As I look back over the years, remember that I have provided a lot of free meals to all sorts of people without ever really thinking about it. Maybe it is because there was once a point in my life when I would go a couple of days without much to eat or maybe it is because as a teenager there were many times that I would let my date order her meal first so I could calculate how much money I had left and determine if or what I would order. For most of my adult life, when I eat with someone, my personal policy is to always buy the meal. It is “My treat.” I have explained my policy countless times: “I always buy the meal so get whatever you want. If I ruin your meal, at least I paid for it.” Unfortunately, I have ruined a few meals for others over the years and some of my own!
It seems that hearts, or valentines, have always been special to me. I was born “Deep in the Heart of Texas” in San Antonio. My mentors, Herb and Colleen, always had hearts displayed somewhere as they operated Southwest Airlines. More importantly, the environment they fostered at Southwest Airlines was always “straight from the heart.” My mother and father’s favorite song was “Cuando Caliente Del Sol” or “Love Me with All of Your Heart.” The wedding ring I gave my wife was a heart shaped single diamond. Mariachis sang “Cuando Caliente Del Sol” at our wedding and this song has become our song. My valentine for over thirty years has always allowed me to follow my heart (or tolerated it).
Most of the time I begin and end my day with prayers for people and situations. The day after the recent Presidential election I said this prayer that I got from my deceased mother’s prayer book entitled, “Our Country.” I have said this prayer many times in the past but the words never resonated stronger or deeper within my heart than they did the day after the election. The prayer says nothing about Republicans, Democrats, Independents, the Tea Party, Conservatives or Liberals. I cherish this prayer and want to share it with you.
I grew up watching black and white television shows. The shows I loved would probably not be regarded as politically correct today but “it is what it is.” I watched “The Little Rascals,” “The Life of Riley,” “The Real McCoys,” “Dragnet,” “The Honeymooners” and “I Love Lucy” (Ricky Ricardo’s English was better than my own mother’s English). How can I forget “The Lone Ranger”,” Bonanza,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “The Rifleman” and “Roy Rogers” plus Audie Murphy but my all-time favorite was the “Amos and Andy Show.”
I often ask people, “Who is the happiest person you know?”
The reason I ask this question is because it appears to me that more and more people are not happy despite continually seeking happiness. I cannot help but wonder if it has always been this way, or if our modern society of instant gratification has helped create this environment and my perception.
More than once in my life I have had a young person say, “I wish that you were my dad.” I always respond the same way, “If you knew what I expect of my kids, you probably wouldn’t feel that way.” I think of it as when the coach’s son or daughter is in a starting position, especially in a high profile position. The kid better work twice as hard as anyone else and better perform or you are just inviting the naysayers. The promotion of my son to President of the KING AEROSPACE Companies is something that was earned. I tried to raise my son and daughter to take care of themselves with values and hard work. They were given opportunities but it was up to them to sink or swim.
I will never forget several years ago when I drove past the lagoon shown in this picture. In disbelief, I saw two trespassers fishing in what was essentially a waste treatment plant! I am confident that if they caught a fish, it didn’t take them long to figure out that it smelled terrible for a reason.