirt on and sort of looked like the person that played as “The Commish” on Lifetime TV. He said “can I help you” I replied “I’m looking for Mr’ Coffman” he responded with “speaking” I nervously bumbled with who I was and why I was there. He looked at me pie eyed the whole time like he was thinking who the hell is this kid.. After talking he said “yes I remember talking to someone over the phone a while back and said she could send someone by sometime” I finished with my spill and he said thank you for your time. Maybe you can come by some other time and we can talk. I nervously asked when? He said in the next couple of days I guess. I walked out of there feeling relieved that I could go back and tell Ms. betty I had been by and mark me for a job interview performed.

   The next day in class I was not wanting to say how things went and after a while Ms. Betty called out to all students to report one by one how their previous day’s interviews were. I waited to be last, or so I thought I was going to.

   With no one wanting to be first she said well let me start by asking. Glen! how was your interview yesterday with Mr. Coffman. At that moment I felt like I was just called on to speak in front of the grand jury. I nervously said well Ms. Betty he told me to come back in a couple of days. She said so tomorrow your going?I said well tomorrow or the next day. The stare I got said tomorrow or else.

    Well being how I am, I decided i’d pull a sneak attack and go that day. i didn’t want to mention it to anyone in case I chickened out on the whole deal. That afternoon I left school and drove straight there not wanting to stop till I had made my appearance.

   The other day I watched an episode of The Andy Griffith Show and it was a story about Opie needing a job. Goober showed Opie how to hold out his chest and jut out his chin all rugged and walk in and ask for a job without hardly opening his mouth while talking. That episode reminded me how I felt that day walking in to the ford dealer. I walked in found Mr. Coffman and said ” I was in a little while back and you told me to check back with you about a job opening”… He looked at me and all but burst out laughing at me.

   He replied ” when could you start if I were to be looking”? I replied as long as it would take me to move my car to wherever employees park. He laughed and said look, just be here tomorrow after school.

   Did I ask the starting rate of pay? The hours expected to work? The benefit package? What were the official break times? The holidays? My answers…NO, NO, NO, No & NO. I was so happy to have a “parts job” I didn’t care.

   That afternoon I stopped by Ms. Betty’s house just to boil over with excitement about my new position. Her response was ” I knew you could do it Glen your my star” She always said in the years she taught me I was her “shining star”

    The next day was eternity waiting for it to arrive, once it did I was so nervous as I still get that way to this day when starting a new job. I showed up right after school not even stopping for lunch. I walked into a whole different type of deal. This was no McDonalds I had worked at to pay for my beloved torino. This was the big time I felt. I found Mr. Coffman and reported for my first big day. He said hey Glen how are you? I said ready to get started. He said good I have a mission already lined up for you. He asked if I knew the Tampa area very well. I said no but I can find whatever you need me to. He handed me some cash and told me to drive to the now defunct Tampa Stadium. He had 2 tickets layed aside for the new team in town. the Buccaneers. I said sure, all the time hoping I had enough gas in my car to arrive there and back. He then reached in his pocket and tossed me a key chain. He said “mine’s the yellow 79 yellow Ltd II outside the door. I was like “Man I’ve never driven a new car” he said good this will be your first time. I got in it and wheeled around parking lot like a big dog off his leash. Hoping everyone would see me I knew at school..here I am in a new car with actual working air conditioning blowing in my face.

    I drove by our house on the way out just to make sure my momma saw her oldest son in a brand new car. She was quite impressed to say the least. After driving for what seemed like forever I found the stadium. Now a days I realize it was only about 30 miles. Back in those days it felt like 300 or better.

   After that I was Mr. Coffman’s “Go to guy” I fetched him Winstons from the store went and got his car washed by the dealership detail guys, filled his tank with the premium fuel he always requested. Whatever it took I did it. One day he told me to go watch over the retail customer counter while the normal parts guy went to lunch. I did so and after a while A woman came in wanting some touch up paint.

    Mr. Coffman walked around the counter to find little ol’ short me standing on a box diligently looking on the screen of our micro fish reader looking for that paint code. He asked me if I even had a clue as to what I was looking for? I said yes I believe I do. He said I just wanted you to sit here and look busy not actually have to do anything. I said I can do it. At that point I went and found the tube the woman was waiting on and wrote the ticket up and sent her to the cashier. He looked at me with amazement. After that I got to do several more dealing with the walk up customers feeling like I was finally earning my keep.

    One day I walked in to see Mr. Coffman standing their waiting for me with a box sitting next to him. He said Glen come in here I need to talk to you. I walked in to find his office with bare walls. He asked me rather quickly ” have you ever considered going into service” I thought he meant the armed forces, and with me being so young I felt one never knows. I replied yes I might just do so. He said well good. I need for you to do so or I’m going to have to let you go.  I said why? he said well heres the whole thing in a nutshell… When you came to me for a job I didn’t have a job opening. But you had a real hungry look in your eyes. I could tell you were different than the other guys your age. You looked not only poverty stricken, but you had  “That Look” the look of a kid that would never do me or this company wrong. The look of a poor dog down on his luck and hoping the dog catcher wasn’t around he corner. I thought you know Tommy (Mr. Coffman’s first name) I’ll give this boy a chance. If he doesn’t work out I’ll just tell him I’m sorry your just not what we need. The truth of the matter Glen is we need about 20 more like you. The hunger for a job well done. He said thats why I hired you, and dammit I was right.

   He then said, but the time and a better oppurtunity has came along and I am going to not have to drive so far now. I am leaving today to start at another ford dealership in Tampa. I was heart broken. He asked me to give him one last ride in his yellow demo car to pick up his new demo truck down the road at a local tavern. I did so and we shook hands never to see one another again.

    That is my story on getting started in the parts business. But believe me I have a thousand and one more stories to share along the way……

My Thoughts on This Day in History September 11, 2007

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    There are so many people out there that have so much to say about the act of terrorism that occured on this day back in 2001.

  I am going to keep my thoughts short, simple (for I am a simple man) and to the point.

    First of all I am sure the good lord above had a plan for each and everyone of our fellow family members, friends, or for lack of a better term “heros”. Yes I’d say from the fellows on the plane over the field in PA to the blessed souls of the many police, firmen, and those that didn’t particularly wear a uniform but were those trying their utmost best to help that lost their life are real life heros in my book.  That includes the people trapped inside the buildings knowing they’re was no way out alive, yet tried to calm those that were going to meet their maker so that they could die with dignity…Yes They Were Heros…

    God Almighty has a special place for all of you and I’m sure your there in it as I type this. Many of you still stand in amaement admiring your new earned wings til this very day.

   Rest assured Mr. Laden and those that follow your evil ways….He too has a spot for you as well. I hope you have your asbestos underwear packed as its gonna seem like eternity down there….

   Rest In Peace Heros….

     Signed,

  A Simple Man    GCK

Loss of a dear friend September 9, 2007

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       This is the story of a truely great woman that seriously changed the life of myself and many others around me.

     Her name was Betty June Barker Watkins. When I attended high school the name was Betty June Barker. She later married late in life to her now late husband (Watkins)

   This great soul had her own ways of getting a person (including myself) to do things they never thought possible.

    Take me for example, now those that know me closely will never believe this but trust me its true. I at one time was the kid in class that when called on to speak out loud would freeze in my tracks. Yes me of all people… Now people wish they knew how to shut me up to say the least. Seeing I had a chance at extemperaneous speaking, Miss Barker would make me go in front of the class every morning before class started and have me give the pledge of aligence. At first I didn’t take it too seriously. After a few weeks seeing it was my daily job I started being up at the podium even before being called on to do so.

    One day Miss Barker instructed me to write something new to say. I again froze, saying “Miss Barker I can’t do that” she would loudly respond “NOW SAYS THE 500 POUND PARROT”!! I immediately jumped to the occasion and found something I could sort of relate to and created my first 3 minute speech in 30 minutes give or take a few. Now keep in mind Betty June was no small woman, there are really large people in this world that allow the fact that being bigger than normal they let the world pass them by and pitty themselves wishing they could grab it by the tail and hold on for the ride of their lives. Then you have people like Betty June and myself. We love to “beat the system” and show the world what its all about.

    So, after a couple of times of writing these little speaches and boring my classmates with my ongoing banter. Miss Barker one day said I have something for you to do for me. I asked what would that be? She said we are going to a little district meeting at Jefferson High School in Tampa. I would love for you to show the other classes how well I have taught you to say the pledge of aligence. I said “Now Miss Barker you know how I am in crowds” she says nonsense Glen, you’ll say it and I know you’ll say it well. I’m like you think so? She answers with an “have I been wrong yet”? I agree, at that point she has  good friend of mine Les (lives here in fayetteville these days) take me home and his mother cuts my hair nicely.

    The next day Miss Barker has a shirt for me to try on and a tie to match. I get my Mema to get a coat for me at Sears and I’m ready. I hope…….

    The next week I walk to the podium much like a condemned man walks to the gas chamber. I start saying it and never miss a beat.

    Some few days afterwards Betty June produces a list of compelling subjects with the titale atop the page reading “subjects for extemperaneous speaking” or something like that. I ask what is this and why hasn’t anyone else got one? She says “don’t worry what everyone else does or does not have” She sort of used the 500 pound parrot tone of voice so I complied with her.

  She tells me to pick a subject I feel I can do on that…I pick out “the importance of being to work on time” she says good choice. Now in 15 minutes you’ll need to walk up to the microphone and give me 3 minutes of interesting conversation with that. I say I don’t think… she stopped me dead in my tracks and said YES YOU CAN NOW DO IT!!!

     Needless to say 18 1/2 minutes later I was finished with the presentation of my first official 3 minute speech. The following days I saw that same list quite often..in fact so often I soon had spoke about everything on that list.

   A week later I was then handed a sign up sheet for our district competition at the University of South Florida. I went in the doors feeling like an olympic athelete ready to sprint my way to the finish line.

    Each of the competitors from the neighboring schools went in and drew from a hat the small slip of paper with a subject printed on it. Mine…the first subject I ever chose. “the importance of being to work on time” I went in to the small room with the other competitors to write my speech (mere ideas on a note card) and work from it.

    I placed 3rd in that first competition and feel I could of maybe made 1st had the other students that placed 1 and 2 had a set of notes to work off of. Maybe when thinking back on it, maybe I should of had said something. But to be honest being new at this I didnt think I had a snow ball’s chance in hell at winning.

     After doing so well in the regionals Miss Barker started grooming me by having me speak at all local functions. She would hold what she’d call “early bird breakfasts” or “leadership breakfasts” at local restaraunts with some of the local town leaders.

     These people, the town leaders or as we kids liked to think of them “the movers and shakers” were all so nice to meet. All had something interesting to teach us about being more than what most thought of us small town folks. They taught us how to walk in and present ourselves proudly in what ever we did. Whether it was to inquire about a job or to ask Suzie the neighbor’s daughter out on that first date.

    Later on in that school year I was invited to go to our statewide district meet for all DCT members in Orlando.

   At this meet, all classes of competition came. Whether you were doing marketing, job interviews, public speaking whatever went on in the business world there was a competion there.

  Then and there I won 6th. place overall in my class of competition. I thought not bad for a kid that only a few months earlier kicked and screamed his way towards the front of the class having to give a speach of any kind and with a serious bad haircut to boot. Now here I was placing in competition and doing a fine job at that.

  Now the title of this posting says “Loss of a dear friend”

 Ms.Betty June Watkins left this old world back in july. I  found out from my friend Les a couple of weeks ago as his mother still lives in our little town back home. Both Les and I both signed her guest book online and yes we wrote some thoughts about her as well.

  I plan on writing some thoughts about her and memories as well from time to time. I have a doozie of a story coming up in the next day or two. Its taken me quite a while to get this one written trying to say the right things and not get off the subject too much as I have written it.

  So…with that said beware of a good story or beware of another boring rant by yours truely…..

  Till then…Rest In Peace Ms. Barker we still love you…

A Cool Story from a Friend September 5, 2007

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      While Les was over on sunday we talked over old days. Some from high school and some from the days we had been apart since then.

       Keep in mind Les lost a leg in a motorcyle accident he was involved in while he was stationed here at Fort Bragg North Carolina.

      He was talking about how he was in the hospital for a year he had met a close knit group of fellow amputee veterans and they formed a group that had them from time to time meeting at various places for social get togethers.

    Les is a great guy and would do anything to help someone out..literally….heres how it goes…(that magic music playing in the background when were thinking back in time)….

    He and some of the fellows had met at a now defunct bar here in Fayetteville called the Flaming Mug, one of the fellow amputees that had lost both arms needed to go to the bathroom to get rid of the consumed beer. He asked Les to help him and being the stand up guy Les is he abliged him. They were standing at the long urinal (sort of looks like a long sink) and Les was standing behind his chum after unzipping the fellow’s fly and taking his unit out and the guy was doing his urinating business. All of a sudden another non amputee patron came in the bathroom and like anyone else jumped to conclusions seeing Les standing behind this guy very closely.

   The guy shouted out some banter about Les being a “homo” and calling him a nasty word to anyone that sounded like the word “bag” with the “et” on the end of it.

    Les turned around and said “Look dude this GI has no arms see” the guy immediately felt bad and decided to “man up” and do his business while trying to save face.

     Sooooo…while standing at the urinal he started asking the armless fellow “so dude didya lose your arms in Naam”? The armless gent said no, “Les and I were both involved in a motorcycle accident. He lost his leg, Les showing his missing leg and I lost both arms, most terrible two bike accident ever” Of course this guy was like so “pie faced” amazed he didn’t dare ask anymore questions. Les zipped the fellow up and they walked out leaving the other fellow just stunned with amazement.

   I am sure theres more to the story, but to be honest with you I was laughing so hard at the sight of what this must of looked like to an outsider, Me included, and seeing Les demonstrate how he was standing and helping the fellow. I nearly blacked out from laughing so hard.

  Hope you laugh as hard as I did on this one…

  I love you dude, Les your truely a stand up guy and I’m glad your going to be the best man at my wedding….

Birthday Chit Chat September 3, 2007

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      Another year down in the books for this old man. Yes August 30th. has come and gone again and yes I’m another full year older.

     Each year I think back on previous years the benchmarks I did and didn’t make that year. I remember back when I was I’d say 10 years old my mom and dad came home with my twin sister’s birthday gifts yet still in brown paper bags ( back in the day of no choice of paper or plastic as plastic bags weren’t around then) one was very small while the other about 10 times larger.

   My dad asked us which do you want? Take your pick…I had first dibbs and picked the larger one…he handed it to me and handed my sis the smaller one. I opened mine and had a shiney new Barbie doll while Lynn had a great pocket knife.

    Yes i indeed learned my lesson that year to say the least.

   Over the years I can remember some more memorable moments while in others some I’d sooner forget. This one just a few days old was one of my better ones being I have a new family now and live close to some of my sibblings, Laura my youngest sister and her husband Jody came south a couple of hours to see me on sunday, while Lynn my twin sister came up from Tampa on saturday and spent the weekend with me. Its been several years since we’ve been together for our special event. The only hold out was my younger brother Tommy with a sick automobile coupled together with hunting season in South Carolina…I’d lay odds on the latter being the reason behind his “no showing”.

   We went to church on sunday morning with Lynn with us and came home to some grilling out and some of mom’s wonderful greek dishes.

   My now local high school DCT pal Les and his beautiful wife Debbie even stopped in for dinner with us to surprise Lynn being she hasn’t seen the likes of him since graduation in 1979. What a treat that was for us all.

 Next year maybe I will have talked Lynn into moving to the greater Fayetteville area and we can have yet another fine year.

   Knowing little sister is a subscriber to my posts, and the fact Lynn is staying with her tonight before flying back to Tampa..I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for coming to see me this year…I Love Yall Bunches sisters…