Sunday, February 22, 2009
Dreams of My Grandfather
February 22nd, 2009
Sunday Morning, 11:36 AM
"The less you have to write about, the more personal and engaging the copy tends to be." Jeffrey Wells, Feb. 19th, 2009
I read this line this past week and truly wished this was the case. I have not posted in the past couple of weeks, my biggest drought to date. I have to admit, I and IMNALY have been suffering from writers block. This has been a discouraging development considering that I felt that I was on a bit of a writers roll in December and January. This is par for the course, I keep telling myself. It has been years since I have dedicated time to writing and it was bound to happen. Mr. Block was bound to rear its ugly head at some time or another.
As I dissect this recent development, I believe there are many reasons for this block. I have been consumed with trying to end up my second full quarter with my employer, Red Hat, on a decent note. My first six months at my new job have been rewarding, but in my perfectionist minds eye, those said months could have been better. There is more opportunity on the horizon, which is encouraging, and which has me hopeful that 2009 will be a solid year. Still, I have had to prioritize and work at this point has been priority number one over writing.
I have also been consumed with the bleak news of both the American and Global economy. In hindsight, I believe this is really number one on the list (I am kidding myself thinking this is not the case). To see 700,000 people losing jobs monthly and to hear the constant chatter of Bailouts and TARP and Sub Primes, it truly makes one not want to think about it and escape somewhere. As we all know, that is next to impossible at this point. The bad news is everywhere. I am hearing daily about friends or ex-colleagues that have lost or are looking for jobs. I am watching heads of states trying something/anything (is it the right thing?) to stop the bleeding. Is this a correction or is this the end of days? Depending on how much news you intake, it seems to be both.
Other recent developments in my family have had me focusing on the economy much more then I like. My sister and I are currently Executors for my Uncle's Will & Testament. This has been an arduous task for a number of different reasons and on a number of different levels. Mostly the difficulty is all due to timing, like mostly everything in life. To see an individuals monetary value diminish so quickly, at such a rapid pace, is discouraging and disheartening. To try to juggle someone's dying wishes, in this type of global climate and catastrophe (as some have called it), is just flat out improbable. Regardless of the timing of things, we have to try; it's our last chore for a person that we love.
See, most of the capital we are watching evaporate daily is tied to a legacy. It ties back to Scotland and a wee man from Paisley, outside of Glasgow. It ties to over 30 years of service to an American Institution; to the American Dream which encouraged him travel weeks across the Atlantic, with only his aspiration to cling to and lint in his pockets. It ties to the first 11 years of my life as this wonderful man lived with my family, helping to raise me, exposing me to not a Philadelphia accent at an early age, but to a Scottish brogue, watching his actions, learning his wisdom, providing me with a fundamental principles to start life.
That is what is making this so difficult for me. This exercise is providing closure on two levels, for two different times of my life. The final wishes of my Uncle will be fulfilled by the path that his father, my Grandfather, Willie Wright created. On Friday, I sold shares that my grandfather passed down to a generation before. On Friday, a part of our family's American dream transformed from potential earnings to a loss. As an American Institution's Market Cap dipped another 5 billion, part of my hardworking Grandfather's legacy left the earth, on Friday.
I am fortunate to be in such a position. It could be a lot worse, like it seems to be for so many of my fellow Americans at this time. My wife and I have a new house, good jobs, great children and a core group of support from family & friends. Still, with all of these negative vibes floating about, there are times I feel nervous about the uncertainty of the news I read. I worry about what might happen if one of us loses our jobs or is asked by our employers to work part time. Each time I do this; I take a step back and reflect to my Grandfather.
I think about how difficult it must have been for him to leave his family and journey out into the unknown at such a young age. He came to the States right before the Great Depression. He came to the States and raised a family during the Great War. In his lifetime he saw the "other" Wright Brothers' first flight and an Armstrong landing on the moon. He saw his children live a "better" life then he had. He took up golf at 60 and enjoyed it for 20 plus years. He smoked packs a day, ate pounds of cheese and butter with each meal, and enjoyed a good drink "to calm the soul". He lived an amazing life, because he was a fighter, and because he never gave up his "old world mentality" in the New World.
I think we could all use a little of that mentality right now. We need to get a little of our fight back. Kind of like that reporter on CNBC did this past Friday talking about the latest bailout. Agree with his "Rant", his politics, or not, it was good to see his emotion; it was good to see someone a little "made as hell and not going to take it anymore..." I heard a little of my Grandfather in that rant Friday. I know he would have enjoyed it. "About bloody time," he would have said. "Give them hell Pop-Pop," I say in his name now.
Ironically my Grandfather passed away 26 years ago, last Friday.