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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, June 21 2001

Homecoming

Last week I promised myself (and told several others) that if I could get my tickets at my price online I would use my forced week of vacation over the Fourth of July for a trip to Pennsylvania. My son Michael and I are also planning two weeks in the UK and Ireland later this summer, so I was ambivalent, maybe even sanguine, about whether the Pennsylvania trip came about. So after checking normal ticket prices on a travel agency online, I went to Priceline and bid exceptionally low, $250 roundtrip. Priceline immediately urged me to get reasonable, so I threw in another 25 bucks. Within minutes my bid was accepted by Delta, nonstop from San Jose to Atlanta and another hop to Baltimore BWI airport, which has been my usual entry port to Western Pennsylvania.

If they'd turned down my $275 bid, I'd have probably given up. Now, because they won't take bids without a firm commitment via credit card to pay the price if it's accepted, I'm locked in. See you in two weeks, Blacklick Valley!*

I'm not this impulsive. But on the other hand, I'm not getting any younger.

I've long envied people with long vacations (school teachers, primarily), so when I got my old contracting job back on May 1, I refused to fret over the rumors that we'd all get two unplanned vacation weeks over Memorial Day and Independence Day. Though Mike and I were planning a major trip in August, and his schedule has little flexibility, I told myself I can afford this. But that too is impulsive, for me, resisting the accusation that "unimpulsive" is a euphemism for "cheap."

I also have to report that I had my bid for a midsize car rental at $22 a day accepted through Priceline, and that was from Hertz, of all people, whose list daily price for a midsize is $76. If you're cheap, you have to tout your bargains.

It's not really cheapness but habit—training, conditioning. Mom worried about every expense and for much of my adult life I lived a barely subsistence existence, the lot of the "faith ministry" we were engaged in for about 20 years. It was almost routine in those years to float a loan at the supermarket over the weekend by writing a check against funds not yet received. Faith never failed in such pinches, but it was constantly tested. For years, $30 was a "comfortable" checking account surplus. There was no savings account.

But if penuary is a habit so hard to break, why isn't also faith as well engrained and why is rejoicing not a learned and even unshakeable personality trait?

(Thursday's entries are produced as "writing exercises" in a professional writers group the webmaster participates in.)

*Anyone planning to be in the area at the time of my visit is welcome to email me to see if schedules will permit a get-together. Our standing offer of free personal web pages on the Nanty Glo Home Page, for those with Blacklick Valley ties, remains, and I'll take a photo and create a basic page for anyone requesting it, as time permits.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

21 Ways to "freak out" your colleagues (collect 'em all)

16. Put mosquito netting around your cubicle. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.

17. Five days in advance, tell your friends that you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

18. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Hard.

19. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won! Third time this week!"

20. When leaving the zoo, start running toward the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

21. Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to let one of you go."

Sent by Zan

Five more to grow on

"We live in a competitive world and the values of teamwork are essential. Working well with others—sports can teach you that more than anything else." Pat Mangan, Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy athletic director, English teacher
"In the end, they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us...'Make us your slaves, but feed us.'" Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana
"To lead the people, walk behind them. And when the work of the great leaders is said and done, the people will say, 'We did it ourselves.'" Lao Tzu

Selected
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