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

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.

IMG_20130705_162706

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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Disney…Is it worth the cost?

Have you ever bought anything and then had “buyer’s remorse”, wishing you hadn’t bought it or that you had waited to make your buying decision? I know I have. However, I have learned over the years as I get older and hopefully wiser, at least in some areas, that if you wait for some period of time, whether that is a day, a week, a month or longer, you often find that item you were about to exchange your hard-earned dollars for is not something you really have to have. Often, your “I have to have that” mindset changes to “I might get that later” or “I will wait until it goes on sale” or “I really don’t want to spend my money on that” to “I found something else I want more.”

Items differ, desires are more common

We all have desires or wants for things we do not have at times. We could see an ad on TV or on the internet for the latest cell phone, newest iPad, golf club, pocket hose, latest diet fad, or bass-o-matic blender. We are the most marketed to generation that has ever existed on planet earth and these marketers are good at what they do.

Disney is one of the best in the world

The Walt Disney Company is one of the best marketing organizations in the world. They are very good at determining what their customers or guests want and then providing that product or service  in a manner that is second to  none. Walt Disney World, in my opinion, is the crown jewel of the Disney Empire. If you have ever visited Walt Disney World then you know that a pass to enter any of the parks there is not inexpensive, especially if you are taking a family of 6, which is what we often did. You do pay a premium price for a premium entertainment experience.

We have visited Walt Disney World too many times to count. We did live in Florida for nine years and had Florida Resident annual passes which allowed us to go multiple times a year. Our oldest daughter went before she was born, when my wife was pregnant with her. We got her a Mickey Mouse plush doll  she still has today. She turns 26 next month.

27 years and no buyer’s remorse

In all the trips we have made to The Magic Kingdom over the past 27 years, I have never once had a feeling of not getting our money’s worth. There are not many places I know of which that statement could be applied to and be true. We have spent a lot of money there, too much of that to count as well. You cannot put a price on the first time your children see Mickey and Minnie, Chip and Dale, Cinderella in her castle or Goofy, although he was kind of scary at first because of his size.

Magical Place, Where Dreams Do Come True

It really is a magical place and not just for the kids. That was part of Walt Disney’s goal – to make entertainment enjoyable for kids and for the kid in all of us adults too.

Regarding Disneyland, Walt Disney said, “I felt there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together.” He succeeded in building that place and his dream of Walt Disney World was honored and completed with Roy’s leadership, who died just two months after it was opened.

It is a magical place for me too. I have always been amazed, first at the art of animation that started with Roy and Walt Disney when they started the company in 1923, to the magic of Disneyland and  Walt Disney World and the feeling I get when I step inside the gates. I really am transported to a different world. I can leave the “real world” behind for a few hours and enjoy time with my family and the magic created there. That is priceless and hard for anyone who hasn’t been there, and even some who have, to understand.

I guess some of that magic has rubbed off on our children as they still love to go whenever possible and our oldest daughter, mentioned above, is now a cast member. My family surprised me with a trip they had planned for us to celebrate my 50th birthday in 2011. It was the best gift ever.

The Family - My 50th Birthday Trip
The Family – My 50th Birthday Trip

 

Me, Roy and Minnie - New Year's Eve Eve 2011
Me, Roy and Minnie – New Year’s Eve Eve 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In retrospect, I do wish I would have been wiser in how we paid for many of those trips and not resorted to the “American way” of putting it on a credit card and paying for it later but I still would not take back or undo any of those trips because they are such a big part of our lives and memories…good memories.

No Regrets

What I am trying to say is I have never left Walt Disney World with any regrets or buyer’s remorse for the dollars we have spent. My only regret when we leave is that we are leaving. We are often trying to plan our next trip on the way home.

This is not meant to be an advertisement for Walt Disney World but it is an endorsement. If you have never been then I do recommend you go if at all possible. Some people actually do not like it. I really cannot understand that but it is true. My purpose in writing this is just to try to give you a sense of my love for the place, respect for the men who created it, and fascination for the history  of how it all came to be.

As for the history, I have read several biographies of Walt Disney and have one on Roy Disney on my bookshelf now to read as well. I am actually in the midst of reading Walt Disney by Neal Gabler now. Since this is one of my interests, some would say obsession, I expect you will see more blogs about Walt, Roy, the history of Disney, lessons I have learned from studying their lives, and some of the new developments there too.

The reason I hold these men and this place in such high esteem is what they have meant to our family. I also believe there are many lessons to learn by studying more about successful people and how they became successful and I obviously believe there are many lessons we can learn from the Disneys.

Imagination, Perseverance, Innovation, Attention to Detail, Pursuit of Excellence, Love of Country

I am fascinated and amazed by the imagination, perseverance, innovation, attention to detail, and constant pursuit of excellence exhibited by the Disney brothers. Those are qualities that will serve anyone well in whatever they do. We all benefit from their successes and failures today. They changed their generation and continue to impact our culture today, 40+ years since they both died.

Since it almost July 4th I am also reminded that Walt Disney had a great love of country that is on display throughout his life and career that continues to be displayed by The Disney Company today. “And actually, if you could see close in my eyes,” Walt Disney said, “the American flag is waving in both of them, and up my spine is growing this red, white, and blue stripe.”

Regarding The Disney Company Walt Disney is quoted as saying “It was all started by a mouse.” Regarding movies, he said, “I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all  of us, whether we be six or sixty.” As I am much closer to 60 now than 6 I hope that my ‘inner child’ does not disappear when I do reach sixty.

Regarding Disneyland, from which Walt Disney World and the other Disney Parks around the world originated, he said, “It all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.”

As for this daddy, with three daughters and a son, and now a son-in-law too, I am thankful that we can enjoy the realization of “One Man’s Dream”. We are forever in Walt and Roy Disney’s debt because the fun and memories we have made and now share are priceless to us so, yes, it has been well worth the cost for us.

Whenever I see Mickey Mouse or Walt Disney or the entrance to Walt Disney World or Cinderella’s Castle or the train station something is triggered in my brain that causes me to smile and think of the many good times shared there with my family. For that I am very thankful.

Here is one last picture, for now anyway, of Walt watching over the Magic Kingdom.

Walt watching over the Magic Kingdom
Walt watching over the Magic Kingdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a magical day!

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.

You do really care and it does matter

question-markWe are in the car, ready to go eat and the question is asked, “Where do you want to go? What do you want to eat?” Ever been there?

Does this sound familiar to you?

If you have and your family is anything like mine you will hear the following answers. “I don’t care” and “It doesn’t matter to me.”

If you are anything like me, and believe words mean things, then you are thinking to yourself, well ok, then I get to choose so you start naming options and, just to see if it does really matter and if anyone does really care you say, “How about McDonald’s?”

(McDonald’s is never our first choice but when on the road you make choices of convenience sometimes and it is often used to make a point as in this situation.)

From somewhere in the back of the care you hear, “No. I don’t like McDonald’s.” or “Anywhere but McDonald’s.”

Not McDonald’s

I  know for our family McDonald’s will not be in the mix for sometime since two of us got food poisoning from a McDonald’s on the way to our vacation beach destination a couple of years ago allowing us to “enjoy” an ambulance ride and spend some quality time in the Savannah Memorial Hospital, and the rest of our vacation in bed, but that is another story for another day.

Back to the subject

So, naturally, my response is “So you do really care and it does matter.” Has that ever happened in your family?

It is not a big deal, just curious to know if it is just me and our family or if this is a common occurrence that happens around the world.

I have been guilty of the “I don’t care” answer myself when I know I really do. Why do we do that and not really say what we mean? Is it a family version of political correctness or just the family members being considerate of other family members and allowing someone else to make the choice or decision?

I don’t know.

What do you think?

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.

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