Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Follow Your Internal Compass

Thought for the day:  Plagiarism: the unoriginal sin  [Roy Peter Clark]


This picture from seniorarkhas absolutely nothing to do with today's post. I just thought it was funny.

This post has nothing to do with plagiarism, either. I mean, I can't copy from myself, right? Which is to say... today's post is a somewhat edited rerun. Another oldie but goodie you may have missed the first time around, when it ran in September of 2011 as Trust Yourself; You Know the Way.

I hope you enjoy it.



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Thought for the day:  Going in the wrong direction beats sitting still on the tarmac.

Did you hear about the student pilot who got hopelessly lost on his first solo flight? When the air traffic controller tried to help him out by asking for his last known position, the poor guy said, "When I was taxiing for take-off, sir."

Ever feel like that? Like you aren't sure where you are, how you got there, where you're supposed to be going, or how you're supposed to get there?

High school and college graduation speeches are always filled with optimism and confidence about conquering the future, aren't they? The world is our oyster. Only problem is, nobody provides us with a darned oyster knife. We each have to figure it out for ourselves.

When we graduate into adulthood, we have to stop taxiing. It becomes time to file our flight plans, and for better or worse, take to the skies. Few of us followed the flight plan we expected for our life, or landed exactly where we expected to be when we proudly walked across the stage to accept our diplomas. That doesn't mean we took the wrong path. Sometimes our internal compasses lead us in a different direction, and what do you know? It turns out to be exactly the one we were meant to take all along.

                                           It's time for a little story.

Douglas Corrigan was one of the airplane mechanics who built Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, and after Lindbergh's successful flight cross the Atlantic in 1927, it became Corrigan's dream to follow suit. Being of Irish descent, he desperately wanted to fly non-stop to Dublin.

So he got his pilot's license and bought Sunshine, a second-hand single-engine 1929 Curtiss Robin, and applied for permission to make the flight.

Wouldn't ya know it? The dastardly FAA denied his flight plan. Said his plane was too old, and unfit. So he worked on his plane some more, and filed another and another and another NY-to-Ireland flight plan. All denied.

But his plane WAS approved for transcontinental flight, so in 1938, Corrigan flew from California to New York. There, he filed a flight plan to return to California.

Because of heavy fog covering New York that fateful day, Corrigan was directed to fly east  . . . just until he rose above the fog . . . and then turn back toward the west.

Only he, um,  never did. He kept going... east. Claimed his compass wasn't working properly, and he didn't even know where he was when he landed . . .  in (ahem) Dublin.



For this, he earned the nickname Wrong Way Corrigan. As it turned out, the FAA had a point about his airplane being a crate. Sunshine developed a gas leak on the California to New York flight, and when he was over the Atlantic, so much gasoline was leaking into the cockpit, Corrigan had to punch a hole in the floor. It took him 28 hours and 13 minutes to complete the flight to Ireland, and by the time he landed, he was a celebrated hero on both sides of the ocean.

Needless to say, the bureaucrats at the FAA were furious, but how could they throw the book at America's hero? Corrigan was slapped with a perfunctory 14-day license suspension, which was already completed by the time he arrived (by ship) back in the U.S.

And know what? New York City gave him a bigger parade than they'd given Lindbergh in 1927.



Until the day he died in 1995, Corrigan maintained that his navigational error was purely unintentional. I'll let you be the judge of that. But in that one flight, he broke the law, charmed the Irish, became an American hero, and earned an unforgettable nickname: Wrong Way Corrigan.


So, what's the moral of the story?

Others may try to dictate your flight plan through life, but you're the one in the pilot's seat. Only you can decide where you're going and how you're gonna get there. Trust your internal compass.


Remember where you came from, and which end goes up, and you'll never get lost.

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
           
 [Photos of Corrigan courtesy of National Archives. The duck's adorable dupa is from morguefile]                                          

98 comments:

  1. As a person who frequently feels that she is just muddling along rather than working to a plan I loved this post - thank you. And a duck butt is guarenteed to make me smile (thank you again).

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    1. We're not "muddling", Sue. We may not know exactly what the plan may be, but somehow or another, we always end up moving forward.

      Duck butts always make me smile, too. Hmm, I wonder what that says about us.

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  2. Love the 'smart car' pic at the top of your post, and I love the headline on the newspaper, it's backwards lol. Great story.

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  3. Help! Somebody hijacked my plane long ago and took me on a one-way trip to the Twilight Zone.

    Great story (not mine - - yours!) and great headline from the NY Post.

    Never light a match after you fart in a small car. Who knows WHERE you'll wind up......

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    1. Well, then it's time to kick that interloper out of the plane and take over the controls again, cowboy. With any luck, you can get out of the Zone and land somewhere cool, lush and green.

      Good one. You've got a point about lighting a match...

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  4. I'm in the pilot seat. That's always good to remember.

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    1. That's right. Time may fly, but we're always in the pilot's seat.

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  5. Did you hear about the student pilot who got hopelessly lost on his first solo flight?

    Did not make it as far as a solo flight but took pilot lesson while I was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. The instructor, a retired Air Force colonel, was constantly correcting me while the traffic control was blaring over the radio. Turned down the radio and forgot about it as I did several touch and gos on a runway.

    About five minutes later the instructor realized something was wrong, turned up the radio only to realize traffic control was about to declare an emergency since it could not contact us. Never flew with that instructor again.

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    1. HA! Sounds like you did well not to fly with that instructor again. One time of almost being declared an emergency was one time too many.

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  6. I have never flown in a plane but I will most certainly be the pilot to my own life. Great post :)

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    1. Wow... never flown in a plane? Surprising. Then again, being in a plane, isn't nearly as exciting as piloting your own life. I'm glad you liked the post.

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  7. I love that little green vehicle...looks like a pea.

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  8. What a great post, and indeed half the time, my internal GPS is wonky and yet sometimes the "wrong" way turns out best. The key is to recognize and embrace the change. Great pics!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. I'm glad ya liked it. Only half the time? Good for you! As for me, it's a good thing I enjoy the scenic route.

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  9. I would crash a plane
    Right into a traffic lane
    Or on a train
    Causing much pain
    So it is better I avoid trying that
    Wouldn't want to be a flat cat
    But through life the pilot is me
    If that is your car, for my fart I am sorry lol

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    1. It's true, we feel a lot of heat
      While sitting in the pilot's seat,
      But I believe in living large
      Behind the controls, with me in charge.
      As for the car, you know, alas,
      That's NOT what I meant by "giving it gas."

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  10. Thanks for this post, Susan. It is quite timely for me.

    I got your book, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, on my Kindle. It's in my to-read queue. I will also get the paperback version a little later in the summer. I already know I'll enjoy it. :)

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    1. Hi-ya, Linda! Long time, no hear. I'm glad you liked the post.

      And even gladder you got my book! I hope you enjoy it.

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  11. Replies
    1. Thanks! (And a very good way to give myself a little break.)

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  12. I'll thank you for almost making me blow my coffee all over my screen thanks to that first picture.

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    1. HA! My pleasure. My job here is complete...

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  13. Good points, great story. I've heard of "Wrong Way Corrigan" but did not know the story.

    Love the headline. Even in 1927, the New York Post had the best headlines.

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    1. Cool. I'm glad you liked the story, and I'm glad to be the one who told it to you.

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  14. I remember this post and it's still a great lesson. Also reminds me of the saying "well behaved women rarely make history." :)

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    1. Oh, that is such a cool saying! I never heard it before. Having been a Goody Two Shoes most of my life, I have a lot of lost time to make up for if I wanta make a mark!

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  15. Great post! Shows well the point that it's often easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Especially when it's something you know you have to do.

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    1. Thanks! Your forgiveness-permission line reminds me of something my hubby has said many times: "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six." Same kinda mindset.

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  16. SUSAN ~
    Oldie but Goodie is right! This was great.

    >>... For this, he earned the nickname Wrong Way Corrigan.

    I had periodically encountered the name Wrong Way Corrigan, but I had no idea who Corrigan was or why he was called "Wrong Way".

    And I've seen other versions of that name too, like in Rocky And Bullwinkle episodes - Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz.

    Thanks for bringing me to the truth about that nickname, and to the clever New York Post headline.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Super. I'm glad to hear it.

      I really enjoy sharing neat little stories from our history with people who might not be familiar with them.

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  17. Funny. Gotta go. Right now my internal compass is telling me to head to the restroom.

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    1. You don't need a compass for that. Just a dip stick to check your fluid level.

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  18. Susan, I hadn't thought of Wrong Way for a long time but always find his story strangely inspiring. Thanks for seniorark link too --had never seen it.

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    1. You're welcome. You'll find a ton of hilarious stuff on that site.

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  19. Shakespeare should have amended his famous line to include "and some find greatness through folly."
    Glad you re-posted this. I missed it the first time around.

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    1. Yes! Great addendum.

      Well then, I'm glad I re-posted it, too.

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  20. I can see why you like the photo. :) Can we plagiarize ourselves? Very deep.

    I had a computer named Wrongway. It went to California and a few other places before it found its way here.

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    1. A computer named Wrongway, huh? I'd like to have one called Intuitive, meaning it'd be smart enough to do what I really want it to do instead of what I tell it to do.

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  21. What a brilliant story. I admire the fact that he was determined to achieve his goal, no matter how many denials and how much time had passed. Now that's inspirational. :)

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    1. Thanks. I find it inspirational, too. Refusing to quit can pay off in the end.

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  22. Good for Corrigan. Not that he flew to Ireland on purpose. I would never suggest that he lied. I'd never heard about him before. What a good post. I learn good stuff from you all the time.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yeah, I'm sure he had absolutely no idea he was heading east. (What sun?) But I do love his story, and the lesson it teaches.

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  23. I've heard of Wrong Way Corrigan, but I didn't know the story behind him. Awesome. And it just goes to show that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission, especially when you're following your dream!

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    1. It's a neat story, isn't it? Just the thing to fire up your imagination, and you're right about following those dreams. Worked out just fine for him!

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  24. Love this post. People who live on their own terms are often called things like HERO after the fact. Funny how they are often called UNREALISTIC, DREAMERS, or even HOPELESSLY NAIVE before they succeed. As you say, it isn't easy to be the hero of your own story. You have to get past all of the naysayers first. Hero is a well-earned title.

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    1. Glad ya liked it, Robin. Wrong Way put his own spin on the concept of "hero," didn't he?

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  25. Great post! It made me remember one of my favorite quotes: I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. ~Douglas Adams

    And LOL at your first picture!

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    1. I'm glad ya liked it. That is a GREAT quote, and it fits this post like an expensive kid glove.

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  26. What a great story and I love that his 'punishment' was already paid in full by the time he got back.

    Excellent tarmac quote!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Glad ya liked that tarmac quote, too. (I made it up!)

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  27. I'd heard of Wrong Way but never the whole story. Most enjoyable. Thanks.

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    1. My pleasure. It's fun to connect the name between the name and the story.

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  28. Great post and interesting story.

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  29. What an AWESOME story! I have never even heard of Corrigan, so thank you for the education!

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    1. Super! I'm thrilled to be the one to tell you about him.

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  30. Fascinating. I wasn't familiar with the story of Wrong Way C. either. I always thought that referring to someone as a Wrong Way Corrigan was a bit of gibe. But anyone who can use adversity (fog, a malfunctioning compass, and a gas leak) to reach his goal is most definitely a hero.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. I think a lot of people do use the expression as a gibe, simply because they don't know the whole story. A better gibe would be to call someone "Wrong Way Marshall." He was a 49er who recovered a fumble back in '63, and then ran all the way down the field and into the end zone. He thought he'd scored a touchdown, but he actually scored a safety for the other team. (oops!)

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  31. I've never heard that story. I love your commentary on it.
    Good job.

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  32. Love this post! I've never heard that story either, but I think it might have been an intentional mistake. Not that he intended it to begin with, but he took a little advantage of the situation and went with it.

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    1. Yeah, when the controller told him to go east until he was above the fog, the temptation to fulfill his dream was probably just too strong to resist.

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  33. Wow, that's an awesome story and one I desperately needed to read tonight. Thanks for lifting my spirits, Susan. :)

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    1. I'm glad ya like it, and happy to hear it lifted your spirits.

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  34. Hahhahha.... I have wondered where the term Wrong Way Corrigan came from. Now I know. LOL... love the picture of the Smart Car

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    1. Yeah, I like that smart car picture, too. Because of my keenly developed sophisticated sense of humor, I tend to think fart jokes are hilarious.

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  35. I've never even heard of Wrong Way Corrigan.
    This story reminds me of a quote I read somewhere on the internet, "sometimes life takes you places you weren't expecting to go"

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    1. Cool... well now ya have! Boy, that's a true quote, isn't it? I wonder if anyone ever traverses through life exactly as expected? That'd be kinda boring, I think. I prefer to think of life as an adventure.

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  36. P.S. I bought Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, I'll read it as soon as I finish the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

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    1. WooHOO! What a super P.S.! I'm happy to hear it, and will be looking forward to hearing your opinion of it.

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  37. I adore the funny car pic, and I really liked your story, too. I think Corrigan was very lucky to have made it to Dublin alive. I'm afraid I'm not seeing the moral as "Keep trying" but more along the lines of "Stay home where it's safe and don't ignore the FAA!!" lol

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    1. HA! Where's your sense of adventure, woman? Yeah, I know, curled up on the sofa with a good book. Beats leaking gasoline over the Pacific.

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  38. Oh I truly love your moral of the story. Makes sense:) B

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. It kinda hits the moral right on the... ready?... button.

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  39. What a great post, Susan! It seems as if he was one of those who got tired of asking permission and busted a move. What a great story and a motivating graduation-time message. I am one of those who took the wandering road, but I am happy with how things turned out.

    Kathy M.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, it's great motivation, as long as kids don't think it's a free pass to defy authority as they see fit. The wandering road is scenic and beautiful, dontcha think? We all come to the end of the line some day, but I'm in no hurry to take a direct A-Z path to get there. We might as well enjoy the journey, and detours are usually much more interesting than the beaten path.

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  40. Nice post.

    I always liked the idea of trusting my internal compass, but of course in my case it is a little dented, and the arrow does not spin all the way around.

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    1. Pbbbt! I have a feeling your dented compass does just fine for you.

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  41. I love his gumption. Thanks for sharing this feel-good story, Susan. Your moral, too, is profoundly true.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Yeah, he had gumption, all right, but no more than you do. Glad you liked the story.

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  42. Hi Susan,

    Yes indeed, I've arrived here. I think I've arrived here...Or maybe I'm over there. Never mind, I always adore your thoughtful, funny and clever postings that leave me up in the air, or not, as the case may be.

    That looks like a pea on wheels in the photo. I said "pea on wheels", not "pee on wheels", I'll just leave that to the dog.

    I fly by the seat of my pants. Much cheaper.

    Thanks for this wonderful posting, Susan. How the heck do I get outta' here?............................

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    1. Why, yes, I do believe you have arrived. We can't have you floating around in the air there, though. Here, let me pull you down... oops! You really should wear suspenders, you know. How was I to know your britches were too large? (Must have stretched them out from all that flying.) Why don't you tighten them up while I put the kettle on. If you need me to tell ya how to get back home, we're both in serious trouble, so you might as well just get comfortable and have a cup of tea.

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  43. Thank you so much for following me Susan at lettersfromlaunna.blogspot.com

    I am following you here now too... I look forward to your posts. I love this post about how we are the pilots of our own destiny... we seem to forget that from time to time.

    Yes, I adore Keith and his questions that he poses on his blog.

    Have an awesome day,

    Launna

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    1. Hi-ya, Launna. (Such a pretty name!)

      Thanks for stopping by and returning the favor. Welcome aboard! You have an awesome day, too.

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  44. I love this post! It's funny how things always seem to work out, even if we don't have a clue where we're going!

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. (But I'll betcha watching Bubba already taught you this lesson a long time ago!)

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  45. thanks for the history lesson. sure glad he made it across the ocean! yikes! cute duck butt - they ALWAYS make me laugh. :)

    thanks for finding my place and leaving a comment. really appreciate it! bless you and your yams. :)

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    1. Hi-ya. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment here, too. (Yeah, what IS it about those little duck butts that makes them so darned cute?)

      Welcome aboard!

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  46. Well, I loved the post and had forgotten the story behind Wrong Way … what fun.. but the best thing I read was your dueling poems with Pat Hatt!

    HAha? love it….

    and yes while we all KNOW we are in charge of our own paths … there are a ton of little doodads in the way. It's the handling of those doodads that if you don't have the proper shoes for dodging ? … the tripping can be mighty painful … then you got to get up and go on and dodge some more and find a different path … blast … more doodads.. drives me insane ... dodging doodads

    I like metaphors ;)

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it... and the dueling poems. Pat's a real hoot, isn't he?

      Well, i'm not so sure everybody KNOWS they're in charge of their paths. Some people would rather curse their "fate" than accept responsibility for tripping over those doodads they encounter.

      Thanks for stopping by, and signing on as a follower. I do appreciate it. Welcome aboard!

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    2. You're welcome and vice versa! I just looked at Pat's blog... love it... joined it. what fun is he.

      Well? Some people if they don't know ... you can't tell 'em... Yogi Berra said that... and to me... each person has to find their path. they can and will. if they want. it's all up to the individual ... those who accept or curse their fate have found their path too.

      oh, and another adage... you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink ... and that's the truth. .. can't spell Edith Ann's spffft pbffft

      it's all relative ... ;)

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    3. HA! Dontcha love Edith Ann? And the switchboard operator, too: "Is this the party to whom I am speaking?"

      Some people, you can't tell them ANYTHING; they've gotta learn it the hard way. They're as stubborn as that thirsty horse. (I guess he wanted it in a fancy trough.)

      Take care.

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  47. I've always found it fun to look back at the road traveled and delight in the perfect circumstances that shaped the journey... phew. That was kinda deep. I need a nap now.

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    1. You're right. The path looks a lot different in retrospect than it does when we're trying to travel it. HA! Hope you enjoyed your nap.

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