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  • Davis Young

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?


I’ve been in a lot of beautiful churches in my years. None stands out more than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was - and will be again - one of the most iconic church structures in the world. I say again because, in the spring of 2019, the 850-year-old house of worship nearly burned to the ground in a tragic fire. Restoration will continue for a couple more years. Nothing is quick or easy when you try to restore a 12th century church to its full glory.


We were there several times before the fire. In those days tourists could climb stairs alongside the main entrance to reach a wonderful vantage point, where one could look down at the square in front of the cathedral and well beyond into neighboring sections of Paris. It was open-air, but well-protected by a wall that kept visitors from falling three or four stories to the square below.


Now, something I don’t often admit is that I used to have a real fear of heights. Think near- paralyzing. So, while others peered out and over the protective wall, I stayed as far back as possible. As I leaned against the main structure - hyperventilating - I commended myself for having the courage to even be up there.


Fast forward perhaps 20 years and I find myself in Costa Rica, standing on a small wooden platform circling a tree about 30 feet in the air, with a forest below in all directions. Yes, the fearful one from the well-protected vantage point in Paris was now high up looking down at huge trees below. Not hyperventilating too badly. And, before I knew it, I had gone from platform 1 to platform 2 in my quest to zipline away my lifetime fear of heights.


Altogether, there were 11 platforms that day. I encountered (and conquered) successive ones, up to platform 7. As you step off each platform into the unknown, you dip and gain speed as you approach the next one that is up again. The key is to gain enough speed going down to carry you back up again. I failed to do that approaching number 7. I had braked mistakenly, costing me a lot of speed.


I found myself stopped some 25 feet below that next platform looking skyward at an instructor on the platform. I called out, What should I do? He smiled and said, Pull yourself up hand-over-hand. Yikes. I hadn’t signed up for this (or maybe I had). Try doing that sometime and you will rather quickly discover you are using back and shoulder muscles you didn’t know you had and you now have some new aches and pains that won’t go away quickly.


But, I made it. And, on to platforms 8 and 9. I was the first in our family party to finish. I waited at the bottom for the stragglers.


So what did you think, Dad?


Piece of cake, I responded. No problem.


If you’ll excuse me now, it’s time for physical therapy for my shoulders.

 

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

In our house it is either Christmas Day or Christmas is coming.


I know somebody who year-after-year starts her Christmas decorating not much past Labor Day. Up around the corner from us is an exterior lighting display that costs thousands to install every year. It goes up right after Thanksgiving and it’s not lights-off till February. Daughter, Tracy, had a babysitter in California whose family never took down their Christmas tree. I see nothing wrong with any of these scenarios. After all, Christmas is always on the horizon. Even in January.


This year, we celebrated our 62nd Christmas together. Over the years, we have collected just a few ornaments and other holiday mementos. Nothing too much. I believe we have exercised incredible discipline by not cluttering our basement storage area with too much stuff we don’t use. As long as everything fit in the storage area we were good, right?


Not long ago, I reported on an excursion we made to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan, the self-proclaimed largest Christmas store in the world - over two million square feet of Christmas wonders - all for sale. NFL ornaments for every team. Personalized ornaments with your name. Artificial trees and an unlimited selection of items to put on those trees.


We told ourselves our goal for this trip was to have lunch in the quaint German-influenced town, but we couldn’t resist sticking our head into Bronner’s. We weren't shopping. We were just looking. But while we looked, I confess, we did make several purchases. Not that we needed anything more, but it’s always good to have choices.


So, armed with a few new items and hundreds (ok, thousands) of old ones, we shared our annual over-the-top holiday spectacle with family and friends. It was beautiful and I loved every minute of it until.....


.....until it was time to take it all down and put it away until next year. What a mess. Stuff everywhere. Maybe that California babysitter and her family DID have the right idea.


But, this year, we made a joint decision to see what we could get rid of before it was lights-off on another holiday. Time for even more holiday discipline. So it was that we gave away several boxes of decorations we realized we were no longer using and didn’t think we would use again anytime soon.


Today, we are better organized for the next holiday season than we have ever been before. I am very pleased to let my blog readers know that everything is now packed up and neatly put away in our basement storage area. All 33 remaining cartons, plus various individual items that are stand-alone.


We have learned a good lesson this year that we would like to share with readers. Go through your holiday decorations at least once every 62 years. Force yourself to get rid of what you don’t use. While you’re doing that, keep an eye out for decorations you think we might like. We’ll be right over to check them out.

 

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

I should be so lucky.


Did you watch the Golden Globes awards the other night?


I did, but not for long. It held my interest about as much as Georgia’s 65-7 beatdown in the College National Championship game. Yawn.


Let's be honest.... Awards show acceptance speeches tend to be exercises in self-importance, when winners think we are hanging on their every word and opinion during their 15-second time allotment.


Would that it were 15 seconds. In some cases it seems more like 15 minutes. So, in that spirit, I thought I would share some remarks I have on file to use the next time somebody wants to give me an award on national television. Hey, it could happen. Never give up hope.


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.


I am so humbled. I’ve stood on the shoulders of many people who have helped me reach this pinnacle of achievement. I would never have walked on the road to greatness, to say nothing of the Red Carpet, were it not for my second grade teacher, Mrs. Nickels. It was her inspiration for me to play the role of Mr. Goop in that classic children's production of Oops the Goops. She worked with me for hours upon hours so that the audience could understand what I was saying, despite some dental contraption I was forced to wear at an early age.


But, I wasn’t fully committed to a career in the arts yet. I was still playing Little League baseball and would go to sleep each night dreaming of putting on the pinstripes of the New York Yankees. I finally worked up the courage to ask Coach Winner if he thought I should give up the piano and focus 100% on baseball. He looked me straight in the eye and said, I’ve never heard you play the piano, but I have seen you play baseball. I think you should continue with the piano. Turns out that’s the best advice I ever got. So, in Coach Winner’s honor, I am tonight establishing a piano scholarship to be given annually to a young person with the courage to pursue piano instead of baseball. I sensed I wasn’t going to be a Yankee anytime soon, but I hadn’t wanted to disappoint my coach. He gave me the courage to say yes to music. Thank you, Coach. He’s sitting right over there at my table. Give us a wave, Coach, so everyone knows you.


Excuse me for a moment, I see somebody just offstage holding up a sign saying I am two minutes over my allotted time.


OK, OK. Just a few more acknowledgements and I’ll be done.


We had a wonderful man in my first neighborhood. Mr. Odds was his name. When I was 12, he hired me to mow his lawn each summer week. He had a lot of grass and a mower I wouldn’t wish on an enemy. He paid me two dollars every time and, more importantly, Mr. Odds taught me the value of money. Two dollars for a big lawn was the bargain of the year. Everything I have in the bank today I owe to the influence of his innate cheapness.


Excuse me again. Every time you hold up a sign saying I am way over my allotted time you detract from my attention and therefore make me use even more time.

If I may, one more shout out. This one's for Mr. Harry Harmony, a longtime director of our church choir. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus.


But, I digress....


So, thank you again Golden Globes. You have been a great inspiration to me as I’ve spent a large part of my life working toward this moment tonight. Mom and Dad - you get all the credit for my success. Thanks, Dad, for helping me get through Cub Scouts. And, thank you, Mom, for all those wonderful homemade cookies. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to....


At this point I assume they would bring out some type of large hook and also take my microphone away.


What kind of nice people would do that in the middle of me thanking my mom? I hadn’t even gotten to my elementary school girlfriend yet....

 

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

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