ELEANOR AND MY THUMB

“Birthdays are good for you.

The more you have the longer you live.”

Anonymous

 

October 11, 1951

The United States was fighting in the Korean War.

Harry Truman was President.

The price of gasoline was 19 cents a gallon and a loaf of bread cost 16 cents.

In Columbus, Ohio – Harold and Evelyn Snider were having their third son, Jerry.

That’s me.

My father was a truck driver, my mother a housewife.

 

     *          *          *

October 11, 1884

The United States wasn’t fighting anyone

Chester Arthur was President.

Cars were not yet the major mode of transportation.

Most bread was baked at home.

And in New York City Eleanor Roosevelt was born.

Her parents, Elliott and Anna, were American Socialites (money, power, and influence.)

*          *         *

I share a birthday with Eleanor Roosevelt.

And what’s so special about that?

Although she died in 1962, Eleanor has never failed to make the list of most admired women.

She was the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt and later became one of our first delegates to the United Nations. A prolific writer and spokesperson, she was an advocate for the rights of minorities and the disadvantaged. During the second world war she traveled to England and later the South Pacific to boost the morale of the fighting troops.

Eleanor, in the words of President Truman, became “First Lady of the World.”

And I, in the words of a popular song, “Still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

But the words of Mrs. Roosevelt inspire me to keep searching.

 

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

 

One of the first jobs I ever had as a teenager was a caddy at a golf course five miles from my home. I lived in a bedroom community, people lived there but worked mostly in the bigger town to the north. I used my thumb to get to the golf course everyday during the week the summer of 1964, 65, and 66. I hitch hiked. People on their way to their job were more than happy to give me a ride to mine because of my thumb.

When I made my next big move up the ladder of success and became a janitor, I quit thinking about my thumb. Twenty years went by, then came some terrible bouts of depression and I began to question my self worth. I took up running to help fight the battle and heard a motivational speaker, also a runner, talk about running with her thumb in the air – all the time affirming, “I am thumb-body.”

 

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

 

Now move ahead another 30 years. I’m still running. And I still have my thumb in the air. I’m still setting goals and dreaming big. Our right, yours and mine, to the good life come from God. He’s in the business of making us thumb- bodies. And that is good news.

 

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THE KICK OFF

“There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

Anonymous

Once upon a time I had a job delivering blood for The American Red Cross. One of my stops was The Ohio State University Hospital, located near the famous football stadium where every fall over a hundred thousand fans jam together to watch the Buckeyes kick off their season.

On this particular day, my delivery van was parked next to an ambulance. And there I witnessed the most inspiring kick off in the history of baby booties. A medical team was unloading an infant. The baby was in a glass bubble, wearing a pink outfit and booties. There were tubes and wires all over the body of this little one. I said a prayer as I watched her tiny legs kick. As they began to move toward the hospital, one of her booties flew off. I had a very special feeling at that moment, this kid was going to be all right.

The lesson for all of us, just keep kicking.

As a wise man said long ago, “It’s always too soon to quit.”

Jerry Snider

ONCE UPON A MOUSE

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”

Jim Rohn, author and entrepreneur

Yes, I’m wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.

Why?

First, so I can tell what time it is.

And then to remind me of some wisdom Walt Disney, the creator of  Mickey Mouse, had to share.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

I will concede that when it comes to chasing a dream, some folks may have a few more things going for them than you and I. More money, more resources, more people on their side. But take another look at my watch. When it comes to time, the playing field is level for all of us. The rich man and the poor man both have 24 hours in their day, sixty minutes in an hour, and sixty seconds in a minute. No one gets more and no one gets less.

Bruce Boguski is an author and motivational speaker. When I met him, just like me, he was wearing a watch. But it wasn’t a Micky Mouse watch. His watch was a bit unusual in another way. The watch band he wears holds a empty case where there should be a set of numbers and moving hands. Ask him what time it is and he’ll show you the watch – then say, “The time is now.”

When Bruce was a teenager, a head on car collision sent him through two windshields and left him without the use of his legs. Doctors didn’t think he would ever walk again. But miracles do happen and six months later Bruce walked out of the hospital. He became a racquetball champion and successful tennis coach. And he never forgets what time it is.

I like the following poem, notice it’s composition is in the shape of an hour glass.

I have only just a minute,

only sixty seconds in it.

Forced upon me, can’t refuse it,

didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.

But it’s up to me

to use it.

I must suffer if I lose it.

Give account if I abuse it.

Just a tiny little minute

but eternity is in it.

Anonymous

When my daughter was in middle school, she was stung by a bee. The nurse was unable to reach her mother by telephone to check on allergies or other issues. Witnessing the dilemma the nurse was in, my daughter quickly suggested, “Call my Dad, he always has a plan.”

And most times, I do. I’m a list maker. What’s more important than making the list is taking action on what I’ve written down.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote, The Power of Postive Thinking. It was from him I first heard the advice, “Plan your work and work your plan.”

What you do in the next twenty-four hours is important because you’re trading a day of your life for it. Better get started on that dream. The mouse is ticking.

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