The Non-Electronic Man

“The human spirit must prevail over technology.”  ~ Albert Einstein Do you ever wonder if something is missing in this electronic world?  What did we do before now?  Actually, I grew up during a time when it was very different. Today, changes are rapid; we see a new world every few years. Even the speed of change is becoming faster.  I have a friend, Sammy Wilder, who works in sales and does not use the internet.  You can email something to his office where an administrative employee will … [Read more...]

There No Longer are Any Secrets

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson Today I am reading an advertisement in the newspaper about a home management system, available at Lowe’s, that works using your smart phone. It provides home security and a lot more. You can use the system to lock or unlock doors, control temperature settings and record and watch video when an alarm is tripped. It is truly amazing what a person can do with a smart phone in today’s world. I turn on … [Read more...]

The Best Day Ever

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” Art Linkletter Today is the day when my family moves into the first home we ever owned. My wife Carol and our two daughters, Kelly and Kim, spend the day moving furniture and boxes into our new residence on Church Street in Mobile, Alabama. The first goal of moving is to transport everything into the house. Unpacking may take weeks, possibly months.  It is late in the afternoon when the last box is … [Read more...]

The Gold In Our Goldmine

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.”  Ansel Adams I admit that I have forgotten a lot. Blame it on math. There is just too much stuff to remember.  Of the 8,760 hours in a year, we will be awake for over 5,000 of those hours and would be challenged if asked to remember even 300, unless we are a memory champion. Would it be nice if we had a system that could pull up any hour of any day from the past? I can think of a few moments that I would want to … [Read more...]

We Build Great Ships

“The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.” ~ Samuel Gompers In the early years of Hackbarth Delivery Service, the company that my wife, Carol, and I founded, we are the first drivers making deliveries. Bayou la Batre, a small town in south Alabama, is one of the destinations for some of those shipments. This quaint seacoast community is home to shrimpers, boat builders and companies that provide coastal services. On this particular day, I am … [Read more...]

It’s Never Too Late

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  George Eliot In December of 1963, my parents gather my three sisters and me into the living room of our home on McMillan Avenue, located in the West End of Birmingham, Alabama. They have an announcement. We hear that Dad has accepted a management job in his current company, which is good news. Then we hear that the new job is located in Jacksonville, Florida, over 400 miles away. We will move within a few weeks. For my sisters and me, … [Read more...]

Down on the Bayou

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” ~ Neil Armstrong, astronaut and first man on the moon My Louisiana cousins suggest that we go catch crawfish.  Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, with no prior crawfish expedition experience, I jump at the chance for this new, first time adventure.  I have eaten these tasty mudbugs many times with my relatives at the camp in Slidell, the location of our annual vacation trip.  This trip is a promise my dad made to my mom before they … [Read more...]

First Figure out the ‘Why’

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born . . . and the day you find out why.”    Mark Twain “Just one thing,” was the reply of the boss of the cattle drive.  He was answering the question he had posed to the cowhand.   This pivotal scene came from the movie, City Slickers.  Actor Jack Palance played the boss and Billy Crystal played the city slicker, who was now a cowhand on a vacation that provided a real experience of a cattle drive. The question he had posed was, … [Read more...]

PAUSE . . .

It is a dark night. My cousin and I are driving in our hometown, Birmingham, Alabama.  We are cruising along in the downtown area where Interstate I-65 is being built. There are lots of cones, signs and equipment, typical at a major construction site involving a federally-funded highway. Somehow, we have lost our way and the next thing I know, we are on that Interstate yet to be open for traffic.  I am not thinking about whether or not the road is open, or that in this particular area it is … [Read more...]

The Toughest Thing About Communication

I am in the audience for the Wednesday Noon gathering of Toastmasters in downtown Mobile. Our speaker, the past president of the Club, leans over and cups her hands around her ears, just like someone does when intently trying to listen in a noisy environment. It is a great opening, with significant relevance to her speech on communication. The audience sits up to take notice. Her theme – the importance of listening and the inherent difficulties – are the points she makes throughout the … [Read more...]