Be That Person

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How you make people feel about themselves says an awful lot about you. No one knows who’s quote this is but I figure if I say it enough eventually it will be attributed to me. No? Ok but I can live it. It’s the number one way to create your legacy. Be that person.

You can be that person in any number of ways to any number of people or groups of people. But how will you know if, let me rephrase, when you’ve become that person? Oh you’ll know…

I had the distinct honor of attending a Sales Manager’s function this week and it became perfectly clear after the many hugs and kisses and stories that I had become that person. Define “that” in whatever way you choose.   For some I was helpful, for some I was fair, for some I was a pain in the ass. One of the manager’s began telling the story of our first encounter when after the third email I may have said something along the lines of “I’m really not the person you want to be strong arming”. The collective gasp was not because I may have said that but because this manager got me there. And the stories began to emerge about the time she…. Don’t worry they were all happy endings, I think. If nothing else they were hysterical.

I’ve had the great fortune to be doing what I do for many years and so I’ve become part of the vernacular and part of the day to day. I’m that person you call when…If anyone will know…Let’s start with… I know almost everyone and if I don’t know them they know me, how cool is that?

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While circulating with the crowd, if there is someone new, I introduce them to someone old. If they’ve just arrived I herd them over to their Area Manager.  I ask about their family and their business and their sales people. One of the descriptions went something like the high school chaperone making sure everyone mingled. Just love that.

When you go to work each day the temptation to just do what you need to do and get up and do it again, as Jackson Browne said, isn’t my style. For whatever reason, boredom sets in easily for me, I see things that need to be fixed, and I’m a big picture person. These are things that don’t easily fit into a performance review. Samuel A Culbert wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, “To my way of thinking, a one-sided-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense. It’s a negative corporate performance, an obstacle to straight talk relationships, and a prime cause of low morale at work.” If you know me you know like you know I’m a straight talk kind of a woman. Further, I may have mentioned once or twice that a former boss of mine once described me as having the ability to slap you so hard you think you got a kiss. That about sums it up.

Though these things may not be performance review worthy they are genuinely part of my work routine. If one could measure their work in the number of hugs received at these events then one would be sure to get a very nice raise. Instead I get respect and that Cinderella feeling of being the Belle of the Ball. I am grateful to work with these people; they are a unique bunch with their feet firmly planted on the ground and a work ethic that has completely annihilated the stereotype of car sales manager. I am especially grateful to the individual who went to each and every bar in the hotel and adjoining club until he found a Dubonet for me. Zeke you are my hero.

And I’m not talking about just the men. You’re aware this is still a male centric business right? The women sales managers are cut from a very similar cloth as I am; the slap-them-so-hard cloth. The straight talking, pragmatic, we’ve got our own way of doing things thank you very much cloth. Car Hags one and all and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration being one of the original Car Hags.

In reflecting on this event it occurred to me that my mentor taught me most of what I know about this business and its people. He is no longer with us but the respect paid him at the end of his life was out the door and around the building if you know what I mean. He was “that person”; I can only hope to follow so completely in his footsteps.




The Last of the Calla Lilies

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But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” ― Stephen King

I confess I’m not a summer person, so while everyone is lamenting the shorter days and the snap in the air I love September.  It gives me a minute to get back to my garden after the screaming hot days of summer (although this year was not so bad) where you can’t prune or weed or plant or harvest.  Even though September begins the process of putting the garden to bed I still love it.  I begin with the Calla Lilies that are bent over and getting dirty but still producing those magnificent funnel shaped spathe bract.  Yes that’s what you call it, you can’t call it a petal you can call it a type of leaf.  As the leaves unfurl some of them become full on leaves and some bring this beautiful funnel enclosing a spike in its center.  In the spring the funnel will turn a velvety white but in the fall they remain the color of the leaves.

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There is so much folklore wrapped around the Calla Lily.  The phallic spike lends itself to spells and sorcery both to increase male sex drive and lessen male sex drive, to aid against impotency and to cause impotence, there is also a spell to keep him faithful.  The word Calla is Greek for magnificent beauty and so the flower has come to be associated with the Virgin Mary and purity.  This combination of attributes has made the Calla Lily a popular wedding flower representing the idealized virginity of the bride and the fertile future of the couple.  It is also a prominent funeral flower usually for those who may have died before their time.

“The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower—suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.” ― Katharine Hepburn, Stage Door

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And so it’s fitting that the Calla Lily in my garden is one of the first to appear in the spring and the one in the fall to “kick summer out on its treacherous ass. “  Stephen King is right, once the Calla’s no longer whiten and begin to fall over the nostalgia and the stories seem to follow.  We are forced inside into comfortable chairs.  Just this morning we were reminiscing about Sol and Lena, former neighbors that I remember from fifty years ago. I remember them as vividly today as I did then.  They have become a part of my childhood that is dear to me.  I would spend hours at the back of their wrap around front porch playing with the doll house that Sol made.  The furniture was made of spools and match boxes and match sticks and scraps of fabric and lace and buttons.  Their house was filled with pictures in silver frames that were always polished.  These were the people they had lost, these were the talismans of their daily life to touch the frames and polish them kept them connected.  I have always said that someday I would name a set of dogs after them; so far I have my Lina.  There is still time to honor Sol.

I won’t miss the summer, I never do.  I believe Wallace Stegner when he muses,  “That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”

Many people believe that September is really the New Year.  There are renewed resolutions, fall cleaning for the predicted days inside to come, and the anticipation of filling the house with the smells of signature dishes.  September is one of my favorite months full of so much reminiscing and renewal and the grass is still green.

To enjoy more of the last of the Calla Lilies visit the Ordinary Legacy Facebook page, feel free to Like us too.

Let Your Hands Tell Your Story


From watching him play the other day – I recognize his hands in the picture, she mused.  My friend is talking about a street artist we had the pleasure of listening to just recently. I love his story but I don’t really know it. He was a clarinetist; he is a lover of Mozart and jazz. He plays it all on a table of water glasses down near the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria VA. How does one wind up as a street performer, how does one learn to play glasses of water, how do you find yourself in this position but still love what you do?

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Eat, Pray, Love; “We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That’s our privilege. That’s the joy of a mortal body. And that’s why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.”  I find the thought of that fascinating and interesting somehow, but I think at the same time I knew it. Going back over some of my images I found many that reflected hands and I instantly knew the circumstances and the feeling that went with each image.


If you find yourself holding someone’s hand when they need it most it will become part of your story. “One hand I extend into myself, the other toward others”, said Dejan Stojanovic. There are times they may not even realize you’re holding their hand, like when you teach them about living on their own, surrounding themselves with themselves and enjoying their own company, but you’ve made a difference in their life.


This is especially true in the life of a dog. Trust, love, familiarity, your hands can convey all of these things. A dog knows your story better than you do sometimes. Never raise your hand to a dog but always extend it. DSC_9802 (2) 135 DSC_5809

And while you’re extending your hand to someone you love your story and theirs will become one. That wonderful time when you join your lives and as John Geddes so wisely said in A Familiar Rain…“…we’ve let go of so many things, but never each other’s hand …”  If the unthinkable happens and your lives are no longer joined it may very well be because you let go of each other’s hands, by choice or by circumstance. That too becomes your story.

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You will leave notes. DSC_0056

You will celebrate. 095

You will create.DSC_8494 You will ponder. 003

You will lend your hand. DSC_2043 (2)

You will reassure. DSC_0329

You will work. 198

You will discover. DSC_3199

And you will grow old. “…You won’t age? I promise you this – your hands will go shiny and transparent and at the slightest bruise they’ll bleed…”  ― John Geddes.


But if you’ve lived your life through your hands in a way that God can “feel things”, your story just might be a beautiful one that people will tell over and over. Like Mozart’s for instance, being told to this day in concert halls and on street corners.