Here are some random thoughts on this 2020 Fourth of July weekend.

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with the manager of a hotel I was staying at. She shared that as a child growing up, every Sunday and Wednesday her dad made her, and her siblings, read a news article in the paper and give a summary of the article to the rest of the family at supper. She was very shy and hated this assignment. Her statement, though, was, “Now I understand why my dad had us do that.” We talked about the importance of public speaking in furthering your career. Public speaking does not necessarily mean a large group. It may be presenting to a small group of five to 10 co-workers. My guess is that had this manager not developed some competency in public speaking, she would not be a manager of a hotel. Her dad also wanted his children to develop a habit of reading current news to be aware of what was happening in the city, state, country, and world they lived in. I applaud her dad.

Looking at my recently unpacked desk, several items trigger thoughts. For 48 years I thought back scratchers were simply novelty items without any practical value or use. Then I developed arthritis in my shoulders. A cortisone shot in my left shoulder has certainly helped with mobility but there are parts of my back that I cannot itch. Of course, where does it typically itch the most often and the worst? Yes, the spots I cannot reach. I now carry a back scratcher in my backpack and keep one on my desk and I recently ordered a package of four from Amazon. I am not too proud to admit this. I do not like being without one. I am thankful for my wife and daughter who will usually help me out with a back scratch when needed, even when we are out in public.

My mom and dad’s high school yearbooks are on my desk. My mom was a 1952 graduate of Williston (N.D.) High School; my dad a 1950 graduate of Minneapolis North High School. I enjoy reading the notes written in their yearbooks. It makes me thankful for who they were and how they were raised (both by single moms who instilled high character, a thirst for education and a gritty work ethic in them). My dad graduated with Robert Vaughn, who starred in the mid-1960s NBC television show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Robert’s parents were both in the professional acting world. After they got a divorce, he lived in Minneapolis with his grandparents while his parents traveled and worked.

As I look at my desk I see the world of new technology with a Square credit card scanner for my iPad, USB drives that have more storage capabilities than entire mainframes and rooms full of computers from my college days and my two favorite old school office supplies: index cards and sticky notes. How would we do our jobs without sticky notes and index cards?

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Thinking about these subjects, I have remembrances and reservations. What does the future hold? God, what gifts, strengths, talents, and experiences will you use to positively impact others? Time moves quick, what will I truly leave behind?