Saturday, June 29, 2019
I am remiss in writing down my observations as they occur, but today I sat down to save some thoughts before they slipped from memory.
Saturday morning I routinely visit my gym around 8 right as they open. I find things less congested and other gym mates at that hour are a little more serious about their work. Wherever my schedule takes me, my nature is just to observe the goings on around me. And this Saturday did not disappoint. I'll share just one that came near the end of my workout. I ended up in a room upstairs with ellipticals and other cardio machines. The room overlooks the expanse of both the lap/competition pool and the larger recreational pool with big slides and a river walk. I jumped on a machine and quickly noticed a couple I've mentioned before. John and Lisa are in their 80's and are in the gym frequently. They do everything together. I watched as they finished their cardio, Lisa moved to one corner that has a view of both pools below. John then moved this squishy balancing dome into the corner. He held Lisa's hand as she stepped on to it and then moved behind her. The object is to stand in the middle and maintain your balance -- very important for aging seniors. As Lisa stood atop the dome, John kept his hand in the small of her back the entire 5-10 minutes as she balanced. If she wavered at all, he stood ready to catch her fall. It was a simple expression of love and caring, largely going unnoticed as the patrons looked at their phones and sweated away. I so wanted to capture that moment with a photo, as I knew written words couldn't adequately describe this kindness.
On the way to the gym that morning, I took a scenic route I often use along Silver Creek. This tree lined street winds along past a beautiful waterway and the homes are dramatic. Few were out this early Saturday morning, but then I see this husband and wife walking with their little daughter. Mom and Dad were on either side of this young girl and she looked just jubilant as she held their hands as she almost swung along. I know -- it's a Hallmark Moment. But the parents must have made an active decision to get out and spend time with her. Not all kids get that attention. I was glad I took that route today.
That scene jolted a flashback to Scottsdale where I started my first wholesale position in the apparel business. I'd taken a job with a hot up and coming sportswear company run by a guy who'd been my rep when I was a buyer. I was having a ball and doing great business. I was, however, away from home 20 weeks or more that first year. After about six months my boss and friend called me into his office in the Empire State Building on a Friday morning. I was about to leave for JFK to head home. The meeting was brief. The Boss, David: How's your wife taking your travel? (David had 7 kids -- He understood) I responded that she seemed OK (we had 2 boys 22 months apart -- they were a handful)
David: I'm giving you 2 orders on this:
1. DO NOT lay around and sleep on the couch Saturdays. Get up & do things with those boys.
2. Find a good babysitter and take your wife to dinner someplace nice every Saturday night -- and send me the bill! (Wouldn't happen today)
I took Dave's advice & it made the weekends a bright spot for us and after a few weeks we started toasting with our wine glasses - "Here's to Dave!"
Whether it's your spouse or your kids, you just get one chance to show your love as you go down life's highway. I'm confident I've done that. During my work career I took every opportunity to include my spouse on travel. We had some great times around the US and overseas. Wouldn't change a thing.
I've got a close friend who's fighting a courageous battle with cancer. We've reconnected the last 2 years and he ends almost all his emails with this line - Johnny, love your family!