Sorry I am a little late. This week has represented all ends of the spectrum. I have gone from 6% humidity in Denver to 90% humidity in Stuart, Florida. I noted to a friend that my brain must be getting soft because it does not bother me that much…so far. Kathy has arrived and of course my bachelor pad has been totally reorganized but it is great to be together again. The poor girl is doomed .
I have spent part of my first days getting lost…on purpose. I want to really know this area. The nooks and the crannies. The good and the bad. We live in a gated community but it doesn’t feel like one. The 30% who are year round residents, like it here versus just another alternative. While playing golf or having a beer afterwards, there is an easy rapport that doesn’t put a lot of stock of who you are, what your past accomplishments are or who you know. It’s kind of like,”Hey let’s get to know each other on simple terms.” That’s a great way to start.
I drove along the beach road and found stately homes not far from double wides. The beaches don’t charge and you can go from town complexes that are pristine to those that are showing their years. There are totally private ones in name only. Just a little dirt parking lot cut in the dunes that holds maybe 20 cars. Pull up and walk 100 feet to the beach. There are people of all colors and sizes and no one seems to care. Can this be real?
Of course there is weird stuff in Florida. Not sure why but it attracts all kinds and maybe that is why we like it. You run into a long haired 70 year old who has maybe been in the sun too long all these years but he is harmless. You see on TV, kids that watched a disabled teen drown as they egged him on. Just as fast, a young man who was helping a motorist stripped to his skivvies and saved a fellow resident of this planet earth who was going down for the last time in a canal. Go figure.
I was working out this morning and I saw a fellow in an Army shirt on the treadmill next to me . Couldn’t resist saying, “Go Navy, Beat Army”. We immediately struck up a friendship. He was a two or three or whatever star General but no matter. The guy had gone to West Point and done forty years. Didn’t care what his rank was, he was a kindred spirit. In civilian life he has taken on a consulting/speaking gig. He is talking to major corporations about leadership which seemed fine until I really thought about it.
In all my corporate life I never had someone tell me about what it took to succeed and stand up. Whatever resources that I had to draw on whether it was in Viet Nam or Wall Street had been instilled in me over my early and later years. Parents, Jesuit training, OCS, Catholicism and I guess just some sort of morality and ethics all melded into this thing called TTG. It was nothing special but just the way we were all raised. Why is that obsolete or not good enough today?
Are we thinking too much or too little? Does life come at us so fast that we don’t have time to think about wrong and right? Has artificial intelligence and quant theory just given you points for showing up? Are we no longer responsible for life but just unwitting participants?
I am watching the tragedy of governing unfolding in front of us. The sparring and verbal jousting from our fearless leader have brought me to disgust and shame. I watched John McCain maybe getting up from his inevitable death bed, and standing with a fresh scar on his face. Yet his exhortations could not rouse some sort of fire in soulless politicians. The Dems are sitting on the sidelines throwing brickbats but when you come right down to it they are just as complicit in this travesty.
As my new found Army buddy and I chatted we kept edging closer and closer to the reality that what might be missing is public service. Not to try to recruit for the armed services but just to say we ALL should do something for our country. I raised that to a friend awhile back and he objected. Why should his son or daughter put a halt to their education and or career to serve in some stupid and non productive way? I ask you as amigos is there any ounce of veracity to his logic? Have we become that far removed from what has made us great?
Now this may all seem some deep stuff for a guy that is supposed to be playing golf and smoking cigars on the docks. Au contraire, mon ami. This is exactly why I hope i am here, far from the madding crowd. I want to engage with thoughtful people and not so much solve the problems of the world but just seek out those who care about where we are going .
A fool’s journey? Perhaps. But I have this nagging thought that the more and more we get wrapped up in our own little selves, the further we will get from really enjoying the friendship and camaraderie that begets compromise and progress. Not banal chatter but really getting to know one another. Finding out how to make this damn thing work. It’s been a marvelous first week here. I hope Kathy and I don’t lose our lust for life in whatever form it takes. It’s a great road ahead and we have a lot of living to do. Please join us.
Ted The Great
Sorry, but none come to mind