Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Breakfast club
Here in Lewistown there are several
groups of older gentlemen who meet
daily for coffee. They sit at their table
sipping, spewing, and stalling. I'm
fairly certain that most of them have
little to do and nowhere else to go.
That said, they're an institution within
our community and when one of said
clan is missing... we worry. You see
camaraderie is truly a precious gift.
Knowing that others "get" you makes
life all the better. Who doesn't need
need a little help from our friends?!
Chat room
Mine greet me every morning at my
desk in our library. As dawn breaks
I sit with my buddies as they recant
some story or impart wisdom. Said
friends are thousands of miles away,
oceans apart and yet... I feel as if
they're right there. I read many blogs
on a daily basis. And each morning
just like you I connect with people
who I've never met. Graciously they
let me into their lives for but a few
minutes. And we share a level of
intimacy that defies common sense.
From the heart
We're like those people who fall in
love via While I can't
comprehend deciding someone who
you've never met is the love of your
life - I can understand how that can
happen. Cyber connectivity offers
a communications link that is quite
unique versus historical precedents.
Many have professed their love via
letters and other written forms. Yet
that process lacked the immediacy
of instantaneous sharing and baring
of one's soul. There's nothing like it.
Can we "talk"?
Obviously I don't know these people
with whom  I "talk" everyday. Nor do
you know anything about me beyond
my daily ramblings. Yet I find myself
worrying about all of you. Wondering
how you are and what you're doing.
Feeling that somehow I'm invisibly
part of your lives. Some of my cyber
"friends" are incredibly chic - giving
access to amazing things worldwide.
Others humbly inspire - their candid
illuminations teaching me something
new. Isn't that what friends are for?
Work in progress
And... some are simply damned hysterical.
One blogger in particular has no problem
baring her soul and related mania for all
to read. Victoria Elizabeth Barnes has
been remodeling/restoring her Victorian
home for years. Addicted to Craig's List -
she's hellbent on assembling her many
disparate "treasures" into one cohesive
kitchen. Meanwhile her patient husband
and loyal readers join in the hunt. While
at times I want to bitch slap Victoria, we
all love her dearly. Somehow watching
someone else do all the work is magical!
Wall flower
For years I've read a rather elegant
blog crafted by a lady from Kansas
City. Then suddenly the tone, tenor,
and content of said missive changed.
For a time she even disappeared and
I'll admit that I missed her... and was
a tad worried. Slowly new sporadic
entries arrived in my in-box. All
indication that "Mrs. Blandings" is
rebuilding her life post divorce. She
has moved on. Hence her postings
are random at best. Yet like an old
friend, always a welcome diversion.
Gone but not forgotten
There's nothing worse than getting
dumped. However I've found that
many bloggers ultimately burn or
sell out. Post writing daily for three
three years I can understand. Yet as
long as I've got something to say -
I'm going to share it with anyone
willing to listen (i.e. read.) Some
bloggers figure out that selling out
is  more lucrative than giving it
away. To date I've resisted as I
don't want anything influencing
what I share between you and me.
All of me...
I hope you all realize just how important
you are to me. Every morning I awake to
find out how many people have logged on
to share my journey. You hail from all over
the world which I frankly find amazing.
Especially my loyal readers in faraway
Ukraine and Russia. Simply knowing you
find my blathering somehow entertaining
makes me happy. So while we can't share
a morning cup of coffee, I can share that
I am truly humbled and blessed to have all
of you as "friends." And while we probably
will never meet... I'll "see" you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Deja vu
In essence we're all cogs in the wheels
of time. Therefore whatever we do now
impacts future generations. That sort of
responsibility requires culpability. Yet it
seems that most including our leaders
are focused on the here and now versus
making an investment in our future. All
of which is behavior that I find beyond
reprehensible. If we're honest we must
acknowledge that most of what we now
enjoy is due to the hard work of those
who were here long ago. Without their
bravery things might be very different.

Repeat performance
It's been said that history repeats itself.
Human nature being what it is... little may
be truer. Since the beginning of time there
have been certain members of our species
who rise about the rest. Their bravado can
either isolate or empower depending on
their agenda. At times their ramblings are
much ado about nothing or in truth actually
life changing.  Our challenge is separating
right from wrong, good from evil, fact from
fiction. With the advent of electronic media
one can't easily escape their hyperbole. Yet
few seem willing to do anything but listen.

Against all odds
Isolationist dreams aside, we're usually
better off if and when somebody speaks
or steps up. Often a single individual is
brave (or foolish) enough to say what
the rest of us are thinking. And like it
or not, there is usually something to be
learned even from the most extreme of
extremists. If nothing else the far left or
right enables us to put the middle in it's
proper perspective. The problem is most
of us are conflict adverse. Hence when
others pour on the gas... we run and hide.
Which in the end only turns up the heat.

Moral majority 
Usually events beyond our control force
us to confront reality. Sadly it seems we
can't seem to learn our lessons from the
past. Hence many issues we thought were
resolved are alive and well. While hatred,
prejudice, and bigotry hid underground
for a long while, they're suddenly seeing
the light of day once more. Religion is
being used as a battering ram to defend
limiting the rights and freedom of others.
Equality is deemed only appropriate when
it supports one extremist stance versus
another. So where is God in all of this?

Do or die?
Whatever you believe, it's hard to not
crave divine intervention. Almost all
of us would prefer that we be saved
rather than forced to fight for what we
know is right. However that's simply
not how it works. Fairness has never
been a universal right. Some one has
to be willing (and able) to push our
collective envelope in order to force
us onto next. Often while that happens
said facilitators are anything but liked.
In truth telling the truth is rather risky.
And unfortunately... it may kill you.

Lead by example
Some of those we now most revere
were once considered renegades. The
far right and left held them in disdain.
Against all odds they persevered only
to be punished for doing what we now
know was the right thing to do. I find
that kind of bravery beyond humbling
and inspiring. When was the last time
you took a risk and said it like it really
is? Rather than suffer fools, why can't
we stand up for what we know is best
for everyone? So go ahead... SAY IT.
Even better yet... JUST DO IT!

Monday, September 28, 2015


Checking out
Do you ever need a fix? We all have
times in our life when we need to turn
on the HAPPY switch. For me that's
always been shopping. Like it or not
I'm the ultimate consumer. But my
affection for retail goes deeper than
simply a desire to bring something
new home. What drives me to hunt
and peck is the thrill of enlightenment.
You see, if a retailer is doing their job
I'm if nothing else entertained in the
process. And usually, learn something
along the way to the cash register.
Birds of a feather
Since I was a boy I've found an elusive
energy and excitement within places of
commerce. Actually, department stores.
While other boys were playing baseball
I lunching at Lord & Taylor's Birdcage
restaurant. I've always loved the magic
and allure of a virtual museum open to
the public at no charge. And the process
of seeing things I never knew existed or
that someday... I might actually be my
own was an education. All of that is
why retail in the past was so great. But
sadly in the present it's at best... so so.
State of bliss
Looking back my greatest glories
were during my time at Marshall
Field & Company. Going to work
at it's flagship was a privilege and
adventure. Back in those days,
department stores were already
challenged. Together with a team
of the best merchants, marketers,
and sales experts dreams became
reality. If I'd only known then that
those times would soon over, I'd
have appreciated what we had all
the more. I am still so proud...
Talk of the town
How often do you hear someone bemoan
the death of retail due to the Internet? Yet
shortly thereafter share how much they
love some new shop they've discovered?!
As our lives have seemingly grown busier
most of us have also gotten smarter. Thus
when you live in as isolated a locale such
as Central Montana - one plans where and
when to shop for what. There's no doubt
that we can't get everything we want here
in town. However I'm also certain there
are still a few places where I can easily
spend my money. How about you?
Same old
Retail isn't dead. Rather, few have
patience for mediocrity. Hence if
you can't step up and deliver great
merchandise, spectacular service,
and an occasional surprise... then
most customers prefer to sit and
shop on their computers. There has
to be a reason to pick A versus B.
It's as easy as having what people
want. However in the best of cases
it's the pomp and circumstance of
the process that brings you back.
Discovery can be intoxicating!
Road to ruin
Those who know me well understand
that when anybody utters Costco or
Walmart in my presence they're going
to get blasted. That's because 95% of
what they sell is available right here
in town for almost the same price.
I've done the math for you before -
driving two hours for "bargains" is
a fool's dream. And while many find
buying cases of Cheerios thrilling,
I doubt most would be excited if
they had no where left in town to
shop for anything but hardware.
Cost of doing business
Let's face the facts. Much like the
rest of our world - mediocrity is
the norm. Hence it doesn't matter
where one shops as most stores
are exactly the same. Given there
is no reason to be loyal - few of us
maintain a link with any purveyor
of goods. Rather than feeling that
one purchased something special
at a special place - we've figured
out that where or what doesn't
matter. The only difference is the
price one paid for it. Isn't that sad?
Stripped malls
The democratization of American
retail has fueled it's failure. In the
past local retailers knew customers
and their communities. Instead of
buying en masse - they carefully
crafted assortments to maximize
sales, satisfaction, and ultimately
success. One size fits all rarely if
ever works. Slowly Americans
across this fair land are walking
away from the status quo. Rather
than accept less - they've moved
on to the Internet or Main Street.
Get down!
In Lewistown everyone worries
about our empty downtown. Some
question whether it can ever be a
viable shopping venue again. Yet
I must beg to differ. The fact is
that we have several damned good
retailers operating along Main St.
successfully. Why? They know
what they're doing, are willing
to evolve, and are committed to
making our town a better place
to live and... shop till you drop!
Now that's what I call service!
Pick and choose
This is all about business. A retailer's
job is to give you what you want -
when and how you want it. You also
bear a some responsibility. All you
have to do is give them a chance. So
the next time you need a frock, gift,
gun, hammer, or manicure... visit
your local Lewistown retailer first.
Not only may you find what you've
been looking for, your money stays
here in town rather than traveling to
some distant corporate headquarters.
We're all in this together. Let's shop!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

7th Day Surprise - FALL FEVER

Signs of the times...
While the thermometer hovers in the eighties and nineties,
signs that autumn is upon us are everywhere.
The old horse chestnut in our back yard
is ablaze and dropping it's leaves.
Most of the ashes and aspens are bright yellow.
So while it feel like summer...
it looks like fall.