Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bigger Boxes

We often hear it told
That we need to get out of our box.
It usually means the speaker
Perceives us to be unable
To grasp their ideas.

I really don't think
It is possible to escape our box.
It is built by our past,
Our experience,
Our knowlege.

The real question is,
How big is your box?
Is it a closet,
A small house,
Or a gymnasium?

Is there room in your box
For others?
Or is your box
Just barely a fit
For you?

Is there abundance in your box?
Or is it a desert place
Containing nothing
But you

Is your box full of love?
Is it a place
Where others are welcome
To spend some time

Or is your box
Filled with anger
And hatred
And bitterness
And fear?

Quit trying to get out of your box.
Make your box bigger.
Fill it and fill it some more.
Our boxes are expandable.
If you begin with love.

If there is no love
It will shrink
Until there is nothing left
But you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Lonely High Place

It has seemed like a long week. I headed for Kansas on Monday and worked there for a few days before working my way back south. I had numerous good sales calls which should have me fired up but for some reason it just hasn't been that way. I think I need to go find a high place and sit awhile.

Sometimes I have the need to climb a hill and just sit and stare off into the distance. That probably seems strange to most people but there are plenty of others like me. You find them in National Parks or on river banks or on horseback. They generally feel comfortable alone. They need space. They need time to think.

It seems sometimes
The clutter in my head
Needs airing out.

Those are the times
I find a lonely place
And sit a think.

Perhaps to say I think
Is a mischaracterization
Of what I do.

A better description
Might be to say
I spend some time just being.

For those of you not familiar
With what just being entails,
It is the opposite of doing.

The best thing about just being
Is that the clutter in my mind
Gets organized

And my thoughts become clearer
Until the peace that enters in
Allows me to hear God.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palo Duro Canyon in the New York Times

My area is getting a little publicity in the national press. Check out this article from the NY Times about some of the local scenery. People truly don't realize what lies out here in "flyover" country until they spend some time here.

I noticed in the review that Leal's is a suggested place for dining. I thoroughly second that opinion. Victor and Debbie Leal, who own the restaurant, are great people. Victor grew up in the big city of Muleshoe, Texas, where his parents opened the first Leal's Restaurant in the 1950's. If you are out this way you need to make sure you experience their version of Tex-Mex cuisine. You'll be happy that you did. They are conveniently located right off of Interstate 40.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Trade Shows and Interstellar Travel

The Fall and Winter months are "Trade Show Season" for our industry. The Fall is also our "rush" time. I don't understand why the heaviest travel schedule coincides with the time during which I most need to be in the office.

I have spent most of the day lining up my travel itineraries -- all the way into January. The worst part is that there are a couple of time slots in which I need to be multiple places at the same time. There is actually one day in which I am supposed to be 3 places, in 3 different states, at the same time.

I asked my son (the future engineer) the other day to come up with some kind of transporter device like they have on Star Trek. It would really help me out. He immediately replied that it was slightly more difficult than interstellar travel at greater than light speed. When I asked why he replied that there was too great a danger of materializing in occupied space. I suggested a proximity sensor of some sort. He's still thinking on it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cold Calls

Last week's travel threw me behind. It is amazing how much can accumulate in a few days time. However, the trip was productive. It resulted in one new customer and a number of others who I believe soon will be customers. It is rare in my business to get an immediate order for our services on a first visit. The key, I believe, is that we just seemed to click -- personality, timing and service fitting a need. It happens.

In my years of training salesmen (I may have posted on this before but can't remember), I have tried to teach them to look at each customer contact as one step closer to the sale. That is a difficult proposition for a young salesman trying to get started. "No's" can be hard on the confidence. However, if you count "no's" as being part of the process of getting to "yes," each "no" is considered a positive step forward.

Thinking back on the week, there really weren't any "no's." There was only one stop out of about 30 that was "cool" to the idea of our services. The rest were all positive -- and some were very positive. I expect significant results to develop.

Neal, I appreciate the help.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Travel, Trails and Historical Perspective

This was a day of travel. We're talking 630 miles of travel from south of Amarillo, Texas, to Lincoln, Nebraska. After the break of a long weekend in the mountains, work called me back to reality.

Driving is my preferred mode of travel for my work. There are times when I fly, but most travel through the Plains is about as fast by automobile as it is by air because of multiple stops and then renting a car, etc. Besides, driving time is often productive time. I get a lot of thinking done across the miles.

As I travel I also think about the old trails that crossed the Plains. For the first leg of my trip, the highway followed the old Dodge City to Amarillo trail. Next, I picked up the old Western Trail south of Dodge City and crossed the creek where the cattle herds were held while awaiting their turn into the stockyards for shipment east. At Dodge City I began following the old Santa Fe Trail until turning up US 156 at Great Bend and heading to Ellsworth, Kansas, which was one of the famous "wild west" frontier towns. From there I headed east to Salina and then north toward Nebraska. I crossed a couple of branches of the old trails to the Colorado gold fields of the 1850's and then after entering into Nebraska, I crossed the Pony Express route and the old Overland Route from Independence, Missouri, that angled northwest to the Platte River.

When we think about the wild west we usually don't think about the fact that it started in Kansas. The Kansas cow towns were wild a woolly places until the railroads brought civilization. The Texas Panhandle wasn't settled until after 1876 when the last of the Comanche were driven to the reservations of Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

One of the things that intrigues me about the old trails is how they followed the features of the land. Water was critical, fords across the occasional rivers were important, wood or other fuel for fires was needed, natural features that allowed easy travel for wagons was desired. Campsites were determined by speed of travel as well as by location of water and fuel. Many of the towns of today which dot the Plains, originated with the campsites. That is one reason the space between towns is often somewhat uniform. The distance was determined by the daily travel of an ox drawn wagon. It wasn't really until the advent of the Interstate Highway system that we began to get away from the old trails that crossed the country. Even those roughly follow the old trails. A perfect example is Interstate 80 across Nebraska. It follows the same route as the great westward migration to Oregon and California.

The next time you're traveling across the country, think about why those roads are located where they are and why the towns grew up in their particular locations. It might put a whole new slant on your perspective of history.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Silent footsteps on damp pine needles
Against the constant murmur, gurgle, singing
Water burbling
Growing louder yet never changing
Deceptively deep
River rushing over pebbles
Snags with eddying pools of calm no longer clear
Where lightly placed temptation
Seeking silver flashes and splashes
Carefully netted morsel
Gently released
To grow for next time.