I don’t run marathons…however

I have never run a marathon, never really had any desire to. To me running is not fun or something I want to spend time doing. However, I do know people who have run marathons and half-marathons and I am amazed by their drive and persistence in accomplishing this feat.

I was reminded of this again this morning as I saw some tweets on twitter about the Walt Disney World Half Marathon being over today. This brought back memories of last year at this time when we were there.

My wife, Sharin,  completed her first half-marathon.2013-01-13 05.07.44

On the next day my daughter Amy, running with her friends Meggie and Anne, completed her first marathon.2013-01-13 12.45.48

I am still amazed and in awe of these achievements as I know they are far from easy and often painful and discouraging. The thrill and sense of achievement one feels after achieving this feat should never go away.

If you have completed one of these events and have lost that feeling of pride in your accomplishment, go back and think about all the sacrifices you went through to get there, days you did not want to get out and run, days when you were unable to run due to a nagging injury your doctor recommended you rest until it got well, days when it was raining and cold, or both, and you ran anyway. Look at any pictures you have of you with your medal after you finished and just be proud of what you accomplished.

Regarding those tweets I found myself congratulating people I didn’t even really know. I have followed @runDisney on twitter since last year and saw the posts and just felt like congratulating them. They deserve it. That is the thing I wanted to emphasize with this post. Even if you, like me, have never even considered running a marathon or half-marathon I encourage you to go watch one. Find a spot near the finish line and just watch. I guarantee you it will be something you will not soon, if ever, forget.

You will see all different types of people and all different types of stories. Everyone has one. You will see young people, middle aged people, and older, seasoned, people. Seeing them push through those last few steps and yards to reach the finish line will inspire you. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. All will make you cheer and by doing so you can share in their accomplishment.

If you are considering running either a half-marathon or marathon I read a book recently called You Can Go the Distance by Bruce Van Horn. I recommend this book to runners and non-runners alike. You will probably learn many things about how to prepare and run a marathon. You will also learn many things about how to run this marathon we are all running called life. One of the quotes from the book makes this point, “Marathon training is like life; it requires that you train in all conditions for all situations.”

I am not going to suggest or recommend you start preparing to run a marathon since I have no direct experience or desire to do so myself. If you are considering it though I say go for it! You will be glad you did. If you are looking for a good first marathon experience check out http://www.rundisney.com. Disney does know how to make anything fun and interesting and they don’t disappoint with these events.

If running is not your thing, I do understand that. I do recommend you go watch one sometime though. It will change your perspective for any future marathons you see in the news. Find someone you know training or running one and go support them.

Congratulations to all runners running this weekend or if you have run and completed one of these in the past. Be proud of your accomplishment and use the lessons you have learned about running and yourself in all other areas of your life.

Until next time…

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Shopping Can Be Fun

Jaclyn Smith_StanJust reminiscing a little bit today about what we were doing a year ago and a few things I learned.

I am sure most of you have your own stories about shopping – good and bad. This is one shopping experience I was fortunate to participate in one year ago today and it was a good one (Understatement #1).

Shopping can be fun!

It started on November 23, 2012 when I entered a contest on the Sears/Kmart Shop Your Way Rewards web site. The contest said,

You could win a trip to LA and a shopping spree with Jaclyn Smith!

I enter contests regularly and often. I figure someone has to win these things and it might as well be me. Of course that doesn’t always happen but I have learned that I don’t win every contest I don’t enter.


Of course I had been a fan of Jaclyn Smith for many years. I think I was in junior high school when Charlie’s Angels was one of the most popular shows on TV and I suspect most boys my age were fans. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world. It would be before Christmas and we did need to do some Christmas shopping,

It seemed like a no-brainer to me.

To say I was surprised when I received a phone call on November 27th telling me I had won would not be accurate. I was shocked! (Understatement #2) After talking with Sharin for about 2 minutes we decided we would go after we confirmed the details and this was really real. It was one of those moments when you think, “Is this really happening?” or “This is too good to be true. It can’t be happening to me.”

Alabama to LAX

Well, it was really real and on Monday, December 10th we flew from Alabama to LAX, drove to the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City, which is located at the entrance to Universal Studios. After checking in and getting settled we walked around Universal City Walk and had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

You might be thinking, “You were at Universal Studios. Why didn’t you go to the park?” Well, we had already planned to drive to Disneyland while we were there so we were saving our energy and our money. Our original thought was we would go on Monday after we arrived but we decided to wait until Tuesday, after our shopping spree, since we expected that would not last much longer than the allotted hour. That expectation proved to be false in the best sort of way.

Exceeded Expectations

Well, Tuesday arrived and we arrived at the Kmart a little before 10:00 as planned. Everything that happened after that was both surreal and real at the same time. Never having spent much time with a celebrity, (Understatement #3), we were not sure what to expect. We expected it would be an enjoyable once-in-a-lifetime experience, of course, but the time would be limited according to the itinerary. We were wrong. It was an amazing day, far beyond anything we could have expected. Here is a link to a short video Kmart created. We did get the Christmas tree mentioned in the video.

Jaclyn Smith Christmas Tree_2012-12-20 02.50.08

Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

I know this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jaclyn. I mean really, how often does she get to meet a couple from the other LA (Lower Alabama) and go Christmas shopping at the Burbank Kmart with them? I expect this was the first and last time, thus, the once-in-a-lifetime description fits. I am sure she would agree. She did say “it was a highlight of the season meeting the two of you.”

Shopping Couple from LA_IMG_1423 (2)

In case you were wondering, it was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.

What Did I Learn?

I knew that Jaclyn Smith was a beautiful woman. I learned that Jaclyn Smith is a beautiful person.

I was reminded it takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to make an event like this work and look effortless for those participating. There are many that deserve thanks for this. Kim, Leah, Shana, Amanda, Rena, and Clarine – you all made us feel special and made our day special. Thank you all again. To the local Kmart folks – Mark and Victor – thank you again for your Southern (California) hospitality.

The St. Jude Christmas Bear Ornament

While watching Brooke shop for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital I learned Kmart is their number one retail supporter. That was fun to watch too.

I learned that shopping can be fun, especially when you are pushing the buggy (shopping USA_JACLYN SMITHcart for anyone confused) for two of the most beautiful women in the world and they are doing what women do while shopping – talking, laughing and having fun. It was definitely a win-win for me.

I learned that Jaclyn Smith is a prophet. On the autographed photo she signed before we went shopping and shown above she said, “I know we will have fun today.” She was right!

After the shopping was done

Probably the coolest part was after the shopping was done – her commitment was complete – she invited us back to have lunch with her, Rena, and Clarine, her team. She did not have to do that. She could have just used the down time to relax but she chose to spend it with us. That was special and will not be forgotten.USA_JACLYN SMITH

We ate lunch and just talked for probably an hour or more about kids, pets, new cars, etc. – just life like most people talk about. She was concerned about her new car that her husband was driving that day. She is a breast cancer survivor so she talked about that and the importance of the annual exams. We talked about Sharin’s upcoming Disney Half-Marathon in January as well as the Ability First Stroll and Roll event she was planning to participate in to support children and adults with special needs.

I learned Jaclyn Smith is a very nice down to earth person, mother, wife and humanitarian in addition to being one of the most beautiful and gifted models and actresses in the world.

You don’t have to fly to Los Angeles and go shopping with Jaclyn Smith to have fun shopping. Although, if you do ever get this opportunity I highly recommend it (Understatement #4).

It is the Giving Season

When you are shopping and looking for that perfect gift enjoy the time with the person you are shopping with and imagine the joy you will receive when you see the recipient open that gift. When you receive a gift remember that joy you received and accept any gift you receive with gratitude and allow the gift giver to experience that joy as well.

I just saw a quote from Andy Andrews about giving that fits well here I believe,

“Giving is an unbelievable action that continues to produce returns that are unexpected in nature.”

Just a note

If you look at my profile picture and the smile on my face you now know why I was smiling so much. I was having a good time shopping!


And, just in case you were wondering, we did make it to Disneyland too.



Until next time…Happy Shopping!

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 12/11/2013




Since this is Thanksgiving Week I thought writing about the holiday and some things I am thankful for would be appropriate. I expect this will be the only blog post on that subject this week so it should really stand out…NOT.

Anyway, I talked it over with all three of us (me, myself and I) and that that is what we decided to do.

The reason I distinguish between the Thanksgiving holiday and giving thanks I see those as two uniquely different events that intersect at this time of the year. It is really nothing other than my peculiar perspective at work again I suspect.

Thanksgiving – The Holiday

I don’t expect and have really never seen, except on TV or in the movies, everyone or really any one giving a grand Thanksgiving speech on what they are thankful for over the past year. It just hasn’t happened that way in my experience.

I do enjoy the holiday, getting together with family that we don’t get to see as much as we would like and eating turkey and dumplings and sweet potato (not pumpkin) pie. I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving and expect will have more after this week.

If you are expecting secret family recipes here then you will be disappointed. I know of none. My role has always been the consumer in this situation, not the manufacturer. Someone has to do it and it is a role I have practiced for many years. I believe I am pretty good at it. It is one of my callings. How would it make all the cooks feel if there was no one there to eat what they had prepared?

The First Thanksgiving…and a few more

I remember our first Thanksgiving together on my side of the family at Aunt Edna’s. Sharin and I were dating at the time. When it was time to eat I got up to go eat as I had always done. I had not mentioned to Sharin that it was our tradition for all the men to eat first, then the women because I had not given it a second thought. It was how we had always done it so I assumed everyone did it that way. Well, Sharin explained to me later that was not true. We did survive that Thanksgiving and 30+ since that one as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage next August. It is one we often talk about at this time of year though.

I have many good memories of Thanksgiving with Sharin’s family. Her mother would be cooking cakes and pies for days and it was always a fun time getting together with the entire Clark family. I miss those a lot. She enjoyed getting ready for Thanksgiving, probably only second to Christmas. We had turkey & dumplings, lemon pie, and later sweet potato pie when she learned that was my favorite. I was, after all, her favorite son-in-law (for those who might not know I was also her only son-in-law).

They were differences in the way our extended families celebrated Thanksgiving but there were also many similarities. Both had turkey, dumplings and lots of desserts. Both included getting together with family and catching up as well as naps in the afternoon before we would go back for leftovers. We had to rest up to get ready to eat again.

I Miss the People

I miss those times because of the people that are no longer with us. We can and will eat regardless of what day it is but it is the people that I miss the most, my parents and grandparents, Sharin’s parents and grandparents. We will see them all again one day but I wish we could see them here this Thursday.

Now, we are at the stage of life where we are excited to have our children who are not living with us come home and spending time with them. That is the highlight of the holidays now for us. The eating is necessary and still very enjoyable but it is secondary. It probably always was but we are now wise enough to realize that truth. We get together with brothers and sisters and their families as we continue to grow. We are expecting to add at least a couple new members next year.

Thanksgiving – Giving Thanks

The giving thanks part of Thanksgiving is done and having the holiday itself provides an emphasis for all to give thanks. I believe that is a good thing. However, giving thanks should be something we do on the 364 Un-Thanksgiving days every year as well.

Here are some of the things and people I am thankful for

* My Salvation – I thank God for the gift of salvation, sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to live and to die in my place and then to rise again and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven and lives in my heart.

* My family that I have been blessed with – Sharin, Sarah, Amy, Rachel, Thomas and Tyler. To borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey, I am doing much “better than I deserve.” I am thankful for that.

My Family
My family on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom

* Salvation for my family – I know that when we are done passing through this place call planet earth we will see each other again in Heaven. I look forward to seeing parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and others who are already there and then those that will follow after I am gone. This is the hope and promise we have as Christians.

* My extended family – Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, In-laws, Out-laws, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews – too many to try to name but I am thankful for having them all in my life.

* Friends – I am also blessed by many more friends than I deserve both old and new friendships that have just begun this year. Thanks to all of you for being part of my life and allowing me to call you friend.

* Health – I have been blessed so far on this journey called life with good health.

* Job – I am thankful for a job that helps provide for my family that I actually enjoy. I know many do not have jobs in today’s economy and many that do don’t enjoy the jobs they do have.

* Freedom of expression to be able to live, worship, and express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions. This is something we, as Americans, often do take for granted. If we continue to do that we might wake up one day and realize they no longer exist.

* YOU – If you are reading this I am thankful for YOU for taking the time to stop by here and read the thoughts I assemble here from time to time.

I could go on for quite some time but I think you get the point. I am blessed far beyond anything I could ever earn or deserve. I am thankful for these blessings on Thanksgiving but also on every other day of the year as well.

I am reminded of the old hymn Count Your Blessings written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you, what the Lord has done! If you are not familiar with this hymn or if you just want to here it now you can click Guy Penrod and he will sing it for you.

One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes also fits here I think, 

and by far, the most life changing.

Zig Ziglar_Attitude of Gratitude
Zig Ziglar – Attitude of Gratitude ~Ziglar.com

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Un-Thanksgiving too!

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Do You Like the Bible?

Do you like the Bible?

I didn’t ask if you read the Bible or if you believe what the Bible says. I asked if you like the Bible. Think about that for a few seconds.

I recently discovered an author and speaker, Keith Ferrin, who suggests that many of us don’t really like the Bible. We read it out of an obligation or habit but we don’t really like it, not really. If that doesn’t apply to you or if you are completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus Christ through his love letter to you, the Bible, then there is no reason for you to read any further. Continue reading Do You Like the Bible?

Outrageously Good


The Outrageous Life

In the OUTRAGEOUS life Dwayne Morris challenges the reader, and himself as well I believe, to live the outrageous life that God has planned for us instead of settling for any plan we can devise and try to execute on our own. God’s plan is always better and we have to have the faith to trust God that his plan is the best for us. That statement sounds weird but it is how most of us live our lives, thinking we know better than God. This book WILL challenge you – so if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you look for something different. Continue reading Outrageously Good

Unfinished…but Jones is back!

This is a first for me. Not the fact I am writing about a book I have read on my blog, but the fact I am writing about a book I am still reading on my blog. I just reached the 50% point reading The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews on my Kindle and am enjoying the book so much I could not wait to finish the book before sharing some of my thoughts. I want you to get your own copy and enjoy this book too. That makes this an unfinished book review, but Jones is back! Continue reading Unfinished…but Jones is back!

April 10, 2005 – Revisit

April 10, 2005 is a date our family will never forget. Our two oldest daughters, Sarah and Amy were coming home from Dairy Queen, the unofficial Sunday night after church meeting place for our family and church at that time, and were hit head on by a drunk driver.

Sarah has written about this experience lately as only she can since she was the one driving and experienced this like no one else. She is doing a wonderful job describing what she went through and she is a much better writer than me so I am just going to let her speak for herself.

I am always amazed when I think of all she and Amy went through and how they both have handled it. They have taught me and others much from their actions. I am a very proud father as I expect their Heavenly Father is as well. Here is their story.

Be Careful What You Pray For

April 10, 2005 I was driving home from church with my little sister, and we were hit head-on by a drunk driver passing in a no-passing zone along a two-lane highway. Over the next month or so, I would like to use my posts on Fridays to share this story with you because I need to remember how faithful God has been in my life, and I need to share the story of his faithfulness with others… to continue reading  click here

April 10, 2005

The Accident

Writing about what happened that Sunday night has always been hard because I never know where to begin or how much to include. So bear with me.

After church on Sunday evenings we would always go to our local Dairy Queen, but this Sunday, I had a strong feeling that I shouldn’t go. I ignored it. To continue reading click here

The Hospital

After I was life flighted to a hospital in St. Louis, it was all kind of a blur–probably because the nurses gave me my first couple of doses of morphine…to continue reading click here

Hospital Life Lessons

One can learn a lot from an extended stay in the hospital. Here are my top ten lessons. To read more click here

A Change of Heart

Since I was hit by a drunk driver we had to go through a criminal trial against, Mr. Vancil, the man who hit me and my sister. This meant seeing him–which I wasn’t sure how I would handle. To read more click here


The Waffle Iron Anniversary

If you were to google “traditional anniversary gifts” you would probably not see Waffle Iron as one of the traditional gifts. I know. I looked,

I also didn’t see vacuum cleaner (still not convinced I did that), bowling balls or truck stop dinners either. Yet my wife, Sharin and I (and yes her name is spelled correctly), have experienced all of these in our marriage so far and we are still married.

Yes, I am a real romantic.

I am often reminded of songs when thinking about life or some songs remind me of life so I have included links to some I thought were appropriate here. They often express my feelings better than I can myself. With that in mind I think the old Alabama song that goes, “She and I live in our own little world, ain’t it wonderful” describes us pretty well. The video is pretty funny too.

On August 25th we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary and this one will be known as the waffle iron anniversary for us. You see, I did ask Sharin what she wanted for our anniversary this year and she said a new waffle iron. So, even though I do like to surprise her with gifts from time to time I have learned (maybe) over the past 33+ years we have been together that sometimes, probably more than I would like to admit, it is best just to forego the surprise and get her what she asks for, if she asks for something. Sharin has learned, I think, I am not a mind reader so if there is something she does want it is better to be just let me know what it is and if there is any way I can get it for her she knows I will.waffle-iron

So there will be no surprise when the waffle iron arrives from Amazon.com this week. She even picked out the one she wanted. I am looking forward to her using it myself.

We have given and received some of the traditional anniversary gifts over the years. For our first anniversary we tried the tradition of keeping some of your wedding cake, freezing it, and then eating it on your first anniversary. That was not very good and a tradition that could be discontinued in my opinion.

For our 25th anniversary we skipped ahead to the traditional 50th anniversary gift and to Dixie, our golden retriever.


Dixie has a sense of humor too!
Dixie has a sense of humor too!

The bowling ball anniversary was also in Birmingham and she got bowling shoes too and we went bowling. There is that romantic side of me showing up again.

We spent the weekend in St. Louis one year and went to see the Cardinals and Braves play baseball and went on a riverboat dinner cruise. That was a lot of fun even though it rained one game. We still enjoyed the time together and the game. I don’t remember if we were singing or not. Singing in the Rain works here in any case.

We went to Pasadena to see Alabama play and get beat by UCLA in the Rose Bowl one year but we were with good friends so that was a good time too, except for the loss, which is never fun.

The vacuum cleaner anniversary was really a year I don’t think we got each other anything but I did get the vacuum cleaner in July or August and probably did jokingly mention it was her anniversary present. It was our first Oreck! There is my warped sense of humor showing up again.

I cannot remember them all but do remember when it occurs every year, something I understand some men have a problem with.

What I do remember and thank God for every day is Sharin and the fact has put up with me and my warped sense of humor, flaws and shortcomings for the last 29 years of marriage. That is evidence to me that “It was no accident, me finding you. Someone had a hand in it long before we ever knew.” ~ Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd

I know I am a better person as a direct result of having her in my life. She has been and continues to be the best mother our children could have asked for and the best wife I could have asked for and my best friend. I married way above my head and continue to be Amazed! “I don’t know how you do what you do. It just keeps getting better.” ~Lonestar

We have created many memories together over the past 29 years of marriage. Has it been perfect? No. I would be lying and you wouldn’t believe me if I said it was. We have learned marriage is a 100%/100% partnership, not 50%/50% as some describe it and you have to work at it and be committed to it in order for it to work.

I look forward to the next 29+ years, or as long as she will have me, as we will create many more memories, hopefully more good than bad. We are still learning, growing, and living life as we know it. As Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty put it and I paraphrase, I am in it for the long haul – until they put me in the ground. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know what love is, a new song by Lonestar, does a very good job of expressing my feelings too.

So there you have the story of the Waffle Iron Anniversary and a little bit about us in less than 1000 words, not counting the song lyrics.

Old habits die hard. There is still a chance she might get a little surprise I think she might like before the week is over. We’ll see.

Note: If you did not click on the links go back and do so to get the full musical effect intended for this musically enhanced blog. 

Until next time…

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Selective Forgetfulness

You have no doubt heard about selective hearing, which is just acknowledging what you want to acknowledge regarding what someone else has tried to communicate to you. You may not have heard of selective forgetfulness but I am sure you have experienced it. Let me try to explain.

Consider professional golfers

Professional golfers that achieve the highest level of success have the ability to forget or un-remember their bad shots and move on to the next shot. Their ability to just play one shot at a time and not be 2 or 3 or more shots or even holes ahead of themselves in their mind is what helps them perform at the highest level and win championships.

Amateur and weekend golfers, or two or three times a year golfers, like me, tend to remember our bad shots the entire round and that helps us create more bad shots to remember. One builds on another which builds on another to help us reach the high scores that remind us we are not as good as professionals, even if we did stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before.

Of course their hours of deliberate practice, dedicated golf coaches and psychological coaches are factors also, but as Bobby Jones once said, 

The professionals have learned to forget what they don’t need to remember and focus on the good shots they want to repeat, or selective forgetfulness.

Consider historical events

Historical events need to be remembered so we can learn from them and not repeat the errors or mistakes made in the past. You might not have been alive when the holocaust occurred but if this had not been removed from your history books when you went to school you probably learned about it. Twenty years ago this would probably not need to be stated but the holocaust was a horrific event that should never be allowed to happen again.

Most people maybe 15-16 years old or older remember something about 9/11/01 and the death and horror caused by the Muslim terrorists. Sadly this attack by cowards, which happened not yet 12 years ago, is fading from the consciousness or memories of many. This event is not remembered and heeded as a warning that Muslims that have the same beliefs as those terrorists still exist today and want to kill anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs as much as they did on 9/11/01.

Whenever I go through security at an airport I am reminded this event has changed how we live in America.

Many have selective forgetfulness about both of these events and think they can never happen again. However, if events such as these are not remembered they can and will happen again. History does repeat itself.

Consider political events

Congress currently has an approval rating of around 13% the last time I looked. It could be even lower by the time you read this. However, even with this ridiculously low approval rating of the job they are doing it would not be surprising to see 60, 70, or even 80% of the existing congressmen that the people are supposedly unhappy with be re-elected in their next election.

How does that make any sense at all?

This is an instance when people seem to forget why they are unhappy with the performance of their representative or senator at election time. This is due, in part to their selected forgetfulness, but also due to some local project that has received funding from a bill that has nothing to do with that project. Think pork and not “the other white meat” kind. The recent farm bill that was really a food stamp bill is just one of thousands of examples of this.

Forgive and forget?

The forgiveness often comes but the forgetting part is much harder to achieve for us mere mortals.

Often, although we say we have forgiven someone for something we hang on to that memory and pull it out again during some unrelated discussion or argument many years later.

I know I have veered off my subject a little bit here with forgiveness. Please forgive me. That will likely be another subject for another day. I am trying to focus on the forgetting part of that phrase here.

Since I am here though, the way God handles forgiveness is the example we should all strive for.

That is something I don’t believe humans can achieve but we can strive for in our relationships with others.

Meanwhile, back at the blog…

Consider life events

There is a life event I am reminded of every year about this time and it happened 29 years ago. It was Saturday, August 18, 1984, a date that is easy to remember for me. I was at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. I was following my favorite golfer and also the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus at the PGA Championship. I remember that round pretty well. Jack hit 17 of the 18 greens in regulation but could not make a put. Well, he did make one putt and shot 1 under par 71. He went on to shoot 69 on Sunday and tie for 25th. Lee Trevino actually won the tournament that year, another of my favorites.

Funny thing is, my wife remembers that weekend pretty well too and she wasn’t even with me.

Sharin driving her convertible.
Sharin driving her convertible

Actually she wasn’t even my wife at that particular time. She was still my fiancé and was in Enterprise, Alabama putting the finishing touches on the plans for our wedding, which would take place the following Saturday, August 25, 1984. That is how I can remember the dates so well.

She had obviously given me her blessing to go to the PGA or I would not have been there. I had complete confidence that she had everything under control with the wedding plans. However, it has been a source of conversation over the past 29 years when August comes around.

This is an event that I have not forgotten but I have learned my lesson and will never do this again. Of course I never plan to get married again either.


A golf ball.
A golf ball. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many of my life events that are marked by golf. I played quite a bit of golf between the ages of 11 and 22 and have been a spectator and fan for the most part, playing only a few times a year since then.

April 10, 2005 was the final day of The Masters and a life changing day for our family. I did not get to see the end of the final round live since it was not over before I went to church. I had a deacon’s meeting after church and Sharin, still my wife, was working the second shift in the Blood Bank at the hospital. Sarah and Amy were going to Dairy Queen, which was a traditional after church meeting place for many church members.

I had come home with our two youngest children, Rachel and Thomas, ages 10 and 9 at the time, and was eating a salad and about to watch the end of the tournament I had recorded when I received a phone call around 9:00 PM from Amy, telling me her and her sister Sarah, had been in an accident. Amy was 15 and Sarah 17 at the time. Her voice was a little shaky because she was shaken up and worried about her sister still trapped in the car on the side of a hill. I would like to be able to forget this event because I wish it had never happened but that is not possible.

I don’t want to go into any more details of this event now; maybe later. However, Sarah is writing about this now in her blog Be Careful What you Pray For if you want to read more. I highly recommend it. She is a much better writer than me.

So, how is your memory?

Memory and how good it is can be viewed from different perspectives. Being able to remember everything can be good. Being able to forget some things or selected forgetfulness can be good. It is like many other things though. We often cannot remember what we need to remember and forget what we need to forget at the time we need to do either.

Now, if I could just remember the point I was trying to make when I started this post.

Until next time…

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It was all started by a…rabbit?

You may or may not have heard that quote. If you are a Disney fan as I am I suspect you have. I happen to be wearing a shirt with that quote as I write this. Walt Disney did say that and it is true but is it really the whole truth?

It all depends on what you use as the starting point in time. Mickey Mouse is the character that allowed Walt and Roy Disney to jump start the Walt Disney Company in 1928 and is still one of the most recognizable corporate icons in existence today. Practically everyone has heard of Mickey Mouse and that speaks to the impact that Walt Disney has made in our culture and our world today.

English: Portrait of Walt Disney, 1 January 19...
English: Portrait of Walt Disney, 1 January 1954 Here is a picture of Walter Disney cropped from a NASA photograph. Deutsch: Walt Disney, 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




There is no doubt about that. However, if you backtrack just a little from that point in time, there is another story that many may not know. To borrow a phrase from Paul Harvey, here is “the rest of the story.”



The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was a partnership started by Roy and Walt Disney in 1923. They created cartoons but to get those cartoons distributed to an audience where they could be seen, and produce income, they had to work with other companies, such as Universal Studios. Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was a character created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and several Oswald cartoons were produced in 1927 and 1928. Oswald was the first character that also generated merchandising income for the company with an Oswald candy bar, stencil set, and pinback button.

They were producing the cartoons ahead of schedule, one every 16 days when the contract only required one every three weeks. As he was always striving to produce a better product the cost of the Oswald cartoons was increasing and his current contract to produce the cartoons would be ending soon Walt and his wife, Lillian, traveled to New York to talk with Disney’s distributor at Universal, Charles Mintz, about the new contract.

Negotiations did not go well

During these meetings he learned that Mintz was in the process of hiring his animators, was offering a reduction in the price currently being paid for the cartoons and ultimately wanted to take over the Disney company and have Walt and Roy work for him. He had believed that Walt, since he was not actually doing the animation any more, was expendable.  Walt tried to negotiate a new contract with another distributor but learned since he did not own the rights to Oswald he could not take him to a new distributor. So, as he and Lillian left New York for the long train ride back to California, he had no character to draw when his current contract ended, only a few employees left, who had not deserted him for Universal, and a very uncertain future.

What Next?

As he left New York in March 1928 Walt Disney had made a vow to himself to never work for anyone again and in the future he would have complete control over his work, which, in his line of work was his characters. His problem was he had no character he could call his own. He was 23 years old, recently married, July 13, 1925, and without a job for the most part, and had been deserted by what he had thought were loyal employees.

What happened next changed the world(s) as we know it.

There are different versions of the story of how Mickey Mouse came to be Mickey Mouse. The most common is that during the cross country train ride west, Walt, trying to create a new character, began drawing a mouse. When Lillian saw the sketches she asked him what he was going to name it and he said Mortimer. While working in Kansas City he had caught several mice in the animation studio there and had one that would even run around on his drawing table that he fed and had given the name Mortimer. She did not like that name and suggested Mickey.

Concept art of Mickey from early 1928; the ske...
Concept art of Mickey from early 1928; the sketches are the earliest known drawings of the character. From the collection of The Walt Disney Family Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Ub Iwerks was one of the animators that stuck with the Disneys and would become the animator for Mickey Mouse. He drew more than 700 drawing per day working on the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. This also had to be done in secret since the animators leaving were still there finishing their contracts for the Oswald cartoons.

Mickey Mouse made his debut in Plane Crazy on May 15, 1928, less than two months after the meeting in New York and the defection of his animators.


Walt Disney with a collection of Charlotte Cla...
Walt Disney with a collection of Charlotte Clark Mickey Mouse dolls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rest, as they say, is history. Walt Disney had learned from his experience with Oswald and Universal and would not make those mistakes again. He did control all rights to Mickey Mouse and he parlayed that into a merchandising success that was as innovative as it was successful and still is today. We have in the past and still do enjoy  in that success. See Disney…Is It Worth The Cost if you want to know more about that.

What would you do?

What do you do when you face a failure or roadblock in your life or career? Do you throw your hands up in despair and hold your own pity party? Walt Disney was able to take this major setback and, at the ripe young age of 23, employ his vision and perseverance to create what is arguably the most recognizable character and franchise in the world. Most of us will not duplicate that feat but we can learn from his experience and apply it in our own lives. His ‘never give up’ spirit propelled him to the next leg of his journey in his career and that did literally change the world and is still changing people’s lives today. This was just one hurdle he faced in building the company many of us love today.

Walt Disney express his thoughts on failures and setbacks seem applicable here to me.

“It is good to have a failure while you’re young because it teaches you so much. For one thing it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you’ve lived through the worst, you’re never quite as vulnerable afterward.”

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

I believe we do learn best from our own mistakes and failures but if we can also learn from someone else’s experiences that can help us move down the path toward our goals too. It might help us to avoid a few hurdles and might also save a tooth or two.

Oswald is back home now

As a postscript to the Oswald dilemma, although he did not live to see it, the Walt Disney Company did acquire the licensing rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 2006 in a deal with NBC that included a trade for Al Michaels to be able to do sports broadcasting on NBC. That seems fitting to me and just to show my support I bought my first Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cap this week.


I hope you enjoyed the Disney history and the life lesson we all need from time to time to never give up, regardless of the circumstances.





Until next time…as Mickey would say, “See ya real soon! heh heh”

Until next time…

Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 7/7/2013


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