What is a Leader?

This was the question we studied back in my university studies in Air Force Reserve Officer Training (AFROTC) classes. What exactly makes a good leader?

Rather than launch into my old college notes again, if I even still have them, I’ll post some links below. I’m sure what I was instructed in has long-since been refined and better articulated over the many (many!) years since. And as I remember it we also talked about military versus civilian leadership. Since I was in the Air Force, I’ve also listed an Air Fore link.

Civilian link (Forbes).

Military link (Army).

Military Link (Air Force).

The upshot is that there are many defined and undefined characteristics that define leadership, and not everything can be neatly categorized. The adage “You may not be able to define a leader, but you certainly know one when you see one” comes to mind. Another great one is “A leader is also a follower.”

Leaders are many things to many people, but there are certain characteristics that nearly all leaders do possess, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Successfully taking control of situations
  • Effectively leading others
  • Effectively following when required to
  • Successfully uniting others toward a common mission
  • Successfully inspiring their charges to perform toward said common mission in and away from your presence
  • Successfully placing mission ahead of self
  • Successfully placing others ahead of self, in service to the mission
  • Successfully being flexible in service to the mission and its people
  • Successfully assimilating other’s inputs
  • Repeatedly making successful, informed decisions
  • Being willing and able to make the “hard” or otherwise difficult decisions
  • Taking responsibility for your actions, know when to own up to your mistakes
  • Successfully grow from your mistakes
  • Not making your leadership about you

Note all the italicization. Nearly anyone can go through the motions of the above, but true leaders do so effectively.

When you do not have effective leadership, missions fail.

Period.

People fail.

Period.

Divisiveness erupts.

Unity vaporizes.

Rampant in-fighting.

Parochial thinking.

Finger-pointing.

Excuses.

<fill in the blank>

I was a captain in the US Air Force for nearly seven years. I never saw combat (but I was a “target”!), but I was a Crew Commander in charge of not only 11 or 12 charges, but also first-line in charge of operational and unit effectiveness to the much larger military food chain. There were Directors of Operation, Unit Commanders, Squadron Commanders, Site Commanders, all on up to the President of the United States. When I was employed as civilian contractor, I was never manager, but I was a “Lead” multiple times, once over sixteen individuals. If you had a good manager, you were able to perform as a leader and take responsibility for your and your team’s actions, as in any other hierarchical, leader/follower structure. I had to lead others, make hard and easy decisions, and in many instances inspire those working “for” me (again, I wasn’t “coded management,” but I never let that lessen my civilian orientation toward mission objectives) to push themselves and grow under sometimes trying circumstances. When I or the team screwed up or made a mistake, I took ownership of said misstep. I was the first-line leader, said mission failed. Take responsibility, apologize, and learn from my mistakes. Do better. Not one single human who has ever walked this Earth has ever been error free. Perfect. Not one. Even Gandhi I’m sure made Life mistakes, Mother Teresa. I was never perfect, but I always tried to do my best. When I found issues, I always addressed them head on, sometimes having to take drastic action—never on my own, always keeping my leadership informed and working together with them to do the right thing. I also found I had to modify my leadership approach when I left the military. In the military, leaders have a “legal hold” over their subordinates by Executive Presidential Order (I no longer remember the official term, but think that’s pretty close). There’s no such thing in the civilian world, except when signing on with a company, your compliance is assumed—but they can’t court martial you for disobeying orders; you can go to jail if you do something illegally, unsafe, et cetera, but it’s not quite the same thing). All military subordinates are legally obligated to follow orders, with a caveat: you are the last “point of decision/action” when executing a command, so you really had your own conscience and your right to not follow an order, if you truly felt something wrong, ethically or otherwise, with said order—but you then had to accept the consequences, which are often severe. The problem here is that not every subordinate knows what their leadership knows, and it is driven into you that leaders also do not have the time nor luxury to explain every delivered order. It just doesn’t work that way in the military setting. It’s the way it simply has to be, because lives are at stake.

Yes, you always hear about “I was just following orders.”

But that is part of being a human, in or out of the military. Told to do something…someone says you did the wrong thing. You’re made the example.

If you somehow find yourself involved in a critical food chain of events where following or not following an order has drastic consequences either way you go, that is a major gray area you have to individually shoulder yourself—sometimes in a split second. Everything happens for a reason, whether or not we know that reason. You have to own it and find a way forward.

We all do know what is right, but we also have to have faith in our leadership that they know what they are doing, and if you don’t have that faith, things break down. Fracture. Yes, there are larger discussions, here, but that is not the point of this post.

My point is not to get into the muck and weeds about all the ins and out of leadership, but to present a starting point, or “broad brush,” of the topic. There is so much that goes into being a leader, that is why there are so many courses and books on the subject. And while we all may not be able to effectively define what those qualities area, I firmly believe that most of us really do know a leader when we see one.

*****************

If you like what you read, please share.

Thank You!

Posted in To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Violin Lessons II

The Violin, By David Schoenbaum (Image © 2020 F. P. Dorchak) The Violin, By David Schoenbaum (Image © 2020 F. P. Dorchak)

All my life I’ve treated the violin as hands off…but now that I’m actually studying it, it’s like touching the Holy Grail, if I must admit it to myself. Wow…I’m touching this revered object of incredibly wonderful sound creation…am making my own consciously initiated sounds emanate from its strings, its bass bar, its spruce sounding post, its body.

It’s so weird.

But I am totally engrossed in it…even studying about violin history, by reading The Violin, by David Schoenbaum. I want to learn as much as I possibly can about this wonderfully designed, magical instrument to which I am incredibly drawn. I want to know its Zen, history, and lineage.

So, writing’s not enough for me, is it? I don’t get enough pain, discouragement, and rejection from the publishing industry that I need more?

Apparently so.

The violin is the most difficult instrument to play. Of course it is. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I never take the easy route (where’s the growth and tempering in that?)…but, I’m also approaching this new journey from a fun aspect. I’m relishing whatever I can gain out of these lessons and the book. I want the challenge. Love the challenge. The personal growth…especially one in a direction totally…um, alien…to me. Reading music? Ha! Haven’t done that since Grade School, but I am getting better, as one is expected to, when one puts any kind of an effort into learning anything new.

I absolutely love the feel and sound of the violin.

The Zen of it.

Making music out of something so steeped in tradition and history (violin origins bewilderedly date back to the mid 16th Century, but to no one person nor specific date can be nailed down, hence the “bewilderingly” part).

And I love that about it. I love gray areas. Mystery. The Fog of History.

I feel I am getting the best instruction I

(Relax!)

(Wrist higher!)

(Fingers together!)

can possibly get. My instructor is patient, meticulous, and extremely knowledgeable. And Lord knows, I need all of that!

Wrists!

Wrists!

Higher!

Related Post

Violin Lessons

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Thank You!

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We Are The Goats!

Langenscheidt's For "Goat" (Image © 2020 F. P. Dorchak)

Langenscheidt’s For “Goat” (Image © 2020 F. P. Dorchak)

In high school, I studied both French and German. My German teacher, Herr Emil Schneider, was also the school’s soccer coach, and in my senior year, I played soccer. I played Wing and Goalie, but really loved playing goalie best.

One night, after returning home on the “late bus” from an away soccer meet, where we’d won, we’d all been pretty psyched. I believe we were listening to Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and chanting the same. As we celebrated on our return trip, I shouted back to Herr Schneider, who sat toward the back, how to say “We are the champions!” He paused for moment, then said: “Wir sind die Zieger.

So off we went, chanting Wir sind die Zieger! Wir sind die Zieger!

Fast forward forty-one years, I’m re-learning my German after a lifetime of non-use, when it dawns on me to look up that translation from that long-ago day.

Google German translator: “Wir sind die Zieger.

Google English translation: “We are the goats.”

What the hell?

Goats?! We are the goats?!

Had Herr Schneider tricked us and been poking fun at us—or me for asking, since I was in his German class and “should” have known or been able to come up with the translation on my own?

Goats?!

He always had a dry sense of humor, Herr Schneider, as I remembered it.

So, I’ll be, I thought…all these years and I’d never checked it after he told me, which I now assumed that’s probably what he’d wanted me to have done—and I’d not. Had he been laughing and snickering inside himself all this time—at me? While I’d sat in his German class all that time? Had he had the last laugh on all of us, as he sat back in his seat that night, forty-one years ago, smugly grinning his ass off as the entire Saranac Lake Central High School soccer team late bus proudly sang “We are the goats” for the two-hour trip home?!

Indeed—we were the goats!

Bravo, Herr Schneider, bravo!

But then…hold your goats…something else dawned on Future Me. I again went back into Google.

Google English Translator: “We are the champions.”

Google German Translation: “Wir sind die Gewinner.”

Hmm. Curious facial display made I. Of course…there are other words that could also have been used, which was why I went back into the translator. I tried my Langenscheidt’s Wörterbuch, or dictionary, but didn’t know how the word was spelled, and tried various spellings, but nothing popped up.

So…I clicked on the actual “Wir sind die Gewinner” translation itself, and the following displayed:

  • Wir sind die Gewinner
  • Wir sind die Sieger
  • Wir sind die Meister—

Waaait a minute!

Wir sind die Sieger!

I’ll be—okay, plot twist! Herr Schneider had not been pulling a fast one on us! It turns out what he’d told us happened to have been a German homonym! Maybe that’s why he’d paused as he did?

Ausgezeichnet! Er hatte sich all die Jahre nicht über uns lustig gemacht!

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Vielen Dank!

Posted in Memories, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Violin Lessons

A New Direction. (Image ©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

A New Direction. (Image ©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

I’d recently mentioned on Facebook that I’d been investigating violin lessons, and I’m happy to say that I’ve decided upon an instructor: Autumn Deppa. She has four degrees in violin performance, some 19 years of instructional experience, and currently plays with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, but has also played with Itzhak Perlman, Sir James Galway, Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, and Smokey Robinson, to name a few. I’ve chosen her because of her musical pedigree and where I feel my interests lie, in the more traditional violin. I’d research “many-ish” instructors (after a while they all seem pretty much the same), but it was Autumn who really stood out head-and-shoulders above the crowd in the “feel” for who she is and how I perceive she may approach her instruction.

This past Friday I’ve rented a 4/4 (full sized) violin from Mijares Violins. Mr. Mijares is quite the interesting and pleasant gentleman and we talked some as I picked up my instrument: he is a Luthier and has been hand making violins since 1987. His work is incredible. However, this rental does not appear to have been made by his hand, as given by the label inside the violin itself. But, wow, his work was on display, and he is incredible. Earlier in the year I’d read an article in our paper and it had rekindled my interest.

This Thursday, June 4th, I begin my actual lessons! I am quite excited about doing this, as I’ve been interested in learning the violin for most of my adult life! I’ve never been musically inclined, but quite fascinated by the violin for as long as I can remember, and had always promised myself that I would one day learn to play—or at least attempt to.

So, we will see if I have any inclination toward this fine instrument that has so fascinated me for so long! It feels so fragile and other worldly, holding it in my possession…and I am quite looking forward to expanding my horizons in a direction totally (if you will forgive the quite apt, in my situation, pun…) alien to my way of life! I have no goals other than to: 1) hopefully learn how to play its strings and bring something new, exciting, and joyful into my life and that of my wife’s, and 2) to play my grandfather’s violin. My grandfather used to play. I’m told he wasn’t all that great, but he could play, and his violin is still in the family. I find it quite important that I do this for some strange reason.

Posted in Music, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

My First-Ever Public Speaking Engagement

Fossil From a West Virginia Farm, c. 1970s (Image ©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

Fossil From a West Virginia Farm, c. 1970s (Image ©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

I am no longer Roman Catholic, non-RC Catholic, or any other Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, or otherwise faith, but after moving from New Hampshire into upstate New York in the mid-to-late-sixties, I was enrolled into St. Bernard’s Catholic School. I was the eldest, oldest, and not the youngest, so I was first to go, with my three siblings following later—until we were all dis-enrolled while I was in my third year there. We (or at least I was) were then sent to Bloomingdale’s Fourth Grade (Eleanor Clark, my teacher). Just for the sake of completeness, we were then funneled through the Saranac Lake school system, which meant being sent to Petrova Middle, then Saranace Lake Central High School.

But let’s back up a few years, to First Grade, Catholic school.

My First Grade teacher had been Sister Electa (which means “chosen,” according to one online account, but also “mother” in another online account).  I always loved that name, “Electa,” and she was my favorite nun ever. We got along quite well. This seems a strange thing to say for a lad of seven or so, but I mention this for a reason.

After I had gone on to third grade (Sister Geralaine and Mrs. Heald, in some capacity), I had gotten it into my head that I wanted to do a presentation to Sister Electa’s class.

Yes, me—a nine year old!

And what did I want to speak about?

Dinosaurs!

Or, more specifically, dinosaur fossils.

I had previously sent away and received a medium-sized drawer-box that housed maybe twelve mini-cubbies of dinosaur fossils (you know, providing I hadn’t been swindled by some hack job that faked what I thought I had in some malicious mail fraud experience). Anyway, I had these fossils, see? And I wanted to talk about them.

Why?

I don’t know. Kid Logic doesn’t hold sway in adulthood. I just know that I wanted to, fossils are cool, and my targeted audience was Sister Electa’s First Grade class. Or maybe Sister Electa herself (had I a crush on her, or just, as I said, really liked her as a cool person)? So I went to see her, presented my case, and ever the dear, sweet soul that she’d been, she’d allowed for me to come to her class and give my presentation.

So I arrived on my presentation day and came to the head of the class and introduced myself. I can still remember seeing Sister Electa sitting at her desk to my right, smiling the entire time. I told them what I was there for, then I did the most insane thing ever: I told them I was going to come person-to-person to get everyone’s name!

Yes!

Like I would remember them or something!

So I went up and down each row, pointing to each kid and asked their names! I think it occurred to me about half-way through (yes, it took that long to sink in) that this was a futile endeavor and that I’d never remember their names…but I had to continue on, since to abruptly stop would appear (in kid terms)…weird.

After all that, I went into my presentation, showing everyone my special fossils, and talked for however long it was I talked. I had fun, anyway, but it also looked as if Sister Electa also had fun.

Now, you really have to remember that none of this was directed by the school. Or my parents. It had all originated with me. I came up with the idea and I had executed it. On my own. At what—eight or nine years of age? No one had put this into my head, as far as I can remember.

I no longer know where those mini-fossils went, but I fear they are long, long gone…even for fossils. Over the years after graduating High School, I’d returned to St. Bernard’s to specifically visit Sister Electa, and many times I had run into her! We’d pleasantly chatted and laughed. It had always been fun to see her again.

Until I didn’t.

I wish I could remember the year, but, as we all do, she passed on. That was a bittersweet day for me…but I knew I’d done about all I could in keeping in good contact with her! She was truly my most favorite-ever Catholic Sister…and she is missed. And I have nothing but fun and fond memories of her!

By the way, that fossil image, above, was not part of my presentation. I had gotten it a few years later from a cliff on a family friend’s farm, in West Virginia. The kid I’d been friends with had taken us up to this huge gray cliff that overlooked part of their property. And he’d even let us chip out whatever we wanted. I have several pieces from that cliff, one piece is much larger, but this one better showed the fossils.

St. Bernard’s Catholic School

1st Grade: Sister Electa

2nd Grade: Sister Celeste (and Mrs Heald?)

3rd Grade Sister Geralaine

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Thank You!

Posted in Memories, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The House on Whaleshead Rock—A Play

The House On Whaleshead Rock, by Richard Norquist, © 1967, by The Heuer Publishing Company (My image of it © 2020 F. P. Dorchak)

The House On Whaleshead Rock, by Richard Norquist, © 1967, by The Heuer Publishing Company (My image of it © 2020 F. P. Dorchak)

When I was in grade school, at Petrova Middle, in Saranac Lake, New York, I’d acted in a play. It was my first and only acting gig. It’s a story about a small group of girls from a Girls’ Finishing School (this was written in 1967) getting stuck out on an isolated island during a “dark and stormy night,” while a gangster and his entourage also land on the same island. It’s “naively amusing.” Has quirky elements in it, like a ghost, Medusa head, and a mummy, with zero explanation about any of them, except the ghost.

The play was published by Heuer Publishing. I searched for this play, but it’s no longer in their inventory.

Anyway, I was in the second-string set of actors who did the other performances for our school and were not the main attraction. I played “Nick,” the “small-time gangster and escaped convict, not too intelligent” and all. In fact none of the characters are all that intelligent! I had sidekick “muscle,” named “Squirrel,” and my gun moll was “Toots.” One of my good friends, Dave Finegan, played Squirrel, another friend, John Brown, played Mr. Wallace. I remember that RL (Dave’s and John’s names were used with their permissions; don’t want to be presumptuous using “RL’s” name, who I’m not in contact with) played Toots (at least I’m pretty sure it was RL ). And I’ll tell you why.

At the end of play, when all of us actors had been sitting together for the applause and all, my gun moll, Toots, was wrapped up as a mummy, because of the last scene where her character had been exchanged with the mummy (again, no reason given). I sat right next to her. As I sat there, I noticed that she was, well…unraveling. Around the upper left thigh and hip area. Then another of us also noticed it, as I remember it. Now, RL was quite cute, and I found myself in a dilemma: do I do the right thing and let her know that she was, indeed, unraveling (and showing some skin), or do I…you know…wait a little while?

Well this other person and I exchanged glances with each other, quietly giggling…until (again, as I remember it) we were caught. Not quite sure by whom or how, but…our jig was up!

We might have been asked why we’d been giggling, or maybe it became plainly obvious once our cast looked about themselves, but in any case RL finally realized she’d been unraveling!

At this point RL looked down to herself (saw flesh, no doubt)…cast me a look…then hightailed it off stage!

I really liked my acting experience.

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Thank You!

Posted in Memories, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Pane in the…Hand

Our Lake Clear house was built in the late 1880s, by the family of a neighbor of ours, Marie Mussen. She’d sold us the house. Initially, and this was in the mid-sixties, she lived in one end of the house, while we had the rest of it. It was a pretty huge house, even for the six of us (my family). Three stories and a large cellar. The third story was the attic, where all kinds of neat stuff remained from Marie’s past (and I spent a lot of time). The house also had a wrap-around porch on three sides and a rear “mud room” back porch that extended the length of the rear of the house. So, not really a room, per se, but more of a totally enclosed “back porch” with a concrete floor. We had all kinds of stuff there, like an extra refrigerator that we stocked with Rich Plan frozen food. Man, I loved those pot pies! There was also a small tool shed off to one end that had all kinds of neat tools, like from the 1800s/1900s! It was dark and creepy, but I loved that shop. The main back porch door led directly out the back from the back door of the main house. My dad parked his Forest Ranger truck there, underneath the crab apple tree. There was also a burn barrel there, where I smoked up my eyes real bad one day.

At the opposite end of this back area, opposite from the creepy tool shop (i.e., to the left as you exit the first door into the back), was another door. It was missing a handle, but because of either or both of the house settling or the wood swelling, the door stuck really hard into the door jamb. If you needed to use it, you had to smack it open pretty hard. It was a heavy door with one of those large panes of heavy 1880s (I suspect) panes of glass in it, placed in the top two-thirds of the door. The framing around the window was a beveled design.

One day I was going out that door. I forcefully thrust out with my right to smack the door on that narrow strip of wood adjacent to the beveled frame…and my hand slipped.

A loud crash.

Next thing I know…everything…went into slow motion.

And as I looked to my right hand, outstretched before me…I watched a thick chuck of glass…probably the size of my pinky’s fingernail…slowly arc through the air…and land on on the back of my right hand…just above the wrist and to the left of the main veins…then bounce right back off into the air again, never to be seen again.

I watched as all manner of glass shards flew everywhere…a cloud of razor-sharp mini-knives filling the air before me.

Then it was all over.

I looked to my hand. Yeah, it was bleeding, but nothing to worry about. I raised that hand up to my forehead and brought it away—

Blood.

Huh, thought I, better get this looked at, but otherwise I felt okay. Had all my limbs, my eyesight, my personality.

So I go into the house and enter my dad’s home office. He was doing some Forest Rangery paperwork that morning, in his Ranger uniform. He’s all busy at his desk, intently focused on something when I waltz into his office and announce:

Dad—I think I had…an accident.”

He looks up at me, his face still in that focused-concentration look…when his eyes flare open wider than I’ve ever seen them before or since, and he launches himself out from around that desk and toward me in the blink of an eye.

Never seen him move so danged fast.

Apparently I was bleeding pretty profusely from the head.

Head wounds don’t you know. Big bleeders.

Turns out I looked far worse off than I really was. Besides the gouge on the back of my right hand, I had a cut just above my right eye, actually in the eyebrow. So, that baby was cryin’ blood all over the place. Otherwise I was fine. But I’ll always remember how freaking quickly my dad bolted from around that desk to get to me, and the size of his eyes when he first spotted me!

Yeah, I seem to have that effect on people.

As to that gouge on my hand, the scar is still visible after all these years, just to the left of the main veins on the back of my hand.

It’s a nice little reminder about the power of glass—and quick reacting fathers.

 

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Thank You!

Posted in Memories, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Honor of Joe Spinelli — May He Rest In Peace

Joe Spinelli, Dec 5, 1934 - March 18, 2020 (Obituary Courtesy of The Gazette)

Joe Spinelli, Dec 5, 1934 – March 18, 2020 (Obituary Courtesy of The Gazette)

I only knew him as “Joe.”

Hey, Joe! How ya doin’?

Hey, Frank, how you doin’?

He would flash that bright smile of his, and his voice was unique, sharp, and distinctive. I can still hear him right this moment.

I didn’t know he was in his eighties. Seventies, maybe, but certainly not 85 years of age. He really looked more in his mid-seventies to me.

And he was classy. Like my wife said about him as we lamented his passing, everything about him was classy.

We worked out at the same time in the gym—in fact you could near set your clock by him. He usually got in just before me, and would use the right-most treadmill by the main gym area, by the Men’s Locker Room. He’d be there, I’d be coming in, and we’d exchange our pleasantries. He used to go from the treadmill to the stationary bike, then some machines. But just the past year, sometime in 2019, as we were talking in the locker room, he confessed that he was “feeling older,” so he cut out all the machine work and just used the treadmill and stationary bike. I’d also noticed that he slowed down appreciably as he entered or left the gym. But always that smile—that “How ya doin’, Frank?“!

My wife, Laura, was also familiar with him and they also talked. He also hailed her when they saw each other at the gym. Laura and Joe had Hawai’i in common. My wife used to live in the Hawai’ian Islands, and Joe and his wife, Beverly, used to vacation there. So of course they talked about them.

Man, he was such a pleasant gentleman!

I can still hear his voice…see that smile.

This winter he needed someone to shovel the snow at his place, so he asked my wife if we knew anyone. Because of my hip replacement we had found someone, so we gave him our guy.

The just a couple of months ago he was asking me if I knew anyone who mowed lawns. I said heck yeah, we have a great guy who is doing ours (again, because of my hip issues). I wrote his name and number down for him in the locker room.

Then there was a short period of time the past couple of months, where he hadn’t showed at the gym. When he returned he told me he hadn’t been feeling all that well. No explanation and I didn’t ask. But he got right back into his routine and looked great, and we kept hailing each other, and he would always be sure to ask how I was doing since my surgeries. He would laugh and joke about how I was a near newly minted man, with my new parts and overhaul!

We only saw each other at that gym, but given that we both worked out there at least three days a week, we saw a lot of each other. You could just tell what a nice guy Joe was. And as I said…classy. He always looked stylish in his Ivy Cap (as seen in the above image of him). He was distinctive. He had really good energy.

My wife and I will miss him.

Posted in Memories, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Them’s Grillin’ Words

Grill Quote. (©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

Grill Quote. (©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

We use our several-year-old Weber grill a lot. I don’t care about the weather outside and have grilled in the rain and the snow. Yeah, takes longer, but it’s worth it.

The other day I’d grilled up some lime-marinated chicken. As we’re sitting there eating, I suddenly wax all da kine philosophical, as I gaze out the window to our grill, so impressed was I with the marinade’s flavor. In somewhat of a food trance, I declare, as if speaking in tongues:

“The grill…really has a way…with food.”

My wife let out a laugh, and said: “I’m gonna write that down!

So she grabbed an orange stickie and wrote it down.

We use this “Mojito lime” Grill Mates marinade, and holy cow how that stuff comes out, especially on grilled chicken!

"Mojito Lime" Grill Mates Marinade Mix. (©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

“Mojito Lime” Grill Mates Marinade Mix. (©2020 F. P. Dorchak)

I would have posted an image of the grilled chicken, but, alas, it had a half life of five and a half minutes. And…well…we were hungry.

 

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Thank You!

Posted in To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Guy, A Boat, and a Lot of Water

One day, my dad and I were looking out of our kitchen’s picture window in the Lake Clear house. I was a young teenager or thereabout. My dad (as I’ve mentioned) was a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Ranger for Region 5. I noticed he took an interest in this guy who was out quite far in the lake itself, in a small boat (Lake Clear—we lived directly across from it, even had a boathouse).

Anyway, I’m going back and forth between watching my dad watch this guy and watching the guy myself. In no time my dad dashed out of the house and shot down to the boathouse. He took out one of our boats and headed out to that guy. He was out there for a little while doing whatever he was doing….

After my dad returned, he told me that he had seen that the guy was having some kind of trouble…and it looked like he might have fallen out of his boat? That’s my memory of it, but it could have been something else, like a motor not starting. But I just found it cool that my dad had seen something strange going on and darted out of the house to deal with it.

Yeah…my dad…real-life super hero.

 

*****************

If you like what you read, please share—and join in my journey and buy a book!

Thank You!

Posted in Memories, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments