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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Thankless Deed

In honor of November, the Thanksgiving month, I'm thinking of  THE THANKLESS DEED.  That phrase has been sticking in my head lately.  I heard it the first time years ago by my first life mentor.  "Helen, don't forget, the most important deed you can do is the Thankless Deed".  (Thanks, Bill)
   When I say, THE THANKLESS DEED, what's the first thing that comes into your head?  One of my co-workers responded, "...when I bring flowers home to my wife for no reason, but my wife's response is usually, "Ok, what did you do??". 
   My daughter instantly responded with, "That's easy!  Being a mom.  It's the million little things you do that nobody notices, but if you didn't do them, they'd notice".  (You can see lots more of her wisdom at her blog,     
   My favorite thankless deed memory was a Christmas Eve night when I was just a kid; parking a block down the street from someone's house; (strangers to us) sneaking in the dark up onto their porch with my folks and placing a sack full of food and presents on their porch.  We knocked on the door and then ran for all we were worth before the people inside answered the door.  That's one of the few really fond memories I have of my parents.
   So, the thankless deed is something you do, expecting nothing in return.  Right?  But do we really get nothing in return?  My daughter is getting some great kids and the love of her family. 
   I was a recipient of a profound thankless deed when I was 5 years old.  I come from a musical background.  Both of my parents were talented musicians and back in the 50's, they used to have jam sessions at our house.  Professional musicians would come from all over town.  We lived in an upper middle class, all white neighborhood so the African American musicians had to be smuggled in.  (How sad is that??)  Anyway, you'd think you were in a concert hall.  There would be a drum set, a bass fiddle, a piano, several horns and even once there was a vibraphone.
   The wonderful music that came out of those nights is what made me fall in love with music and eventually become a professional singer.  One night, one of the older (black) musicians noticed my interest and let me sit next to him on the piano bench and watch him play.  I was enthralled.  The next day, he came back to the house and spent a couple hours with me, teaching me scales and chords and worked with me until I had a whole song memorized.  He didn't have to do that, but his love of music led him to the thankless deed which, in turn, led me to a career path and a love of music I've carried all my life.  Thankless???  Well, here it is 55 years later and I'm still talking about him. (Thank you, Herman)  
   Make no mistake.  The thankless deed is an event that starts in motion, all the right energy.  We are all made up of energy...cosmic stuff, and what we do affects everything else and everyONE else....everywhere.  NEVER think your actions don't have an impact because they ALWAYS do.    
   Have you ever been involved in a thankless deed that made a difference in your life, either on the giving or receiving end?  I would love to hear about it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another "Life With Bob" story

As a continuation of the Life With Bob series, before Bob and I got married, I was living in a cute little bungalow in West Akron that I had purchased after my divorce.  It was a great little house for me and the kids, but it was really drafty and cold in the winter so, Bob enters my life and offers to help me insulate it.
   He went to great lengths to explain the best kind of insulation to use was the kind you blow into the walls and what the insulation was made of and what the procedure was and of course, all I heard was, "blah, blah, blah" and I'm thinking, 'don't care, just make it so.  BIG mistake.  I  should have paid more attention. 
   The first issue was, we foolishly decided to do this in the dead of winter when the temperature was in the teens.  So we go to the Army/Navy store and buy bright orange survival suits that will withstand below-freezing temperatures for days.  We also bought big huge black boots called Mickey Mouse boots, evidently because they look like Mickey Mouse feet.  Then we bought the insulation which came in 40 big bags each shaped about the size of a bale of hay and weighed about 30 pounds apiece.  The store then lets you use the machine to blow the insulation in.  It was a hopper about as tall as me.
   So, a couple days before the big event, Bob went around the house and drilled a bunch of 1/2 dollar sized holes all over the house in which to blow the insulation.  And on the big day, we suited up in bright orange and black (so the neighbors couldn't miss how stupid I am!) and gloves and ear muffs.  Bob set up the hopper just inside the garage ("to keep you out of the wind so you won't get too cold") uh-huh.  Then he attached the 5,000 foot ( yes, an exaggeration) hose. 
   My job was to open the bags and dump them in the hopper.  This entailed slicing open the bags, hoisting them up on my shoulder and slowly dumping them in.  The first 10 or so weren't too bad, but after that each one started to feel substantially heavier.  I couldn't see Bob because he started on the other side of the house. (The sly fox)
   Half way through the bags, I had to take a break to get the feeling back in my shoulder so I decided to walk around the house to see how Bob was doing.  And there he was...............just standing there...................whistling...................eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich..................with a hose sticking in a hole.
   Of course, he did a deer-in-the-headlight when he saw me or more likely felt my laser beam stare burning into the back of his head.  He stood there frozen for just a second.....and then started laughing his ass off and comments sailed out of me like, "YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH!!!!"
   He tried to weasle his way out by telling me that you had to know just how to blow the insulation in and how to be alert to when it was time to change holes and blah, blah, blah.
   The only redeeming part of the whole day was when we went back in the kitchen and I opened one of the cupboards only to have insulation pour out and cover the kitchen floor.  Three guesses who cleaned THAT up!