Today, I Waved At an Airplane…Stuff My Sister ‘Taught’ Me

Today, I waved at an airplane, a ‘skill’ I learned as a kid from my benevolent sister.  She even described how they wave back, by tipping their wings. Really?

I followed my sister through school by four years and learned that it’s awkward following a sibling’s footsteps.  “You’re not like your sister”, teachers would say, and I wasn’t.  I was a bit more like my older brothers, not mischevious, but testing and challenging, wearing on teachers’ nerves and patience. My sister was, well, ‘precocious…’

I didn’t mind the comparison and was darn proud to have a smart sister who took me under her ‘wing’ and taught me to ‘wave at airplanes’.

Amazingly, I still enjoy doing it, discreetly, of course.  I think of myself as a ‘good will ambassador’ for my community, welcoming visitors on their arrivals, like a greeter at Disney World. 

The big unknown is whether or not passengers even see me. If they do, then they must be thankful for the salutation. If not, well, at least I tried.  

Waving at people is not without precedent. I recall a roadside waver on the Pennsylvania Turnpike who waved at motorists from his lawn chair for years.  Passersby responded by beeping. I like to believe if airplanes had horns, they would beep at me, too, because they sure as hell aren’t tipping wings. 

As I think back, I reluctantly realize that I may have been duped by my sister.  But all is forgiven. The joy of waving to people over many years, seen or unseen, has been uplifting. I like to think for them, as well, if they ever saw me. 

As crazy as it looks, I’ll continue being that ambassador, waving at and welcoming airplanes. Keep an eye out for me if you’re flying into Rochester some day. And, please, wave back or at least smile. The world needs more of both. 


Dedicated to my sister and big sisters, everywhere. 

“Love In a Parking Lot”

It was a moment in time, in the open for all to see.  I saw it, love in a parking lot.  Others may have missed it, not me. And there was no mistaking what it was, love, pure and simple.

In an act of old-fashioned chivalry, a tall, sophisticated looking man tenderly draped his arm around the shoulders of his attractive companion, gently moving her closer to him. His comforting smile exuded confidence.  Her upward glance signaled approval, as though she, herself, had encouraged him.

They walked deliberately, amid a swarm of busy shoppers rushing to buy supplies before the storm, too consumed with Mother Nature, perhaps, to see it. But I saw it, the wonderful and rare public display of affection, love in a parking lot.

People are hurrying and scurrying, so focused on where they’re going or where they’ve been, that they often miss where they are.  Not me.  I’m always looking!  Life is full of wonderful moments, if we avail ourselves of the opportunity to see them.  Too often, in our haste, we miss the ‘theatre’ around us.

Not me. I enjoy watching people. My wife calls it ‘staring’, I call it ‘observing’.  I see the remarkable and unremarkable, the pleasant and unpleasant, the ordinary and not so ordinary.  I multitask with my eyes and ears, not passing the time so singularly focused that I miss life’s sometimes ‘bigger moments’, like love in a parking lot.

As for the ‘lovers’, I was not surprised to learn they were married 45 years. And this one moment of him protecting her from the icy wind by drawing her closer to his warmth, affirmed to me their mutual and enduring love.

I hope more people saw it, too, their love for each other, on display in a parking lot, because in a brief but poignant moment between two people, two lovers, I was uplifted.  It made me smile.

From time to time, if you’re looking, ‘observing’, you may be fortunate to witness true love, too, or some other special moment.  I’m always looking!


Dedicated to those of us who are ‘always looking’ and for people in love, everywhere

‘I Was a QVC ‘Virgin’

(A repost from April 2015. Why? I like it and wanted to expose it to new followers)

There’s an old adage that ‘the easiest person to sell to is another salesperson’. I don’t buy it!

I spent my career in sales which has nothing to do with the fantastic chopper, mixer, blender, all-in-one appliance that I bought from the QVC shopping network today, the wildly popular Ninja. What a magnificent collection of blades and bowls. I didn’t need the sales pitch to make me dial.  It was good, but that’s not what sold it. 

I saw the drinks and desserts this compact culinary cutie was churning out and felt my credit card twitching in my pocket.  ‘You’ll be more efficient in the kitchen and put pizzazz in your food prep’, the host assurred us. Ha, talk is cheap. One demo, and I knew that after some trial and error, we’d be juicing and sluicing our way to gourmet heaven.
The bullet point delivery of the on-air personality with fingernails as polished as his lines, didn’t sway me one bit.  But, the way he sampled the food stimulated my taste buds and had me salivating for more. 

I saw the ‘value’ in this slick slicer. Sure, the tv sales pro made the points, but I could see it, anyway.  I could have sold this thing to myself.  Oh, my, maybe I did!

What did I do?  I lost my merchandising innocence over a food chopper. Here I was, a staunchly disciplined shopper succumbing to the oldest trick, showing something sexy alongside the product, food. 

I couldn’t dial fast enough, the 800 number seemed to have 800 numbers. ‘My first time! My first time’, I mumbled to my wife, incoherently, and she replied as only a wife could, ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’  No, I probably didn’t. But who does when it’s the ‘first time’?  

I gave them my credit card number, and the secret 3 digit code on the back. My chest was pounding, I was having an adrenalin rush. Whatever they asked for, I gave them, in spades.  I’d make a terrible prisoner-of-war. 

I completely caved and spelled out my email address, too. I must be the most popular guy at QVC.  How else do you explain the stream of emails flooding my InBox?

And the ‘schmaltz’ from the phone rep was thicker than fresh churned butter. It was hard to resist her pitch.  Here I was, a QVC virgin moments ago, and a seasoned sales pro to boot, still hyperventilating from my first time and now they wanted more.

I was weak, I admit it. I needed some recovery time. But I also needed recipes, so I succumbed and went a second round, bought a book. It felt good.  I sensed the change. I was catching on. I enjoyed it. It could become habit forming, and I thought, “y’know, an old guy like me needs a thrill every so often.” 

But if they think I’m addicted, I’ve read the fine print.  There’s always fine print. If this sweet purchase doesn’t measure up to our standards, it’s going back. Meantime, I’ve got 30 days to play with it.  But deadlines can be moved, sales guys know that.  

Incidentally, the first batch of muffins was very good…


Dedicated to hard working sales people and buyers who drive our economy, ‘Nothing happens until something is sold’ (unknown)