Trademarks of remarkable people

In 1946 and at the age of 9, Ron Sellers was told by his two older brothers he was too young to shoot ducks with them. This broke Ron’s heart to the point of isolation and tears. When his father asked what was wrong, it was all he could to do explain himself through the sadness he felt in a broken heart.

You see, the Bamberger Railroad carried people from Salt Lake to Ogden passing by the Sellers home. Passengers were often in transit to Lagoon for entertainment or rode to and from the cities for work. The Bamberger’s—who owned the train—loved to eat duck and would have their conductor stop to meet Ron’s and his brothers as they commuted north. They would hand the young boys shot gun shells to use to hunt as they transported their passengers north. On the return trip, the train would stop and exchange school clothes for each duck they had caught. Ron wasn’t allowed to shoot because his older brothers couldn’t “waste” any of the shells on their younger brother. Misguided shots took away from the overall count of the day.

As Ron raised his head toward his father, and in wiping away tears, did his best to explain why he couldn’t participate in the hunt with his brothers. “I am as good as they are Dad!”

Well, I will tell you what we can do then. I will buy you a BB gun. We will file off the sites and have you shoot aspirin bottles in the air. As soon as you can hit them on a regular basis; I will have your brothers include you in their activities.

This was all Ron needed. He spent hours in the barn perfecting his techniques. He would learn the best way to slow down the movement of the bottle in his mind, knowing what point to pull the trigger and ways to keep the guns movements steady allowing for optimal opportunity. He didn’t want to fail his father’s test, so even after he felt he had mastered his ability, he continued to practice. Dad, I am ready! What? You can hit an aspirin bottle after throwing it in the air? Yes Dad every time.

His father had thought this would take a long time—if ever—to perfect. This would allow for Ron to reach an age where his chances would improve in the duck hunt. It was critical for the family to obtain these clothes as they were very poor.

Ok, let’s go see; bring your brothers. Off to the barn the Sellers went to see the sportsmanship of the youngest in their group. Go ahead; shoot a bottle for us Ron. His brothers were thinking he would fail waiting anxiously to participate themselves. Off the bottle flew into the air. As the bottle reached its apex the BB hit the bottle square in the middle. It was a direct hit. As with all brothers, they jumped in to offer that it was nothing more than a lucky shot. Off went another bottle which was hit again. This happened over and over with no failed attempts. Neither older brother could compete with Ron at this new sport.

His father had no choice but to support Ron’s efforts. Ok you two, as he pointed to the older brothers, Ron is to have as many shots as each of you as you hunt for the Bamberger’s! Ron, I want you to tell me how it goes. He was a natural, turns out it was far easier to hit a “slow moving” duck with hundreds of BB’s than a small bottle with one.

Some say the emotion Ron felt from his desire to participate triggered his natural ability. While this may be partially true, Ron suggests that a rare and deep desire is a critical element to being really good at anything in life. It may be we carry a natural aptitude toward a physical ability, but to be truly exceptional our hearts must be in play. This is the only way we use our full capacity.

During his late teens and as a driver for construction services, Ron made more money gaming workers than in his salary. He would pull onto a job site and bet $1 to any willing party that he could hit a penny thrown into the air with a .22 pistol. He never (rarely if ever) missed. For those who want to try, the secret he says is to wait until the penny hits the apex of flight where it turns to show its full broadside view. You merely wait for the time you have the highest probability of success and pull the trigger (good luck!).

At 21 Ron was introduced to trap shooting. He was a natural beating the reigning state champion in his first event. He went on to shoot trap representing Remington internationally. Over the years he has shot with all kinds, including the Prince of England. He holds six world records which include being the first to hit 100 clay pigeons in a single day from 21-, 22-, 23- and the 24-yard lines. This was done by what competitors called “a country boy with a gun held together with bailing wire and string.” He went on to hit 100 at every marker in competition. When asked how, he said “I have the ability to wait until I see the right picture before I pull the trigger.” In his storied career he shot nearly 1500 in a row!

This technique is exactly what a professional baseball player told me about hitting runs in the major league. Isolate the ball as a picture in your mind where nothing else comes into play. I remember Jerry Sloan saying with technology today we have an ability to learn every detail of an athletes unique abilities. We can see their raw talent and find ways to improve on their abilities. But, what we can’t see is where their heart is. Often an athlete’s ability comes from the heart pushing one beyond natural talents even when they are exceptionally gifted. There is no test for this, but it must transpire at some point for the athlete to be truly great.

So to be exceptional at anything we need a certain level of capability for sure. But mix talent to inner drive, or a burning desire to succeed and you will find nothing will stop you! You well may become a world champion like Ron…

Jaren

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Two (un)likely paths cross…

I know, Peppy Suzie Prom isn’t a typical name for a Stallion, but his linage was so strong this unusual title only added to his strength. Peppy was born to greatness! Many stood by anxiously awaiting as they prepared to reign in one more king; a champion of champions.

Life didn’t go that way however; you see Peppy was born much smaller than his father. The expectation of an 18 hand giant fell to guesses of 14 or maybe 15 if lucky. Those who lined up to gain favor, suddenly turned looking for other opportunities. Weeks turned into months as Peppy began to wonder where all the attention had gone. Where would life take this strong heart bound in what was assumed to be a detriment, a smaller than typical body?

Then, almost as a last ditch effort, the thought of putting him up for auction became a viable solution. This was the time two incredible paths crossed. At the auction that day were several trained horse women from Sage Creek Equestrian. These ladies were trained to see talent. Size never mattered to these experienced cowgirls for they well knew there are a variety of sizes in our human riders.

Among these exceptional women was a champion too. Not necessarily one found in riding. Her talents came from a much different sport. She led cheer squads having been crowned champions at every level. As Lindie’s eyes met Peppy’s it was as if two hearts aligned from another time. Each was feeling deep within this was meant to be and there would be a history created together.

What had been seen as a flaw in finding a home had now become the greatest asset. Lindie by stature was the equivalent of Peppy. If she topped 5’2” it was because she stood on high heels. As they would train, all who watched quickly realized the magic these two would develop together. Peppy had the blood of champions; Lindie carried the fine tuned skills of a trained competitor. Each stood up for the challenge creating magic as two bodies flowed into one. It was destiny! It was a perfect manifestation of two top athletes expressing themselves with impeccable precision.

As they grew from adolescence, they taught each other invaluable life lessons. Certainly, titles were won. Yet these were nothing more than steps on a path each was willing to take because they played as hard as they trained. The important stuff was where Peppy would step in as life got tough; he was the best listener and it meant the world to Lindie!  In trade, Lindie would care for the needs of her friend. Often, and as each knew, no one could quite understand life as they understood it together. Every time Lindie would arrive at the equestrian center, Peppy would show his excitement—standing at attention—running to the nearest fence. It was these times together both the human and equine enjoyed thoroughly.

This wasn’t the only place the two would connect as each could feel of each others needs from a distance. Lindie could feel when Peppy was in need as he could sense when life may be presenting some concern for his friend. Time passed, each got older and as they grew, so did the requirements of maturity making time much harder to be together. The connection remained, their love never ended.

Yesterday, Lindie felt her heart strings pulling. They were drawing her to her horse. She knew with certainty her friend was in need. Peppy lay on the ground in pain, age comes quicker for equine and he must have felt he was nearing the end. He had learned that when he sent out a call; Lindie would shortly come. With anxiety Lindie headed out across the mountain pass hoping with all her heart she could answer the call. As she drove onto the property, the spirited arrival wasn’t the same. It was clear Peppy was happy to see her but his actions were nothing more than a simple acknowledgement. A glistening in his eye or as seemly impossible; a sign of comfort on his face. As Lindie approached, a great relief was evident as Peppy’s heart moved from the pain toward their love feeling relief in her presence. It was as if he were saying, “I’m so glad you’re here! I really need you; I think this is the end, please hold me.”

These two hearts were speaking a language neither had known before. Peppy laid down, Lindie placed his head on her lap and they talked about little things. Things such as growing up, or how their relationship had played such an important role in each other’s lives, they remembered the good times together. Some brought tears, yet others a slight laughter even though the pain of age was penetrating their hearts. Peppy knew he only had minutes and Lindie could feel his discomfort. While she knew how much fun he would have cantering across the sky, nothing would ease the pain of thinking he would be gone. It didn’t seem fair, nothing could be done. Please Peppy, stay with me; let me fix you!

No, it is time Lindie; let me go. I have had the most remarkable life; a life of a champion! I will be there for you when needed, I promise.

A few more words were said, hearts touched and a few more memories shared. Peppy, before you go, let’s go somewhere comfortable, a place we shared together. With that Lindie got up making a gentle motion to come. Peppy with every effort of any energy remaining got up and began his voyage. This miracle was an indication of deep love; you see Peppy hadn’t been willing to move for anyone else.  Yet as he struggled —nearly failing—all could see he wanted his last minutes to be those that would be meaningful to his friend. His love trumped physical limitations as he moved ever so slowly. They walked together onto a grassy knoll, Peppy bent his neck smelling the new born grass. Then raised his head as the warm mountain breeze blew across his mane. He gave Lindie one last glance, a wink of gratitude if you will and took his last breath.

It seems as though nothing is harder in life. Then as many were feeling the void; a new stallion stood tall offering the loving support so often given by this amazing lost friend. No, Peppy can’t be replaced but certainly his legacy can be added to…

Dad

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The lynch mob who attacked Mayor Walker

Throughout most of my life I had never been able to understand how mobs could gather undertaking the things they do. As I would read stories of the past, I would marvel that—in their time—individuals were filled with enough hate to set out doing things they did. Too, I could never get my arms around how these people could possibly be so misguided. Granted, I didn’t live in their time and have the fortune of seeing backward with 20/20 vision; yet I still was without understanding.

I realize we suffer with similar gatherings today such as when terrorists execute Christians. Yet, it still escaped me on how or why. In my heart I would ask: What were they thinking? Who led them to believe the falsehoods they held passion for?

That understanding quickly changed for me when a single individual rallied a mob behind falsehoods toward me. I had presented a plan to a city council who expressed excitement for what I could bring to the community.  Together we prepared to present to the residents. What we soon learned was that we were ambushed by a very evil self-interested individual. There was so much hate garnered from the misinformation he shared that my wife and daughter (who attended the meeting with me) feared for our lives. Yes- we were here in a community along the Wasatch Front. Not a single person would listen to reason or hear of how the information they held was wrong.

Mayor Troy Walker of Draper met a similar fate in leading with his heart. He believed his constituents held similar values and would gather around him in finding solutions to societal needs. Needs other cities had dismissed? Bravely, he offered his community as an answer welcoming an opportunity to help to those in need. Much like Biblical stories used as examples of love. Giving a hand to the man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Stories the Greatest among us lived as virtues by His example.

As I watched the ungodly attack on the Mayor, his idea, and even an individaul in need; I lowered my head in shame. Unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised having gone through a similar experience, however I remained in disbelief. You see, I had just read a story written by Megan McArdle in Bloomberg (http://bit.ly/utahhomelessness) about Utah leading the nation in moving people out of poverty. It is brilliantly written, right on point, and what I daily experience in our community. To then see the evil hate filled mob gathered with closed minds and cold hearts acting uncivilly wasn’t who I had read about!

By percentage, one can successfully argue these nasty people are likely church going and may have family members suffer homelessness sometime. But no they weren’t there to learn or find compassion; they were out for blood.

My only hope is that after the emotion died, they were all uncomfortable with their actions and can find their hearts again. No- not all will. We know statistically the majority of those who act out like this represent barely 1%, but the numbers and incivility are bothersome nonetheless.

After time, many who had acted this way toward me apologized and have suggested my offering was what was best for the citizens (their neighbors). Whoever hears these stories? Mayor Walker, I hope you do! You are a good man and acted as we all should…

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The bedroom in her eyes…

The stories we have read so far are certainly interesting. Some embarrassing, which is what has brought back a fun memory for me (not so much for my wife however). We were attending the parade seeing as many homes as we could one evening late. Both my wife and I were tired and felt the home we were in would be the last for the day.

We were in the main bedroom which was spectacular as it featured everything you could imagine and more. To my satisfaction my wife had what I will describe as, “the bedroom in her eyes” as sung by Due West in their song, “I get that all the time.”

To this day I am not certain how this happened, but we were walking from the closet toward the bed. We got separated somehow in the crowd as commonly found in the evening while touring the homes. The fellow near us was dressed nearly the same as me with us both having the “almost” same build and look. My wife, gazing at the finishes and not paying attention to people; reached down and gently massaged his behind as she began to utter words…

He quickly turned around and saying, “I will give you five minutes to stop that” knowing she wasn’t cognitive of whom she was soliciting. She melted onto the floor; the rest of us died laughing. Yes, we have other memories as we are regular participants, but this is my favorite. You can bet if we make the post I will be linking to my soulmate in crime. A match certainly can burn twice…

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My first kiss

There are many things we remember as we go through life’s journey. The most vivid for me are the ones that carried a little extra emotion. My hope is that we as females aren’t alone in our ability to summon up these memorable times like the one I will share.

The parade group asked us to share something about our experiences at their show. This immediately brought back a myriad of emotion for me. My family first started going to the parade when I was in middle school. I still go to this day years later. The parade has become a tradition as I plan for it each year.

In my senior year of high school I met and began dating a boy who was in my English class. We had known about each other throughout our earlier high school years, but never really talked or met formally. We had an assignment which required a small group of students to gather after school. Brian was in my group. I will say I fell head over heels in love as I began to understand more about him.

Class ended, we had some contact, but Brian is fairly shy (or really shy) and I don’t need to say what this meant. I could see he was finding ways to be in places where I was at school events, but no formal invite to date was extended. Brian’s friend began dating my friend which is where it all started. This was a good enough reason for Brian to suggest we go out. I assume he was comfortable I may say yes. We double dated for our first date and began finding ourselves together more regularly as the school year ended.

Over the summer we saw each other, but each of our family trips was offset so we had gaps in being together regularly. As I have said, my family goes together to the parade of homes. What I found fun is that Brian’s did too. For a date, Brian suggested we take our tickets and see some of the homes we each had missed.

It was in our last home that night where my memory was created! We had seen about six homes and were nearing the closing of the homes for the day. The last one was exactly what I had dreamt about my entire life. As we walked through the home I could see myself living there forever. I mentioned this to Brian as he turned and kissed me! It was amazing making me feel the whole experience differently. Brian on the other hand had acted on emotion and was embarrassed to death. This made it even better.

Today we live together in a home as near to this dream as we can afford…

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Yes- I was left alone for a time…

When I was a child, I attended the Parade of Homes with my family and our neighbors. Each family had their own car. Initially we all traveled in our separate vehicles. As the day went along, we traded children riding in the cars so I could be with my friend and my sister with hers. It wasn’t uncommon for us to trade between cars depending on who came out of the home first.

It was in about the fifth home of the day we were having conversations about getting some lunch before the next home. I was particularly fascinated with the backyard which had the best play area I had ever seen. What I didn’t notice was that I was engaged with some that weren’t part of our group. Time must have flown by for me.  In my excitement soon I realized there wasn’t a soul around who I knew.

Anxious, I went through the home toward the exit looking for any sign of my family or the neighbors. Nothing! I went out front and down the street to where we had parked. Nothing! No cars and no family or friends to be seen. Many might not know there was a time we didn’t have mobile phones, but this was the old days and we didn’t.

At first I thought to just sit on the sidewalk where the cars had been parked, but I soon realized I was out of place there. I went back to the home and sat near the front porch.

My family and neighbors each thought I had gotten in the other car. It wasn’t until they got to the restaurant they realized someone (me) was missing. My mom tells the story that she not only thought I was in the other car, but that I must have gone to the restroom first and why I wasn’t there to order.

After a short time my mom asked if the neighbors knew where I was concerned it had taken a little more time than normal. The response shocked my mom as she heard, “no he wasn’t with us; didn’t he ride with you?”

Well, back at the home and for what seemed like an eternity, I had made a friend with the person at the door. She told me not to worry and that as soon as either group realized I was gone they would be back to get me.

Mom jumped in the car racing back to save her son. What I will never forget is her eyes as she quickly drove up near the front of the house. She was wide eyed and filled with concern until she saw me. When she realized I was OK, her face changed portraying comfort that extended into my heart. The ensuing hug is one neither of us have forgotten.

Needless to say, we had greater restrictions for the remaining homes. I have been every year since and love the parade.

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Haven’t missed a year…

I won’t say that I have had an unusual parade experience; however, I may have one that is quite rare! I just celebrated my 32nd birthday and am married with two children. As a newborn (I would have been six months old) I was taken to the Salt Lake Parade of Homes™ by my parents. I have attended the parade each and every year of my life. I will readily admit those first years I don’t remember and that I am relying on the word of my mother, but I have continued this trend with my children.

From the time I could remember, I would always ask when the parade was being very anxious to see the latest new construction ideas. While many of the house treatments may seem to stay the same, I will suggest we have made some great strides. Technology is playing a big role in today’s homes which is fun to see with automation. But as I think, I remember when microwaves started becoming popular and flat panel televisions. I remember the main bedroom closets expanding and the “great room” becoming popular.

I am interested to see the trends change as the younger buyers enter the market knowing they want smaller high functioning homes.

Thank you for putting on such a great event! See you in July

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My friend Jim Hicks

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Watch out for shower doors if you are gawking

I think it was 2002, we were in a home called Tuscan by John Roe. Maybe other parade attendees are like me; dragging a husband along! I think they fear honey-do lists or a wife who wants a new house. Anyway, we were in the main bathroom closet. It was a walk-in, but you could step inside a few feet leaning against a rope keeping you from entering entirely.

While we were commenting on the organizers, three women stepped into the shower to take a funny picture. I will admit they were nice looking and slightly younger than we were. The door to the shower was glass and barely visible if you didn’t pay attention. As we turned to exit, my dear husband got distracted by their activity (beauty) and ran face first into the shower door.

It not only left a mark, but slammed the door shut shocking the ladies and making them scream. I can’t imagine what others at that end of the house were thinking as they heard the commotion. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t help! This is something we tease about even to this day. I often wonder if those ladies share a different version of the incident…

We love the parade, and have been regular attendees for years. Thank you for showing off your homes and builders.

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1976 Salt Lake Parade of Homes™

As a young man, my parents took our family to the Parade of Homes™1976. I remember the homes were in Glenmoor Village. It was exciting because the home builders had a large domed tent with exhibitors. I hadn’t ever seen anything this big that was temporary in nature.

While we walked through the home, I felt there were a couple things that could have been done differently. I mentioned this to my mother who agreed with me which validated my young heart. We approached a man in the living room who asked if we had any questions. My mother asked who he was, he happened to be the builder/designer Interstate Homes. To my great fear she said I had a couple ideas to share about the floorplan. He anxiously listened even offering that he may make the suggested changes in future homes.

Turns out he did, I loved seeing my ideas come to life. This seemingly simple parade experience set in place the course of my life. I pursued an architecture degree and have been that same little boy figuring out new ways to build ever since. I don’t think I am alone in having the parade mean something beyond showing the public new and innovative ideas.

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