Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Better than money...

"Keep a 'soft eye'"
(Image from Wikipedia)

My old Ozark friend whom I've been facetiously dunning for money has sent something better, some humble and humbling advice. She turns 50 on May 11, 2008 -- an occasion that she's referring to as "halftime" -- and tells me, in an email labeled "Fodder":
Next Sunday is the big halftime event for me and there will be a very nice show. But half time is not just about the show. It is a time for re-grouping and developing a strategy for the rest of the game. My new plan is to think before I do something, for instance, before leaving the house I'll think, "Do I have my wallet? Is the butter in the frig? Where am I going?" And before sending a card that says, "Got milk?" to my friend who just had a mastectomy, I'll think, "Is this going to be encouraging?

I have recently started taking horse riding lessons. Having grown up in the South [myself], the people here in Connecticut invite me out riding and I am too ashamed to say that I don't know how to ride. So, now I am taking lessons on Saturdays with all the confident little 10 yr old girls and learning a lot of life lessons that I wish I had learned many years ago. Like, "Don't approach too fast. He will think you are a predator." Good advice for business and dating. And "Turn your head to look before you turn your horse." How many times that would have helped! Also, "Keep a 'soft eye'." This means, "Don't focus so hard on the goal that you can't see the beautiful day around you." As a people trainer, the hardest thing for me to learn has been, "The horse is much bigger than you. You can't make it move by pushing it. You have to use your voice and make him know you are in charge." If I only could...

The second half should be high scoring.
In an email labeled "Fodder is sometimes the roughage that one needs...," I replied:
Yours is, I think, one of the most profound and touching emails that I've ever received . . . even if it was, in part, ironic.

I also wish that I had learned these lessons long ago. I just got lucky with Sun-Ae, it seems...

Thanks for something better than money.



P.S. I'm listening to the Beatles, McCartney's "Long and Winding Road," which . . . ['our mutual friend' Charles] once told me that he used to listen to when driving to your place . . . ah, memories, the stuff resonant with our fatal finitude.
My old Ozark friend left the Ozarks not so long after I did and went on to a career as a scientist before, eventually, finding herself working in management (managing scientists, perhaps?), where she now applies statistical methods to find inefficiencies in operations and deploys her considerable intelligence to devise more efficient ways of operating.

But she's not all business, for in her leisure time, it seems, she's learning life's lessons from a horse whisperer.

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At 10:51 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

do I know this old friend-something about the highly mathmatical job of hers made me wonder-

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I don't know for a fact that you do, but she prefers her online privacy, so I don't use her name.

Jeffery Hodges

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