My Thanks and Some Lessons for Life

©By: John T. Blair (WA4OHZ)
dot_clear 1133 Chatmoss Dr., Va. Beach, Va. 23464; (757) 495-8229

Originally written: March 2009

Many of you may have seen the following quiz in some of the various emails you have received over the years.

I wanted to take a minute and answer the quiz and say THANKS to those that have helped me (been my Elmer - ham radio jargon for mentor) along my life's journey.

Quiz # 1

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz , the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America Contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do? - I scored 0 out of 6

Quiz # 2

This one was actually quite easy!

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Northside Jr. High School; Norfolk, Va.) - my 9th grade English teacher - helped me through English Lit. even thought she caught me on several occasions reading the Ameco Radio Theory course that I'd laid inside my Lit. book. I was studying for my General Class Ham Radio License.

Mr. Anderson (Granby School; Norfolk, Va.) - my 10th grade Chem. teacher. He was a real pistol, and showed us geeks we could enjoy science.

Mrs. Boggs (Granby School; Norfolk, Va.) - My 12th grade Physics teacher. I think of her fondly and really enjoyed learning Pyhsics until she told me I'd have to memorize all 500+ equations in the back of the book for the final. I didn't do it, but still managed to get a B.

Dr. Ash (Old Dominioin Univ. Norfolk, Va.) - An outstanding Engineering professor how really cares about his students. He spent an exorbitant amount of his time outside of class helping me. Without his efforts, I'm sure I would not have graduated. I can't thank him enough. I owe you more than I can repay!

Dr. Barna (Old Dominioin Univ. Norfolk, Va.) - another Engineering professor. He was from the "old world", Hungary. A very interesting, talented, and well rounded gentleman!

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

Angelo Heaton - an old high school buddy and life long friend

Bob Coble - a colleague and mentor whom I worked with and for. A born leader!

Dennis Millard - A friend from an old computer club. Always there when you need a hand.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

John A. Blair (my dad) - need I say more

Mr. Bill Hickman - owned Hickman's Body Shop in Norfolk, Va. back in the 60s. Taught me what little body work I know how to do. When I'd wreck my sports car, I'd take it to him. He'd tell me I could fix it, and tell me what to do. I'd go home, beat on the metal some, and go back. He'd tell me what to do next. etc!

Mr. Sam Corrona - A mechanic who owned a shop on Hampton Blvd. in Norfolk, Va. But the Old Destroyer & Submarine piers. Took me under his wing when I was trying to learn about cars.

Bob Coble - taught me about what Real leadership is all about

Dr. Ash - taught me I can do about anything, I just have to work hard and persevere.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

My wife - Mary Ann C (Mac)

My 2 boys - JohnC and ScottE Blair

Bob Coble

Victoria Nichols

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

My family

Bob Coble

Bob Hare

Joe Shadade

Easier, right?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Lessons For Life

Again, you may have seen this in email, but if you haven't please take the time to read it. It is definately worth the effort!

Five Great Live Lessons to make you think about the way we treat people...

First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict- filled 60s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..

It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away.

The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare &serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Hopefully you're life is full of friends and mentors, and that you will take the Lessons for Life to heart!

dot_clear John

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