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Babe Ruth and the Creation of the Modern Celebrity

In the coming weeks, if we are able as individuals to stay healthy, we may all be looking at books in our “to be read” pile to fill up this time of coronavirus. For very good reasons sports leagues and tournaments are shutting down. Opera houses and theatres are going dark. Schools are closing. Restaurants may be next on the list. Watching cable news is just too damn depressing (and not always very informative). As I was writing this, Major League Baseball cancelled the rest of spring training and has pushed back opening day at least two weeks.

THe Big FellaIf you are looking for a good sports book to fill up your hours, I wish I could send you to Jane Leavy’s 2018 The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created with more enthusiasm. Those who know my reading habits are aware that I always read a baseball book as part of my personal spring training. (The other part of the regimen is watching Bull Durham, the best baseball movie ever.) In 2020, The Big Fella was the book of choice.

While there are stories and sections to like in this hefty new biography, there is — as is often the case — too much of a good thing.

Leavy has gone all Ruthian on us with prodigious amounts of material. But, just like the Babe, she plows through almost 500 pages without a sense of discipline in deciding what’s worth keeping and what is best left untouched.

Leavy has structured her story around a three-week barnstorming tour that the Babe and fellow Yankee Lou Gehrig took following the 1927 season. It was during that historic year in baseball when Ruth broke the seasonal home run record with 60 blasts. “Let’s see some son of a bitch try to top that one,” he reportedly said at the time. Gehrig, who batted behind Ruth in the Yankees order, was the winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award. After the season ended with a Yankee sweep in the World Series, the two players headed out across America, playing in games featuring local talent renamed the Bustin’ Babes and the Larrupin’ Lous for the day.

Their agent Christy Walsh is at the heart of this story, and much of what works well throughout the book involves the descriptions of how Babe and Walsh quickly understand and take advantage of the possibilities of synergy in building fame. Leavy is working to show how Ruth became our first modern celebrity, and she pulls together a number of disparate threads to make that argument.

I couldn’t help but think of the current occupant of the White House when reading Leavy’s description that “Ruth’s relationship with New York’s sporting press was cozy, complex, and complicit.” One sportswriter of the era said Ruth had more talent for staying on the front page than your average earthquake. Sound like anyone we know? But Ruth produced in his chosen field: on the baseball diamond. As he said in a different context, when asked about making a higher salary than the president, “I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.”

The structure of the book doesn’t always work, and I would get lost in the back and forth between the tour and the biographical information. Leavy can write a terrific sentence. But as they pile up one upon another, the reader often loses sight of those disparate threads. She can go on and on about the legal issues surrounding the naming of the Baby Ruth Candy Bar and lose our interest in the process. (Short story: Babe didn’t get a penny, although it was clearly named for him.)  And she often writes about specific and sometimes iconic pictures (the best example being Nat Fein’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the Babe’s final appearance at Yankee Stadium) without including them in the book’s collection of photos. It is frustrating to read her wonderful description of how Fein came to capture that moment, and then look for the well-known picture of Babe standing at the top of the dugout steps, leaning on a bat, taking in the adulation of a full house just months before he died, and finding it absent.

In Leavy’s portrait, Babe Ruth comes across as the man who helped shape many facets of modern America that we know today. His love for baseball, food, beer, women, and attention are at the forefront of this work. Unfortunately, the excesses of modern life in the new age of celebrity also come across in ways intended and unintended in The Big Fella. The end result — perhaps like an episode of The Apprentice* — is something less than fully satisfying.

More to come…


*Full disclosure: I never watched a single episode of The Apprentice. Even then I couldn’t see why anyone would waste any time on Donald Trump.

Servant Leadership

Nats Game John Hildreth

John Hildreth

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”

Max DePree, the long-time CEO of the furniture and design pacesetter Herman Miller, wrote those words in his small but influential book Leadership is an Art, and they’ve stuck with me through the years.

In the early 1980s, as I was preparing to take my first leadership post as the executive director of a nonprofit organization, I read Robert K. Greenleaf’s 1977 book Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. A humanities major without any background in management or business, I was looking for guidance on how to lead, motivate, and manage people.

Greenleaf’s words resonated with me, even if I didn’t come close to fully understanding their implications. “The servant-leader is servant first,” he wrote. “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

I went on to study other management and leadership theories, attended a Harvard Business School executive leadership institute, and adapted what seemed to work best from each one for my particular situation. But it wasn’t until I joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1996 and saw true servant leadership in action that I understood the philosophy and set of practices behind the concept “that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.”

This week, the National Trust is celebrating the career of John Hildreth, a true servant leader.

Cincinnati Icons media event 06 24 14

John Hildreth speaking at the Cincinnati Icons National Treasures event

John began his career as the Director of the Preservation Resource Center at the Preservation Society of Charleston in 1981. In his 34 years at the National Trust he rose through the ranks from Field Representative to serve as the Director of the Southern Regional Office, Vice President for Eastern Regional Field Services, and Vice President for Preservation Partnerships. Yet it is not in the titles, but through the scope and depth of his work, where the true nature of his servant leadership comes through.

When the Trust began talks a few years ago with the Lilly Endowment about what would become the $20 million National Fund for Sacred Places, I told our CEO that John was the right person to help conceptualize and lead this work. John is a man of faith who believes deeply in the importance of places of worship as community landmarks in all the meanings of that word. I knew well his empathy and concern for others, having watched it first hand through his work on providing housing and restoring communities in New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I saw it first hand in Charleston with his work to help the parishioners of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church retain and preserve the physical manifestations of the outpouring of love and support received from around the world following the horrific shooting there in 2015. As the VP who built the National Fund, John has worked in a servant leadership arrangement alongside Partners for Sacred Places, congregations around the country, and his National Trust colleagues, helping preserve historic houses of worship and keeping them in active use.

John also exhibits the characteristics of servant leadership through his eagerness to hold up and celebrate forgotten stories of sometimes marginalized communities. It was with John’s support that one of his staff members brought the Pauli Murray House project to our attention a few years ago. This National Treasure, which now houses the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, is very relevant; not just as a historic site where a major figure of the civil rights struggles spent her formative years, but because of the work that is accomplished there today. John led the Trust efforts in the work to identify, save, restore, and reuse segregation-era Rosenwald Schools throughout the South. His desire to serve brought him in touch with thousands of alumni, the descendants of Julius Rosenwald, and local groups throughout the country. He will retire knowing that the creation of an endowment at the National Trust will support the preservation of these simple, yet iconic treasures.

The best test of servant leadership is this: do those served grow as persons? The Greenleaf Center notes that, “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.” There is, simply, not a better description of John’s career. “While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power…the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”

John is closing out a consequential professional career that has made a difference in communities and in the lives of people living in those cities and towns. I’ve been honored to serve with him for parts of that journey. While he often reported to me, in truth, I was the one who was learning from him about true leadership and what really matters. It has been a privilege to count him as a colleague and a friend.

So in the best tradition of Max DePree, I want to say thank you, John Hildreth, for the example of servant leadership you’ve given to so many of us during the past four decades.

With best wishes for what comes next to you and Barb.

Have a great week.

More to come…


Installment #24 of The Gap Year Chronicles

Saturday Music: Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers Reimagined album coverI’ve always loved the old Utah Phillips tune Rock, Salt, and NailsIt has such a lonesome sound that connects on so many levels. And surprisingly, for a song that sounds so ancient, no one sings it with greater feeling than the young country singer Tyler Childers.

“On the banks of the river, where the willows hang down,
Where the wild birds they warble with a low moaning sound,
Way down in the hollow where the water runs cold,
It was there I first listened to the lies that you told.

Now I lie on my back and I see your sweet face.
The past I remember, time can’t erase.
The letters you wrote me, they were written in shame,
And I know that your conscience still echoes my name.”

Childers is from Kentucky, having grown up in Lawrence County where his father worked in the coal industry and his mother worked as a nurse. Like many a country musician, he began singing in church—in his case the local Free Will Baptist congregation. His grandfather gave him a guitar, he absorbed the music of the 1980s, and began writing songs. At 15, when his grandfather died, Childers turned to bluegrass as a way to remember him.

“Now the nights are so long, my sorrow runs deep.
Nothing is worse than a night without sleep.
I walk out alone, I look at the sky,
Too empty to sing, too lonesome to cry.

Now if the ladies were blackbirds if the ladies were thrushes,
I’d lie there for hours in the chilly cold marshes.
And if the women were squirrels with them high bushy tails,
I’d fill up my shotgun with rock, salt and nails.”

Childers first major studio album was 2017’s Purgatory, produced by Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson, and it earned him a 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year award from the Americana Music Association. He released a live album, Tyler Childers: Live on Red Barn Radio I & II, in 2018, and last year saw the release of Country Squirewhich has solidified his reputation as a major new player in the country music mix of artists like Simpson and Chris Stapleton.

All Your’n from Country Squire received a Grammy nomination as Best Country Solo Performance.

To my taste, Childer’s best work to date is the solo acoustic work you find on the Red Barn Radio sessions and on YouTube videos. Nose on the Grindstone, which hasn’t been included on one of his studio albums, is about a coal miner and addiction, and a poignant reminder of the pain of eastern Kentucky. That’s a recurring theme in his music. Childers is all about hard lives and hard loves, and his simple guitar playing and aching voice are a perfect match for these stories of pain and love. White House Road may be one of the best of these songs, as the singer from Paintsville, Kentucky—famous for its lawlessness, religion, and booze—puts his own spin on life in rural Appalachia.

When they lay me in the cold hard clay
Singing them hymns while the banjo plays
Tell those ladies that they ought not frown
Cause there ain’t been nothing ever held me down
Well the lawman, women or a shallow grave
Same old blues just a different day

On a brighter note, 22nd Winter is about the first time Childers was snowed in at his in-laws. As he explains in one performance, it isn’t a blues, but a love song. Childers has clearly made his mark, and with that voice and songwriting ability he has a great future ahead.

Tyler Childers opens for Sturgill Simpson at the Anthem in the Wharf in D.C. on March 15th (sold out) and the 16th.

More to come…

UPDATE: Due to closings amid rational, well-intended and well-studied efforts to slow the spread of infection, the Sturgill Simpson + Tyler Childers shows at the Anthem have been rescheduled for May 17-18, 2020.*

*Emily Winthrop had this right when she tweeted, “Hey media friends. Can we please stop saying things are closing “amid fears of coronavirus” when it’s actually “amid rational, well-intended and well-studied efforts to slow the spread of infection?” The frame of fear is helping no one.

A Stunning Portrait

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Early in the beautiful Céline Sciamma film Portrait of a Lady on Fire you notice the silences. They are as much a part of this wondrous work of art as the rough terrain, crashing waves, and gorgeous landscape. Set on a remote island off the coast of Brittany in 1760, the film begins as Marianne, a painter, arrives via a small ship tender after jumping into the sea to save the box holding the canvas for her work.

Marianne has been commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young lady who has just left the convent and is to be married to a nobleman in Milan. Deposited on the rocky shore by the last man we see for a couple of hours, she finds her way to the mansion where Héloïse, a reluctant bride to be, lives with her mother and a young maid, Sophie. Marianne is told that she must paint Héloïse without her knowing, so they spend their days on long walks, with Marianne stealing glances at face and hands whenever possible. The silences have been there all along, but it is on those walks that the quiet between the conversation, the focus on gaze and view, along with the lack of a traditional musical soundtrack, becomes a key to the beauty of this film.

Told as a flashback, Portrait is a remarkable achievement on multiple levels. Hands shown in the cycle of paint applied and removed bring the viewer into Marianne’s worldview. The arresting cinematography captures the candlelit darkness of the mansion, where faces often are the only feature in the light, as well as the stark sun and rugged beauty of the coastline. We watch the love that grows between Marianne and Héloïse develop at a deliberate pace that somehow manages to convey both the urgency of the precious few days available to them when the mother goes to Italy and a romance outside time and space. The attraction of the lovers is sensual and real. There is a bond built between the two women of privilege and Sophie that is genuine and affecting. The movie is a triumph of love told from the woman’s viewpoint, yet the specter of the unwanted marriage to a man she’s never met is just one of several references to the stilting nature of patriarchy that is critical to understanding the exceptional storytelling that undergirds the film.

One of the most incredible musical moments I can recall seeing in any movie in recent history takes place just a little past the halfway point. Writing in IndieWire, Chris O’Falt describes the scene: “Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) have yet to acknowledge their growing desire when they are brought to an evening gathering of the women who live on the isolated island in Brittany. As the two soon-to-be-lovers exchange glances across the bonfire, a low, slow chant starts to rise as the rest of the women gather to sing.”

Here the song grows as does the obvious feeling between Marianne and Héloïse, the women of the island begin clapping in groups of twos, and they begin to repeat a lyric. O’Falt continues.

In an effort to get a song that had the beats per minute, polyphonic, and polyrhythmic qualities she needed, Sciamma decided to write the lyrics herself.

“I wrote the lyrics in Latin. They’re saying, ‘fugere non possum,’ which means ‘they come fly,’” said Sciamma. “It’s an adaptation of a sentence by [Friedrich] Nietzsche, who says basically, ‘The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.’”

The musical feast is central to a larger group of scenes after Héloïse’s mother has left the island. The remaining three women — in very utilitarian fashion — eat, drink wine, and debate Ovid’s version of the “Orpheus and Eurydice” myth. Orpheus, in looking backward on his way out of Hades, dooms Eurydice, his lover, to remain in the underworld. Héloïse suggests that Eurydice told Orpheus to turn back to look at her. Marianne has a different interpretation, suggesting that, “He doesn’t make the lover’s choice, but the poet’s. He chooses the memory of her.” Soon thereafter the bonfire lights not only Héloïse’s dress, but also the love between Marianne and Héloïse, and the passion soon follows. The “turning back” at the end of the myth, returns to full force late in the film.

This is a wonderful story of love and remembrance. The powerful ending features the movie’s only other musical connection, with an orchestral performance of Vivaldi that is another memory for Marianne and Héloïse.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a stunning movie, created by artists who bring craft and vision to their work. It is well worth your time and emotional investment. In French with subtitles.

Highly recommended.

More to come…


Remembrance, Not Regret

Birthdays that end in 0 are much easier for me to handle than the ones that end in 5.

I came to that rather trivial realization sometime over the past year. Approaching 30, 40, 50, or 60? No big deal. In fact, for that last one I used the occasion to gather 60 lessons I’ve learned over six decades. It was great fun.

The ones that end in 5, however? Umm…they seem to be more problematic. Perhaps it is because I’m suddenly closer to the next 0 and the next decade than to the one in my rear view mirror. At 35 most of us finally realize, if we haven’t already, that we are no longer a kid. At 45 you can claim with some degree of persuasiveness to fall in the middle age bracket, but that has its own set of challenges. (Mortgages, anyone?) By the time you hit 55 you are conscious of the fact that few people live to be 110, and you are face-to-face with all that implies. And at 65? Well, no one makes it to 130 so you have no claim to that middle age moniker. Of course, as if to drive that point home, at age 65 all the senior discounts, Medicare, and Social Security benefits kick in across the board. Not to mention aches in places you didn’t know existed.

Couple on Jetty Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Thankfully, I now have a very different outlook than when I reached 35, or 45, or 55. I am approaching my 65th birthday this week with a great deal more excitement for whatever lies ahead and what I’ve yet to learn, in whatever time is left. My gap year exploration of what’s next has certainly helped. Watching my father successfully navigate the final third of his life changed my perspective on the possibilities. But the primary reason that I’m optimistic is my recent work to look at personal experiences through a lens of remembrance without regret.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Regrets tend to lock us in a past where we constantly relitigate our actions. Truth be told, I’ve not always handled the “no regret” part of remembrance very well. From an early age I was a first-class worrier, and I still hold on to a part of that history. They may not matter to anyone else, but regrets matter to those who hold on to them. Regrets stop us from moving beyond past experiences in order to revel in fresh challenges. Yet we don’t realize that those past experiences, when ultimately faced, can turn out to be much less of an issue than they appear in our clouded memories.

I doubt there’s a person alive who remembers that at age 9, as I was playing in a piano competition in front of a room full of people, my memory suddenly went blank.

But I remember.

I stopped playing piano that day and suddenly found it took a great deal of effort to play any music in public, no matter how much I might love it. The regret of failure was too present. Knowing I wanted to move past this, I challenged myself at age 40, took a year of piano lessons, and then sat down in front of my teacher — and her group of elementary school students with all their parents — to play in a recital. And I aced it!

It was a step past regret to build new memories, new remembrances, of joy.

It is so tempting to sleepwalk through many phases of life, avoiding the places, literal and figurative, where we might have to face our regrets in order to learn anew. While these places appear countless times throughout our lives, major milestones often amplify their significance. The culmination of a career or the ending of a job, voluntary or otherwise, can be an occasion when regrets arise for work undone. The end of a relationship can push us to forget the wonder of a love once held outside time and space. Instead we focus on regrets and recriminations. When family and dear friends get ill and die, we struggle with regret instead of remembrance and, where possible, celebration. We forget the notes, and in the process overlook what brought us to love music in the first place.

The challenge to cut through the knot in the stomach is one I still face on occasion, more than fifty years after sitting all alone on that piano stool. But traveling through that challenge is necessary to reach these places where affirming memories are formed, connecting over time, to create our true identities. And the travel may very well be symbolic. “The real voyage of discovery,” as Marcel Proust once said, “consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Thankfully, I realize there is so much yet to do. Musicians and actors I’ve admired have been incredibly productive later in life. Many of my favorite writers are still turning out meaningful work well into their seventh and eighth decades. I’ve always been fond of Madeleine L’Engle’s observation that “I am still every age that I have been.” It reminds me that simply because I am now well into the sixth decade, I don’t have to forget the astonishment that came so easily during the first ten years. We’ve all seen examples of people who, as they move through life, fear what’s next and want to hang on to what they have and what they wish to be true. As the writer Ursula K. Le Guin notes in No Time to Spare, these are the ones who have “given up on the long-range view.” I keep reminding myself: don’t be that person!

Fortunately, there are also those who, in her words, realize the incredible amount we learn “between our birthday and our last day.” If we are flexible enough in mind and spirit to recognize “how rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn,” we can maintain the seeking, trusting capacity for learning and life that we had as a two-year-old. We can build hope for the future grounded in memory.

Observing and listening to make sense of life leads to interior places not normally visited in our daily routines. But looking at this voyage of almost 65 years through new eyes helps me remember the basic things that make us human. It helps me find ways to get to the heartbeat.

I want to say thank you to the many family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers who have been there for me over 65 years. Your support has led me to a place where I now move quickly past feelings of regret to memories that provide a solid foundation for whatever is next.

You may, or may not, remember what you did to lift me up. But I remember.

Have a great week.

More to come…


Installment #23 of The Gap Year Chronicles

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay.

Saturday Music: Leyla McCalla

New York-born Haitian-American multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla is the fifth and final featured artist in our Black History Month tribute to musicians at the forefront of the work to reclaim the African American contributions to folk, old-time, country and roots music. I kicked off the series with my January tribute to Amythyst Kiah and then celebrated throughout February the music of Rhiannon Giddens, followed by Dom Flemons, Otis Taylor, and last week’s artist, Keb’ Mo’.

Leyla McCalla courtesy of

Leyla McCalla (photo credit:

McCalla grew up in the cultural mix of New York City but relocated to Accra, Ghana for two years while a teenager. She returned to the States to study cello performance and chamber music at NYU. Taking that knowledge—and “armed with Bach’s Cello Suites”—she left to play cello on the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. There she sang in French, Haitian Creole, and English, and played cello, tenor banjo and guitar. McCalla spent two years and gained greater fame as cellist of the Grammy award-winning African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, alongside bandmates Giddens and Flemons. She left the group in 2013 to pursue her solo career.

I’ll begin this look at a small sample of McCalla’s music with the Haitian love song Rose-Marie, which she sings in this video from Delfest with the Chocolate Drops. Little Sparrow is a beautiful and sorrowful tune from the 2016 solo album A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey. “Through deeply felt originals and interpretations of traditional songs,” her website notes, “the album depicts a diverse American experience and Leyla’s struggles with and acceptance of her own cultural identity.”

The witty official video of the tune Money Is King is from her 2018 album Capitalist Blues. The song highlights McCalla’s incorporation of traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music into her contemporary work. With this record, it has been suggested that McCalla is processing the current political environment in her own way. NPR noted that the album

“…imaginatively maps her vision of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora while gently taking Anglocentricism (and capitalism) down a notch. She’s partly in the moment and partly looking beyond it, and seeing truths that we’ve missed.”

Singing with Our Native Daughters, McCalla’s tune I Knew I Could Fly is based on an Etta Baker-style Piedmont Blues. I love this video because it has short explanations from McCalla on her the creative process interspersed with the music.

To close out this Black History Month special series, I’ll quote NPR again, to remind us of the importance of this work.

“The roots-music scene can display assimilationist tendencies, too, but it’s also home to a small but growing number of artists — including Leyla McCalla and her sometime bandmate Rhiannon Giddens, Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra, Dom Flemons and Kaia Kater — who don’t stand by and accept the whitewashing of culturally distinct origins. Instead, their work does the intellectual labor of clarifying; of reconnecting the dots, reconstructing context, retelling and sometimes personalizing neglected stories.”

McCalla’s upcoming tours include the premier of Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever in Durham, North Carolina, on March 4-6. She’s also performing at Ginny’s Supper Club in New York City on April 1st, and at the New Orleans JazzFest on April 30th.


More to come…


Just Say It

If I had just one piece of advice to give to colleagues, friends, and family, it would be pretty simple. Say “Thank you.” Say it early and often.

Thank you Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Two recent conversations raised this in my consciousness. First, a senior professional and former colleague was assisting an emerging professional with a networking and outreach discussion. They met, and because she was impressed, the former colleague offered up additional assistance. While a verbal thank you may have been given at the end of lunch, there was no follow-up communication after the initial meeting to acknowledge the gift of time and offer of additional assistance.

In a second instance, a friend mentioned that a member of her family found it difficult, if not impossible, to say thank you, even when she was the recipient of an extraordinary gift. These family members have had their differences through the years. But despite that, my friend expected an acknowledgement of minimal gratefulness. It never came.

Connecting to say thank you is, from my perspective, extraordinarily important. Saying thank you, as my Grandmother Brown was fond of noting, is just common courtesy.

But there is much more to gratefulness than meeting basic societal norms.

Saying thank you is a recognition that an interaction — from a minor courtesy to an extraordinary effort — has taken place and that you recognize and acknowledge the connection. The level of benefit you’ve received is immaterial in my book.*

People enjoy being thanked. They may shuffle, say “aw shucks,” and deflect the gratitude. But your effort to recognize someone else’s presence, their work, and the gift(s) they have given is (almost) always appreciated. Great leaders are very good at saying thank you. They do it early and often. In those few instances where people don’t appreciate being thanked, then recognize that saying thank you is good for you and your personal well-being.

Gratefulness is a recognition that we all count on the kindness of others: friends and strangers alike. No one got to where they are by themselves. Recognizing this basic fact of life is key to building circles of friends, networks of support, and real self-esteem. It is also key to a deeper understanding of grace.

A number of years ago I became intentional about saying “thank you” to someone every day. It is one of the smartest things I ever did.

Try it. You’ll (perhaps) thank me for it someday.

More to come…


*Oftentimes a thank you note or email does, however, acknowledge receipt of a gift. I don’t want to even think of the number of wedding and shower gifts we’ve sent over the years where we had to — after a long period of radio silence — reach out to the parents or even the recipients to ask if the gift was received. Don’t be that person.

Installment #22 of The Gap Year Chronicles

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.