Time in a bottle – our lifetime supply of days is limited.

Like guessing the number of jellybeans in a big jar. We are challenged to guess the number of days our lifejars contain. But there is no prize for guessing correctly.

How to make the best use of our time on this planet?

Do we want all the jellybeans to be the same color and flavor? For me, I like variety and little surprises as well as the tried and trusted.

My life has had quite a variety of experiences. Most often I was pushed by a quarter century of lousybossosis and lackafunditus. I overcame and became my own boss only to learn that I was also too harsh and demanding.

In midlife I discovered that one could fix lackafunditus by changing venues and simplifying needs.

Born and raised a city boy in temperate-zone city-life in Brooklyn, New York. In my mid-teens I had agrarian experiences in Farmingdale, New York. I moved to sub-tropical Miami and fled, 30 years later, to abide in the rural mountains of Western North Carolina for two decades.

So, my lifejar is filled with varied locales and experiences that often result in interesting tales to tell the grandchildren. Sometimes I was the boss, sometimes I was the slave, and sometimes both.

There have been so many failures that I sometimes forget the triumphs that luck and persistence brought me. I graduated from the University of Miami years after my firstborn came into the world. I retired from the Coast Guard Reserve with the rank of commander after 30 years of service. I’m married to a strong and beautiful woman – we just celebrated our 46th anniversary. 

Our four children and thirteen grandchildren are doing well. Retirement has been bountiful. Health, Wealth and even Happiness have visited us. 

It’s more than much though – I also think that I have been stubborn in my pursuit of goals. When I attended Hofstra College, now a university, I was given a little pin with the motto Je Maintiendrai. This is French and means “I stand steadfast” or “I shall maintain.” To me, it means “I shall persevere.” I believe that any success I’ve enjoyed has involved persistence.

For example; Daisy and I decided to open a sandwich shop in an office park in Southwest Miami. We had limited funds and were told by the facility manager that we could not lease. Their zoning would not permit a restaurant. 

I wouldn’t take that for an answer and convinced them to sign a lease conditioned on my successful attempt to change the property’s zoning. I filed the required appeal forms and appeared in front of a hostile zoning commission to plead the case. Months later, the zoning was changed, and the property owner was so impressed that he became a limited partner in a second restaurant we opened in North Fort Lauderdale.

Another instance of persistence was my eight-year stint as an enlisted man in the Coast Guard Reserve before my, long-awaited, graduation from the University of Miami made me eligible for commissioning as an officer.

If I were telling my grandchildren this story, I might finish with, “Je Maintiendrai.”


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