Category Archives: Weekends Wisdoms and Wonders

The creation of the American weekend was a Godsend

In 1908 (or there about), an East coast Industrialist (you would think his name would be etched in stone and revered in song), came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to close up shop on Saturday and Sunday to allow his Christian and Jewish workers to celebrate their respective religious day of worship.  At the time, the “weekend” as we know it, didn’t exist. This simple, but righteous gesture turned out to be the start of a revolutionary  change in the American workplace. In addition to the goodwill he personally received, this Industrialist discovered that his workers made fewer mistakes in doing their jobs once they returned to work from their two-day sabbatical.  As a result, his business boomed, profits zoomed – and what followed was the beginning of a shift in employee and employer relations that changed the world’s workplace.

That dear people, is how Americans (in the words of the R & B super group, The O’ Jays, began “Living for the Weekend” – not to “party down,” but to have time off with family and community to pray and revitalize one’s body and soul.

A decade or so later, Henry Ford, that master of American manufacturing innovation, adopted that “worker’s weekend” idea but added a twist: he did not reduce the size of his employee’s paycheck to compensate for their time off. As a result, rank and file Ford Motor Company employees not only had more time to rest and relax; they had more money to spend. And just as Ford envisioned, they bought Ford cars – lots of Ford cars along with other goods and services. Other car manufacturers adopted the “Ford Way” and so did America. This new approach to the workplace help lead the way to a more consumer-driven economy. And in the late 1930’s, then President Roosevelt signed into law the 8-hour day, 5-day work week.

That’s how the “weekend” became enshrined into law and into the American Psyche.

Past posts on this blog have, hopefully in a light-hearted way, implored, cajoled, nagged, suggested and requested that folks use their weekend to change the “who, what, where, why, when and how” of their lives to give themselves a maximum of joy and happiness; to build memories for a moment in time and for a time in the future.  This brief history of the founding of the “weekend” is to shed light on why we have those two precious days of “possibilities” beyond their original intent. However, folks still, by and large, use the weekend to worship in the faith they choose (or none at all) as guaranteed by our Constitution.  But as Henry Ford foresaw, weekends have morphed into enjoying the fruits of our labor from a cornucopia of experiences.  I will continue (every now and again) to urge you to feast upon that endless array of life. To that end, I have attached my latest appeal for you to discard your “ordinary” for the unusual; from the “been there, done that” to the new and exhilarating; to the mind-boggling, sensational and hair-raising “different” – but in a good way, mind you.

Consider the words of Wayne Dyer, American Author and Motivational Speaker, “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live each day as if it were your last.”

We all know that that “last day” is pre-ordained. When the time comes, will you have a weekend memory that was an absolute blast? One that will again rock your heart and soul as you smile your last. Or will your final fleeting thoughts be of a weekend that was like all the rest – a nice memory, but nothing earth-shaking; just time gone by and faint visions of living one’s life safely, gracefully, tastefully. Don’t get me wrong, that will be enough to please one’s soul as a way to appraise the travels on the roads, paths, and trails you have taken through life. But, and I truly believe this – many of us will mourn our past of lost chances that flowered and flowed in and around our lives beckoning us to burst for joy; cry from a deep well of happiness from have the pleasure of perhaps loving long, or loving short – but loving well. To think back and laugh, laugh, laugh at a silliness that made your heart  smile,  maybe produced a hug, and you were smothered in kisses that unexpected day you tasted the “incredible.”

I have no idea what experience would be off-the-charts, superbly different, and exquisitely splendid, that might leave you convulsing with excitement. But I know there is something in your future that will do just that; if you let it happened, if you seek it. Perhaps you have already had a “memory moment,” great – on to the next “future joy!” In the meantime, to kick off this springtime weekend of the New Year, here is another oh-so-gentle plea urging you to spend this Saturday and Sunday on a quest for a mega-memory that will inspire you, conspire within you a desire to begin living for your weekends.

 

WEEKENDS, WEAK ENDS, AND WEEKS ON END WITH THE SAME END.

Here I am again. That crazy fool in www-land, nagging and ragging about expanding your weekend life; trying to get you on a different curve – but most likely getting on your last nerve. So this one is short and sweet; concise and neat: open your dreaming heart to search for a different view of things you can do. I don’t want you to have weak end to your weekend. I want you to transcend and let something new create a trend. Imagine taking a ride on a tide of an adorable vibe that gets you a look at a beautiful side of a sigh.

I believe in the new for you; not the usual things you do. How many times has the usual made Sunday night blue? Ending with another unfulfilled weekend with you wondering where the time flew? Why your heart and found nothing new and exciting to do?

Which every now and then, I nudge you to change your weekend habits; dag-nab-it!  Make those 48-hours open up their pleasures and treasures; you can create a weekend of happiness beyond measure. So when you get that smile from across the aisle that says, “Hello. I’d like to give you my heart today,” don’t freeze – buckle at the knees” – go with the flow and let life that day give you wonderful weekend glow.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”  So says Karen Kaiser Clark, International Speaker, & Authority on coping with loss and growth through pain.

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Roads, Paths, & Trails – “Weekends, Wisdoms and Wonders.” All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: here is a link to that rousing mega-hit song “Living for the Weekend” by the R&B group – The O ‘Jays. Take a listen if you’re so inclined: https://youtu.be/ynJO_XQ2Fs

UNSOLICITED COMMENT: the Hilton Hotel company is currently promoting “Weekender” deals at all their properties. Seems I am not the only one trying to get you to make a weekend of it.

 

Last weekend was a wonder of old and new; of ancient Greek and Roman treasures on view – in a city by an ocean blue.

It was a family affair, too: son, daughter (in-law), wife and me. We were all filled with glee; there were the most incredible things to see – and it was all free. Thanks to a man named Getty; who had this vision to re-create a 1st Century Roman country house named “the Villa dei Papiri.”

For a month or so, I have been suggesting, requesting, urging and encouraging one and all to experience some new experiences. To break from the every weekend, weekend of habit that we sometime hold near and dear; and the reasons why we do so can be many things – I pass no judgment here.

And so, in the spirit of that famous saying, “….practice what you preach,” my past weekend was full of wisdoms beyond speech. I got out there. Went there; walked the halls of this wondrous Villa filled to the brink with art from the past; and it was such a blast.

Hallways and side rooms were lined with sculptures emblazoned with the images of people who lived the good life in ancient Greece and Rome in the years dating from 560 BC to 100 AD. Pottery old and bold; painted with scenes of glory in fine detail and colors rich and pleasing to the eye. Exquisite gem rings; gold bracelets, gold and gemstone necklaces so beautifully designed that they could grace the most stylish ladies of today, and none would be wiser. Mr. Getty’s Villa dei Papiri featured several rare gardens planted with spices, flowers and fruit readily familiar to the Romans of 250 BC. We strolled on a walkway circling a courtyard with beautifully hand painted walls and ceilings in colors rich in tones and realism. Corinth pillars sculpted with designs of flowers supported the ceiling structure. Priceless mosaics were handmade with pieces slightly larger that the head of a ball point pen. Master craft men were at work back then.

We laid eyes upon the silver shield of Hannibal – yes, that “Hannibal.” There were displays of silver platters, cups; gods carved from silver and gold, silverware rare; “offering bowls” of gold made us stare. Villa dei Papiri displayed its many fountains and its 150- pool – it was really gorgeous; so very cool

So where is this treasure trove to which we drove? It’s known the world over for the stars that live on its shore; where the sport of choice is to “catch a wave,” and the evening brings beautiful sunsets of fiery red haze. Its soft sandy beach played host to a “bevy of beauties” in a make-believe TV show that many us came to know: “Bay Watch” – filmed in Malibu – the city at the edge of America on the Pacific Ocean so blue.

But we weren’t through for the day.

We headed back south along the Pacific Coast Highway to the 106-year old world famous Santa Monica Pier. It was time for a late, late lunch and a pitcher of beer. It was jammed packed with faces of all races; people in all sizes, shapes and state of dress – it was a damned wonderful scene, I must confess.

There were street singers and performers, show men showing off; fishermen mingled, beach bums lingered, babies wailing and caterwauling – folks talking in so many languages it was like a babbling horde; but picture-taking was the common thread bringing smiles wide and wonderful to those talking heads. There were handbag dogs in purses large; vendors hawking caps, straw hats, this, that and the other; artists luring some to take a seat and let them draw our face with charcoal on a canvas – it was pretty neat. T-shirt booths silently shouted over the din: get your Santa Monica Pier hoodies and sweat shirts in all the colors of the rainbow right here – urging you to drop a bundle of cash for that souvenir.

Some folk were riding the Ferris Wheel; more were learning how to be Trapeze Artists for the fun of it. Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Know (no such person, made it up, but he was there in many versions) and the cousins were tired and were sitting on benches soaking up the sun covered in sun lotion; watching the kiddies splash in the frothy ocean – and young adults frolicked in bikinis and shorts strutting their hormones causing much commotion. The restaurants were packed to the gills; folks eating their fill – music blaring loud making it hard for anybody to sit still.

Too soon it was time to take the long walk to the car for the long ride home. What a day, what a day! But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything – no way! It had been nearly a decade since my last trip to Santa Monica; and had driven the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu. I had never been to the J. Paul Getty’s Villa dei Papiri museum; that experience was new through and through. By the way, they offer tours in nine languages and I think I heard at least six of them spoken last weekend.

So there you have it: my break from my ordinary weekend was worth every moment of the 300-plus mile journey. I was awe-struck with wonder at the antiquities of old; gained some wisdom from the story they told. And I promise you this: as soon as I am able, I will embark upon another weekend soaking up life’s people, places and fables; and come that Monday – I will sigh, smile and remember, that the world rocked my world with a weekend of memories filled with splendor.

“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow”
——Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist, 1749 – 1832

Copyright (c) 2015. Roads, Paths & Trails. “Weekends, Wonders & Wisdoms” – #5. All Rights Reserved.

True stories behind the story of “Weekends, Wisdoms and Wonders.”

As a young ad agency Copywriter – which made me a member of the “Mad Men” fraternity depicted in the long-running hit TV show which just ended, I worked for a US-based advertising agency with international branches and subsidiaries.  It was near the end of a 3-day corporate meeting being held in Omaha, Nebraska when the “Big Deal” was dropped in my lap. I was part of the team that put together the total presentation program: full multi-screen visuals, all the printed documents – every detail produced to showcase for the attendees the prior year’s successes. The kudos were hot and heavy (meaning it was well-received by the Corporate Suits.) It was at the close of the conference when the “offer” was extended to me. Totally unsolicited and unexpected.

Although the event was primarily for our US offices; many of our world-wide affiliates made the trek to cold, blustery Omaha. It made good sense from many points of view.  One of those overseas offices was in Hong Kong.  And it was this office that tendered the invitation to me to join their creative staff.  Before I get in to details, I must tell you about another opportunity that come my way before the Hong Kong debacle. It dovetailed with the China offer in spectacular fashion..

My primary mentor, a “giant” in opening up job opportunities in the advertising agency business for African-Americans in Chicago, was part of the famous (or infamous) class of “Mad Men” from the Windy City who became close advisors to the Nixon Administration. He became head of a major section of the Department of Education; and as such extended an offer to me to join his management team.  I went so far as to fly to Washington to discuss the particulars.  I loved (and still do) Washington, D.C.  I have visited numerous times over the years.  In the end, I turned down the offer.  Over time, I have surmised that my decision was taken as an affront by my mentor. It shouldn’t have been. But from his perspective, considering all he had done to get me  established in the ad business, I understand his reaction.  In actuality, other things ultimately played a decisive role and trumped my personal success goals at the time – as I will explain later. Be that as it may, my relationship with my friend was never the same.  From my vantage point, however, I never stopped admiring and singing his praise to any and all who would listen when it came to giving credit to how I got into the ad agency business.

Back to Hong Kong. In fact, I have to go back even further to my freshman year in college to provide more background for my decision regarding that China job offer.

I attended a small Midwestern religious-based Liberal Arts college where the student body was basically 100% White (it has since attained University status and is more integrated; though the enrollment is still overwhelmingly White.) This is important because during my time in attendance, there were only about a dozen Black students on campus; but only five were African-Americans.  The other minority students were recruited from the Caribbean and Africa through the church affiliation’s missionary work. In fact, in previous years there were no African-American students enrolled at all. White students were not accustomed to Black Americans from any perspective; and especially one from Chicago (me), who shattered all types of comfort zones, myths, anecdotal homilies and other stereotypes.

It was during new student orientation week, when an English professor encouraged us to share a secret educational “dream.” Being who I am, I boldly proclaimed my desire to learn Chinese and visit that country. What ensured was dead silence. Then there slowly arose snickers, muffled non-syllable words and snorts.  The professor uttered some comment like, “admirable” or “interesting” or some such bland inanity; but the way in which it was done served the purpose of dismissing my statement completely.  Within days, it was all over the campus that the Black guy from Chicago was deemed to be certifiable nuts for  wanting to learn the Chinese language.  Where did he get that idea? I would bet my worse enemy’s reputation that what was unspoken was: what nerve! And that’s putting it nicely. No, I never learned to speak Chinese, and when the chance to work in China was offered; well – I passed on the opportunity.

That made it two in a row. Two chances to gain wisdom and knowledge.  Insofar as China was concerned, to explore the wonders of a 5,000 year old society that few African-Americans have ever seen up close and personal was the stuff of dreams.  And I muffed it. Badly. Even worse than terribly; possibly it could be labeled as unforgivable. I would not dispute any of those descriptions.

How had I reached my China decision?  What in the world could have held me back from leaping at the opportunity to change my life and that of my family?  To make a career move that would have opened up future job possibilities that I could not even have imagined.  What indeed?  Quite simply, it was good old-fashioned fear; not having the self-confidence to believe in myself – even when others obviously saw talents worthy of their investment in me.  I also believe, subconsciously of course, that the reception to my “China statement” back during my freshman orientation, stuck with me; resurfacing and adding fuel to the fire leading to my ultimate decision. Taken together, these things formed the bedrock of my saying “no” to accepting that job in China.  I rationalized it by telling myself that I was not ready – whatever that meant; and in the case of Washington, D.C., family issues were piled on top of those shortcomings, and they trumped the Nixon Administration and my mentor.

The other reason I rejected the China offer, and this was quite legitimate: was the geo-politics of race. It was well-known at the time that the prevailing view among the Chinese toward Africans, as well as Black Americans was one of utter disdain; total disrespect. They looked upon folk like me as inferior – period.  I just couldn’t see taking my family into another racially hostile system; which in all probability was an even worse discriminatory environment than the one we lived in at home. Rightly or not, the prospect of facing the pain of hate living in China, overruled the incredible learning experience of living in a country full of natural and man-made wonders; while gaining wisdoms that would surely have influenced me and my family forever; be they good or bad.

Despite those real and perceived obstacles, I should have found the strength, the will – yes, the backbone to welcome China with an open heart and mind. In the words of Author, Stephen Kaggwa, “Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.”  Thus, the idea of “Weekends, Wisdoms & Wonders” was born. But there’s still more to the story of its conception.

My wife and I made every effort to expose our three sons to the many fine museums, cultural locations; all the sites, sights and sounds that a vibrant city like Chicago had to offer.  We spent many summer days along the shores and beaches of Lake Michigan, visiting zoos, marveling at the water show of the famous Buckingham Fountain – anywhere we thought our boys would like, appreciate and hold fond memories for them in years to come. When we could afford a vacation – off we went: road trip, road trip.  One year I suggested we go spelunking (Mammoth Cave in Kentucky was the destination); you should have heard the groans and moans.  But your know what? It turned out to be one of our most incredible, memorable and unforgettable experiences ever. Ever!

After many years of adventures, one day our sons told us that some of their friends had never seen or experienced any of the things they had; never seen Lake Michigan or been in the world-famous Chicago Loop; let alone visited a museum.  We were stunned! In disbelief. Because all the things I have mentioned about our Chicago trips were, in many instances, less than an hour or so from our neighborhood.  Later, out of earshot of the kids, as we discussed their bombshell of a comment, it humbled us. Because none of the reasons those kids had missed out on these so-called “normal” activities – were good: lack of funds, no transportation, a sick or disabled parent or guardian; and yes, even the lack of parental involvement. We would find out nearly twenty years later(we had relocated out of Chicago by then); many of those children succumbed to life’s challenges. Some of the boys ended up dead or in prison.. A few of the girls were stuck in hard lives with a bleak future.  But most emerged as solid, hardworking, morally responsible citizens; but a doctor, several teachers, a few top-tier business persons, as well as two military officers also sprang from that so-called deprived bunch of kids. So all was not lost. Yes, our sons turned out just fine.

Now you have the full and complete backstories behind “Weekends, Wisdoms & Wonders.”

For the record, no posts were or are intended to lecture, poke a finger in someone’s eye, berate or criticize  a lifestyle – or otherwise cause negative feelings for anyone. Quite the contrary. I remembered those children of that long ago neighborhood; and of my unforgiving, unforgettable failings of courage to step through two doors of incredible opportunities presented to me. So I thought why not occasionally blog about all the wonderful people, places and things one can see and do in a weekend – and the wisdoms to be gained from those experiences. I then decided to add some “words of wisdoms” to sweeten the pot – to prod my blog visitors to take a step toward getting out of the ordinary habitual things we humans are comfortable doing week end and week out.  And to attempt to do it in a light, fun and non-critical manner.

By the way, what’s on your agenda this weekend?  Drat! I couldn’t resist.

“He is able who thinks he is able”  —-Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, Founder of Buddhism, 563-483 BC

Copyright(c) 2015. Roads, Paths & Trails. “Weekends, Wisdoms & Wonders.” All Rights Reserved.

This weekend, think about the wonder of seeing new people, places and things.

Look around you today. Think about what you want to do and see. Gather your wits about you; then head off to somewhere you’ve been wanting to be.  Was that museum near here, or over there – drat, I can’t remember.  Oh, well – maybe I’ll amble on over to the pier, sit, and think about this coming September.

If you had your druthers, and it wasn’t any trouble; who would you most like to meet this Sunday: someone to discuss worldly things?  Maybe sing the praise of bygone days?  Raise the rafters with laughter?  Honor the ways of winter?  Muse over a love that was oh so tender?

I used to have a thing about things.  How they got their name. From whence they came; what gave them fame? Places were much the same, in my game of going to see what it was that they claimed. So this weekend, if your philosophy is one of taking people, places and things for granted; then maybe it’s time for you to unlock your wondrous spirit and set it free from that case of granite.

“If we’re growing, we are always going to be out of our comfort zone” ——John Maxwell, American Author and Motivational Speaker.

Copyright (c) 2015.  Roads, Paths & Trails – “Weekends, Wisdoms & Wonders – #4” (June 5, 2015). All Rights Reserved.

How to create a weekend that’s carefree, charming and of good cheer.

How’s this for starters: a picnic and the beverage many revere – ice-cold beer.  In limited quantities, mind you – just enough to offer a toast, “here hear!”  If that’s not your cup of tea, why not look for razzle-dazzle in odd places; new faces, carefree jaunts that bring new gazes.

Remember now, our world is full of wonder; so don’t worry about a little rain – but mind the lightning and thunder.  Be your charming self; shoulders back, head held high – take a trip on a ride that brings a tear to your eye.  Try the taste of a wonderful new pie; that will certainly bring you good cheer. Then take one home to share with those so dear.

Take a bike ride, walk along the beach in low tide; let a sweet breeze be your guide –  place no limits on what you will abide in the name of pride; within reason of course.  Play a game that makes you cheer, wave your arms, jump up and down – scream and yell until you’re hoarse.

Of course you’ll want to celebrate and commemorate this date; take it to heart; and that’s smart, because now you’ll be chomping at the bit, waiting for the next weekend to start.

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today” ——William Allen White, American Journalist

Copyright (c) 2015. Roads, Paths & Trails, “Weekends, Wisdoms, Wonders”  #3. May 29, 2015.

All Rights Reserved.

Friday. May 22. 2015. “A goal is a dream with a deadline” —-Napoleon Hill, American Author. Picture your weekend this weekend as bright, brilliant and beautiful.

Oh, the beauty of it all: sunrises hark the day; sunsets that hold you sway.  In between there’s magic in the air. Make a joyous noise to start your weekend; be bountiful in your glee if you dare. Let your hair down, toss it around; or keep your curls low, shining with a glow.

Be bold while shining bright; get your swagger-thing going- become a brilliant, beautiful sight; try this with all your might.  You know you want to fly; to skip-dance across the sky. Take comfort in that you have two glorious days to make some waves – to explore a cave, solve a maze.

Don’t be torn come Sunday morn; you still have time to sing a tune, play some catch, meet and greet that someone in the next seat.  When was the last time your ate too much ice cream; dreamed about a dream.  I just bet you once made a promise to keep.  No doubt about it, your presence this weekend would be someone’s treat.

Copyright (c) 2015, Roads, Paths & Trails – “Weekends, Wisdoms and Wonders” #2. All rights reserved