Negativity/Positivity

A You Tube car guru I follow, recently opined that it was incorrect to regard the late Lee Iacocca as a hero. He presided over, was ultimately responsible, for development and marketing of some unremarkable cars, while at the helm of Chrysler and Ford, that should just as well have been forgotten.

My car guru friend did make a point with which I agreed.  Many of those that never said anything positive about Mr. Iacocca when he was alive, were now pouring on accolades.

While it may be inaccurate to call Mr. Iacocca a hero, it is also inaccurate to only regard the negative, in Mr. Iacocca’s long career at Ford and Chrysler.

Negativity seems to be more compelling these days than positivity. Unlike in the cosmos, where negativity/positivity are in balance. Accepted social mores are torn apart daily by PC claptrap. Respected public figures, past and present, are subjected to constant negativity-fests.

It’s ultimately our choice whether to be positive or negative. I choose to look at the good things done by Mr. Iacocca. He brought Chrysler Corporation back from extinction. How it was done could be debated.

What were his lasting legacies in the automotive world? The Mustang is still the most popular pony car. The Chrysler minivan and various clones are still around. Chrysler Corporation didn’t die–even though it was absorbed by Fiat–at the US Government’s insistence.

The Candy Bomber

Seventy years later, Gail Halvorsen is still remembered in Germany. In those dark days following WWII, the Soviet Union and its allies, cut off road and water access to Berlin–known as the Berlin Blockade.

Residents were left to fend for themselves, do without necessities.  The Berlin Airlift was formed to send relief supplies, from Rhein-Main Air Base, near Frankfurt, W. Germany to Templehof  Airport, Berlin.

Supply planes came and went as fast and efficiently as air traffic control would allow.  In a year, the blockade was broken–roughly, 1948-49.  This year, 2019, marks the seventieth anniversary of the blockade’s end.

One of the pilots, Gail S. Halvorsen, tied candy and sweets to little parachutes.  These were dropped before he landed at Templehof.  He signaled his intentions, in advance,  by wagging his plane’s wings.

That was how he became known as the “Candy Bomber” and “Uncle Wiggly Wings.”  Gail Halvorsen went on to other pursuits–family man, student, rocket scientist, military commander, educator, mentor for youth, and man of faith.

Mr. Halvorsen was back in Germany recently to commemorate the daring aviation feat known as “Operation Vittles” seventy years before.  The site, a public park where Templehof Airport once stood.  He was his usual modest self–gave credit to all participants.

The Berlin Airlift is considered the Western powers first blow in the Cold War.  Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Foundation has more information.

 

Pits and Pendulums

Packing peanuts
Pits and pendulums
Sweat rivulets flowed
Droplets from nose to chin
Fifteen-minute fame increments
Expired somewhere, sometime in 1987
Nobody cared much, to remember when
Hat, raked just right, topped his balding head
Cotton twill shirts with sharp, starched creases
Five-point star, company logo, on each upper sleeve
Pointless, to pump up fading careers
John, preferred to stay in the background
Let others think he was hopelessly mired in the past
What he really wanted to convey
More had been done with less
And still could be

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk Is Cheap (Caring Is Expensive)

Re-blog from September 2013 about confidence, betrayal, self-doubt.

##############

Daylight faded early
With the onset of winter
Self-doubts from deepest
Recesses of the mind, crept
In, under cover of darkness

The only light, came from
A night stand alarm clock
Self-absorption, imploded
Like slow-motion destruction
Of a high-rise building

Meanwhile, miscreants
With cast-iron souls
Shamelessly, self-promoted
Headed over the falls
In leaky boats

Blindsided by fear
He died a little each day
The smile façade
Concealed a grimace
Talk was cheap
Caring was expensive

2017 Father’s Day Thoughts

What did I remember most about my father, twenty-two years after his passing?

Like other men of his generation, he wore hats. His favorite was a gray fedora. Fathers, back then dressed up more, than fathers do today.

Most in the community thought him to be extremely patient and even-tempered. They never got on his bad side–like I did, on occasion.

He was a man of faith. His relationship to his maker was most important. We read the Bible aloud, from cover-to-cover, in family devotionals–down to every begat, whereas, and wherefore.

His lame jokes, that made everyone cringe, notwithstanding; if it were possible, on this Father’s Day, I would tell him that his example made a difference.

Moms and Mom Stand-Ins

Miss Oneia Gahr, was as close to being my substitute mom as anyone.  My great-grandmother was her father’s sister.  She was mother’s best friend, attended the same college–earned a teaching degree.

Their personalities were exact opposites.  My mother was quiet and reserved, Oneia was outgoing and plain-spoken.  Mom taught fourth-grade elementary, Oneia, high school mathematics.  Miss Gahr was a strict disciplinarian at home, and no doubt, the same at school.

Several summers were spent working on Miss Gahr’s dairy farm.  As an adolescent, it seemed like pure drudgery.  Who knew dairy cows didn’t like their mornings interrupted?  “Talk to them gently, in a low voice, or they might kick you.”

That didn’t mean to act goofy and crazy, “Hey girls what’s happening this morning?” But, rather to be gentle, not boisterous.  It worked, and I never got kicked.  It did nothing, however, to stop swats from muddy cow’s tails.  To them, I was just another fly that needed swatting.

Whatever needed to be done–she worked as hard as any man around the farm.  She cut me no slack when it came to cleaning the dairy barn.  And, oh that cattle waste–tons of it, had to be hosed away.

Miss Oneia went at life full tilt.  Driving was no exception.  She liked flashy land yachts.  Had a slew of Pontiac Bonneville convertibles in the sixties.  Before that, she had a fifties-era, Ford hardtop convertible.

Riding with her in the old rattletrap Chevy pickup over farm roads was a neck-snapping thrill ride.  Nothing topped the day the wiring in the Ford two-ton grain truck  caught fire under the dashboard.  Acrid smoke filled the cab as the insulation burned.  Miss Oneia grabbed a hay bale hook, yanked out wires till the smoke subsided.

We always considered her part of the family, not just a distant relative.  All three of us boys raised bottle calves that she donated.  My sister raised a white pig.  She tutored me in Math and Geometry.  Happy Mom’s Day to both my mom, and my substitute mom!