“All You Need Is Love.”

 The Beatles

 She Loves You…I Want to Hold Your hand…All My Loving…Can’t Buy Me love…A Hard Day’s Night…Help!…Ticket To Ride…Hey Jude…From Me To You…Strawberry Fields…The Long and Winding Road…Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band… Let it Be…Fifty years after they first invaded the airwaves, The Beatles, and their music, are still here.

Just like most kids living in the USA, I was in front of the television on that night in 1964 when Ed Sullivan introduced them on his show. John, Paul, George, and Ringo, four young men from Liverpool, England, counted down and kicked off their first song of the night, All My Loving.

Young girls screamed in admiration, adults shook their heads in disdain, and legions of young men started growing their hair long and learning to strum the guitar. Cash registers created a magic of their own, ringing up the sales of records and other merchandise. Their influence was so great it was reported that during that first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, not one crime was committed by a teenager in New York City.

Like a lot of other kids, I wanted to be one of the Beatles. A school picture of me hung on the wall in our house and I didn’t much care for it. One afternoon, when my mother wasn’t around, I replaced it with a picture of John Lennon. I grew long hair and was criticized by teachers and other adults who, in time, gave into the winds of change and grew similar styles.

I worked during the summer as a caddy.  A record album by The Beatles $2.50. That was the exact amount a golfer at the club where I worked was required to pay a caddy. Most days they gave me three dollars. So the plan was to work a round of golf and bring home the cash to buy a record.

I memorized the words to all their songs. I wanted to be just like them but strumming the guitar didn’t turn out to be one of my gifts, so playing the drums and acting like Ringo became my specialty.

For years I tapped along to their music with pencils, rolled up magazines, rulers, and other crude devices. After twenty-five years, I got a real set of drums.

Now I’m happy and I’m loud.

If you knock on my door and I don’t answer right away – it could be I’m hammering away to one of their tunes.

Let’s go back to 1964. One of my classmates asks our teacher what she thought of them. Her answer was they were just a fad, soon we would be getting excited about something else. Don’t believe everything a teacher tells you.  I’ve forgotten the teacher’s name but I’m still listening to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. And what I learned from them is music can be a whole lot of fun.

Forget your age and rock on.

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“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.

Small people always do that,

but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

 Mark Twain, writer


June 6, 1992

South Bend, Indiana

I’m grinding my way through a marathon race – 26.2 miles.

Slowing down for a water stop another runner accidentally bumps into me.

He apologizes and I give him a thumbs up.

“My coach doesn’t think I can finish this race, he offers.”

As we pick up the pace I ask, “Did he really say that?”


“Then he has no business being your coach. Run with me,” I told him.

I have been an avid runner for six years. I feel qualified to offer some advice. I’m 40 years old, supposed to be growing wiser with each passing birthday. My new running partner is a high school athlete running in his first marathon. Our adventure together has begun at mile 18.

“Did your coach ever run a marathon?” I asked.

“No, he never did,” my new friend answered.

“Then forget about him and listen to me,” I said.

We kept running strong and steady.

“Have you ever been stung by a bee,” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered.

“Pay attention now,” I continued. “If a group of engineers were looking at a blue print of a bee, they would say it couldn’t fly. It’s body is too big and it’s wings are too small. But here’s the important news.

No one bothered to tell the bee it couldn’t fly so it flies anyway – because it BEE – LIEVES it can. It doesn’t matter what your coach or a hundred other people say. The only voice you need to listen to is your own.”

We completed another two miles before I decided to ask another question.

“Do you know what the fastest healing part of your body is?”

There was a long pause.

“The part of your body that heals the fastest is your tongue – and it’s also the part that can do the most damage in the first place. What you say to yourself or what you believe that others say to you.”

We slowed down to take in some water and an energy gel.

“Be sure your coach gets a good look at your finishers medal,” I said.

Only a mile to go.

“Now give it all you’ve got,” I said.

The young man must have heard me. He took off like a rocket. I didn’t think I would see him again. To my great surprise, he was waiting for me at the finish line. Wearing his medal and a big smile, he reached out to shake my hand.

Now, 25 years later, I’m still running marathons. I think about him now and then. Does he still have that medal?  Does he remember me?  Does he still follow my advice? I hope so.

“Left foot, right foot, a whole bunch of times, I think I can, I think I can…”

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