While Vacationing, Vacation

Recently I went to where my wife worked in a restaurant.  At first I sat down for a moment to observe the people going in and out. They were almost standing out the door waiting to be served so I asked my wife if they needed any help. She told me I could start cleaning up some in the front and start washing dishes in the back.  To say the least I’m not above washing dishes or wiping tables in a restaurant. 

 The majority of the customers were travelers.  Heading to the beach or on their way home.  Someone could most certainly tell which were going and which were coming.  Those heading south were all excited and giddy, anticipating the moment when they can first set foot on the sand, hear the roar of the waves or smell of the salt water in the air.  Most of those heading home were blistered, looked exhausted and would not only be cranky to an employee of a convenient store or restaurant but some would be cranky to their own family.

When I did get a moment I went to the drink fountain to get me something to drink. I would smile and say ‘hey, how yaw doin’?’ to some of the patrons showing my best southern hospitality.  Some would smile back and say, ‘hey’; others wouldn’t say anything and ignore me. 

When I got to the drink fountain I noticed cup lids scattered everywhere,  paper from straws lying around and ice all over the counter.  I took a napkin and cleaned it all up and wiped it all down and went back to the ’employee table’ to set my drink down. 

There was a local customer standing next to me while I was cleaning up around the drink machine at the time and I made a comment to them that if people would make a mess here I would hate to see what their home looked like.

But I began to think about it all and came to one conclusion. When people take a vacation they don’t vacation.  The first thing that goes on vacation for me is myself.  I like to get the body in a vacation mode first.  I tell the family while traveling that we’ll get there when we get there.  I usually let the seat way back, set the cruise control, find a good station on the radio and totally chill.  No hurry to get there, no hurry to get back.  Many times I would watch people come flying around me and others on the road only to catch up to them in the next town or at a rest area.

The ones I noticed this weekend were in such a hurry they will pass everyone on the road, leave a mess for someone else to clean up and almost have an attitude toward other people who are working hard wishing they could take a vacation themselves.  I even smiled at someone and told them to have a safe trip and all I got in return was a half-grin that looked more like they were trying to pass gas as they rushed on out the door.

Has vacationing become more of a chore for a family than what it really was supposed to be for? Are people not happy to be vacationing with their families anymore? Are they not happy to be sharing quality time with their kids while teaching them virtues all at the same time?  Are we as Americans in such a hurry that we don’t want to take time out of our busy schedule to make someone elses day? If it is that much of a burden to not take the time to speak kindly to people and somewhat clean up behind yourself then I would suggest you to stay home.  I know no one is perfect. Kid’s will make a mess.  Adults will make a mess.  My home is far from perfect and it does look lived in. My wife and I’s pet-peave is the kitchen.  Neither one of us can stand a dirty kitchen. 

When you vacation take the time to make a friend everywhere you go.  I like to leave people with a smile because I don’t want them to forget me. I also want them to have the kind of day I plan to have–a good one.

And remember: your attitude and actions in public reflect of who you really are at  home. Have a great day and a safe trip while traveling.

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Deadliest Catch

A few years ago our son got my wife and I to watch a show with him on the Discovery Channel called the Deadliest Catch.  To say the least we were not too impressed to see that a word in every other sentence had to be bleeped out.  After watching that show we fully understood what it meant when someone said, “Cussed like a sailor”.

As unimpressed as we were to the language we were equally impressed by watching those fishermen work in the hardest working conditions known to man.  Fighting the cold Alaskan winter in the Bering Sea to catch their haul of Alaskan King Crab and Ophelia Crab.  To see Greenhorns, those that work on the fishing vessels for the first time, earn their rightful place on a boat.  Some would work out and be great workers while others would make the Skipper bleep out more bleeps than one would care to hear bleeped. Not to mention the few that dared to go to the wheelhouse to complain to the captain about one thing or another. 

Over the last few years we began to get to know the ones that were veterans on the boat that have been working hard for several years.  Same goes for the captains.  We even got to know a little about their families.  Those family members that worked together on the boats as a family business.  Eventually from season to season after seeing the same ones year after year we seemed to make a connection to those on the boats as though we were watching our own family members on a reality television show.

As with everything else on reality television shows each one of us did have our favorites. From our favorite captain to our favorite deckhand. Even though their biggest faults were still the language I could only imagine what those wheelhouse’s smelt like with those that were chain smokers.  But I’m sure they are under alot of stress while keeping a constant vigil on the unpredictable Bering Sea, the weather, the workers on deck and all the monitors right in front of them, all while piloting those massive boats.

One captain that we really liked was Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Maria.  He had two sons that worked as deckhands on the boat.  The younger son started out on the boat on the captain’s bad side by using dear old dad’s credit card to get himself a nice flat screen TV for his bunk while out to sea.  This past season he admitted to his dad he was addicted to drugs when his father caught him in his quarters taking his prescription medicine.  It was a really sad moment between father and son even while the camera kept rolling that he told him that when they got back to land he didn’t want to ever see him again. But just like any other loving father he thought about what he said and told his son  that he wanted him to go and get treatment and that he would go with him.  Captain Phil admitted that he had been there one time too and knew how it felt.

By the time the Cornelia Maria did make it back to dock there was a sudden, major turn of events.  Captain Phil was found by a deckhand in his room on the floor, apparently from a stroke.  To watch his two sons struggle with their own emotions, while people were praying, other skippers and captains all worried, Phil struggled to make a good recovery.  And that’s the way it seemed. He was doing better than expected. So much better he was sitting up in his bed and asking his youngest son for just one cigarette to which his son would not give him.

Then as the show ended word came that Phil had a sudden turn for the worst.  The last thing said was the oldest son saying, “We lost dad.” People we have never met or actually do not know we can’t help but feel for the family and friends. We watched them season after season.  They have become family to us.  This Tuesday night, July 20th, 2010 at 8pm CST on the Discovery Channel we will watch the final episode for Captain Phil Harris.  He really did love his kids and his kids loved him.  If you get a chance set your timer or tune in Tuesday night and watch this emotionally charged episode of The Deadliest Catch.

CLEAN POLITICS

That’s a word that is rarely if ever is put together into one sentence, especially during an election year. After the primaries and the run-off elections usually that’s when the gloves come off.  All the candidates are one step closer to achieving the ultimate goal. Winning the election. Taking that top spot they have worked so hard for in the last few months. That is when one candidate starts bashing another over what they did in the past; their political career being smeared all over the television, radio and in newspapers.

 But hopefully in this year’s Alabama governor’s race we won’t be seeing any of that. Both candidates agreed to address the issues at hand, and you and I both know there are a lot of them, instead of addressing each other’s past issues. It is about time candidates look toward the future, focus on the future, address the future and move toward the future.  I could care less what Ron Sparks or Robert Bentley did in the past. What are they going to do for me and other Alabamian’s for the next four years?  I think no matter which one I vote for Alabama will be getting a good governor in either one.  Both are already showing their true personality by agreeing on one thing, a clean campaign.

Hopefully this will start a new trend for future political candidates on every level.  Address the issue, not each other’s faults. I don’t want every other commercial I see on television be about who voted for or against what in 1996 or before. Or who is supporting who and making shady deals behind closed doors.  My grandmother had a saying for all that. ‘It’ll all come out on Wash Day.’

I look forward to a great election this year. Will both candidates continue to hold true to their word till November even when the polls may be against them?  Time will tell and if they do Alabama has a lot to look forward to in the next four years.  There won’t be any losers because the one who doesn’t move into the governor’s mansion next year will continue to be a good person with good quality and integrity and that goes a long way.

Independence Day

My fondest memory of celebrating Independence Day was when everyone gathered with friends and family and had a cookout, eat watermelon and pop our few firecrackers.  I don’t know about the rest of the country but being from the South it wasn’t always just hotdogs and hamburgers.  We would cook anything and everything we could think of on the grill; chicken, pork chops, sausage, ribs and I even remember a few times thick-sliced bologna being thrown on the grill.

As the years went by we got away from the traditional celebration with friends and family. Everyone stayed at their own homes, watch television and cooked out.  It wind up that I and many others would have to work on “The” most important date in our country’s history.  It seemed to me that the country as a whole was getting away from remembering what this day was all about.  It’s not only about our independence from foreign rule but also the ones that have fought for our freedom and those that are standing guard and fighting today. 

A few years back I felt a yearning for the good times. My wife and I made a cross state trip to spend the 4th with friends we call family to have a big cookout. That will wind up as one of the most memorable fourth’s for me.  This year we got to participate in a town’s parade. I enjoyed meeting people I didn’t know and some I haven’t seen in a while.  After the parade with all our new-found friends we shared hotdogs and watermelon and sat down and talked.  The thought came to me during this time that some others were beginning to think like me; that America is forgetting what the special holidays are really set aside for and concentrating on more of the here and now. Too many are more concerned with trying to get to their destination on time and basking in the sun on a beach or at a lake then actually spending quality time with their family and smiling at their American brothers and sisters on the way.

As American’s lets never forget the real meaning of this special day. Take a moment out of your busy schedule and give God above thanks for His glorious bounty of this great nation. And don’t forget to say a prayer for those that stand guard over us as we sleep.  “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” (Jeremiah 6:16) Everyone have a great 4th of July and let’s never forget.