I came into possession of Sonja's Tea through a friend. To that point, I was not a tea aficionado. I'd have coffee, but not tea. I don't know what it was about tea that that made it one of my least preferred beverages. I drank it occasionally, but as a rule; I usually passed on a cup of hot tea. I did this knowing that some teas are actually pretty good for my health. I was reminded of this many years ago, in Dallas, while getting my car inspected. I was at a small privately owned inspection center and there were beverages in the waiting area. I went over to fix a cup of coffee, but instead, found only green tea. When I went over to the attendant, an elderly woman, and complained to her about the situation, she said, "We only offer green tea because we care about our customers' health." I laughed, but ignored her advice. That is, until Sonja's Tea arrived in my mail.
It's nestled along the banks of the Tuscarawas River. Today, it's a slow town, having seen its heyday. Back in mid-20th century, it produced some of the finest steel in the world. Its high school football team, through the early seventies, had won the state of Ohio's High School Football Championship twenty-one times. It was the home of a decent list of famous and notable historic figures, like Paul Brown and the Gish sisters. And when I think of this place, I smile and reminisce with fond memories because I grew up in this wonderful burg. I'm from Dodge.
The world is so much smaller than it used to be. And as it has gotten smaller, our expectations have gotten so much larger. We want everything now. It reflects in the way that we do business and it the way we live our lives. We send texts and emails that are delivered instantly. We Skype, Facetime and post our life stories on social media sites like Facebook. We Tweet, Pin, and Instagram. And we have sites, like Youtube, that remind us of our moments of stupidity. And we unabashedly share our photos to people all over the world, sometimes, without thought. Our world has changed so much.
That old damned house was built in 1967, by one man's vision and bartering. If he didn't know how to do it, he bartered. He understood masonry, carpentry, plumbing, and roofing, but he wasn't an expert. He was though, an expert electrician. So he bartered. And that bartering built this house for him and his wife, Theresa. I was just ten when I met him. I helped old man Prince put in the furnace. I didn't know what I was doing, I just did what I was told. I guess he thought I was a hard worker because after we installed his furnace, he hired me as his official lawn boy. And during the summer months of 1967, I watched him finish that old damned house.
My job keeps me on the road. I enjoy what I do - selling - and can't think of anything I would like to do more, except maybe writing. But that's pretty much a "pie in the sky" notion, so I stick to selling full-time. I also like to travel - when it's relaxing. But with what I do, travel is seldom relaxing.
Hotel food. I mostly hate it. Some of it is good, but for the most part it is over-priced and not very good. This week, I had my fill. That is until I sat down to dinner yesterday. I grabbed the menu, ready to order, then noticed something was missing. "Hey," I asked the waitress, "where are my empanadas?"
When I am on "empty" both spiritually and mentally, I have certain places I can go. I don't get to these places often, because they are scattered throughout North America and most are far away from my home. But every now and then, through either business or leisure travel, I find myself in one of my favorite places. And when I get the opportunity to get to one of my favorite "refueling" stations, I find that just a few minutes there are enough to relax my mind, refuel my inspiration and ignite my passion for months to come.
Many of you are familiar with that old Johnny Cash Song, "I've Been Everywhere". Well for me, it seems that over the past few years I have been living that song. And man, am I tired!
I get the opportunity to travel a lot. I spend more than my fair share of nights in hotel rooms. I've grown accustomed to staying at the major hotels' "budget brands". While there are a few that I avoid like the plague, some are actually pretty nice. But with any hotel, no matter how nice it can be, they all have their annoyances. And when you stay in them for more that the standard "vacation duration" (more than 7 days!), those irritants begin to compound. So, here is a list of those things that irritate me about hotel rooms. You probably have some of your own. These are mine.
The other day I was in Newark, on my way to Chicago to catch a connecting flight home. I was flying Southwest and my group had lined up. Someone in the line struck up a conversation about TSA of which there are always an opinion or two, good or bad. The TSA agents were going to conduct an impromptu screening of passengers as they boarded the flight. I have been through this many times before and I even question their effectiveness. But it's supposed to be a good thing, so I tend to take brief inconveniences like this in stride and then go along about my business. So when the announcement was made, a few us of sighed, groaned and complained softly under our breaths but accepted it as the cost of traveling in today's crazy world. But one passenger, standing behind me, loudly proclaimed, "A waste of time!" I turned around and found that the complaint came from James "Jimmie" Walker.