This morning I had the occasion to have to call AT&T to help with a situation with our phones.  The average person would respond to this fact with an immediate ‘OH NO!” as AT&T has a bad rap for customer service.  It is not uncommon for calls for help to last hours.  I did not experience this today.  During the call I found out that we had not received our latest bill.  When I went to an old bill to find the address for mailing in my payment I found none so had to call back.  Second time I called I received the same great service and kind people.  Thank you R J Perez and Melody Darnell and AT&T!  I wrote a note to AT&T as well.

When companies are demonized it is hard to change that picture and I am here today to help do just that.  I was a Sprint user for years and one Sunday, the day of rest,  many years ago we got a phone call from Sprint asking us to pay our $50 phone bill which was not yet even due.  Of course you know we left Sprint when we paid the bill.  We went to Charter at that point for our phones and our cell phone was AT&T.  We have had occasions to speak with AT&T often during moves and found great service and good help.  During one move the lady even helped me locate facilities in the new town!

This morning when I complimented Melody on the great service I had received and shared that I was sad their reputation was different she reminded me of something I had heard before.  She said wouldn’t it be a better world if this was the same all over to which I replied that this would be a pay it forward attitude.

Years ago my dear friend Anna took me shopping after my mother died.  I think I was in eighth grade.  We were shopping for a white gown I needed for an installation ceremony.  It was to be fancy and what a fun thing this was for me.  I remember the trip not how much it cost or who paid for it! 

When you go to the city, Bangor, from my hometown an hour away you do everything you need to do in one trip.  We got the gown and the salesladies were so nice to us.  They chatted with both Anna and I as they brought dresses for me to try.  After the purchase we went to the record store.  I know they are no longer around.  This store sold TVs, radios, record players and accessories.  Anna needed a needle for her stereo.  As the salesperson was looking for it, again very nice and very kind, I mentioned that everyone seemed to be in a really good mood today as they were all so pleasant.  Anna replied.

I can tell you exactly where we were, though it of course is not necessary, it is just that this moment has never left my mind.  We were leaning against the glass case counter in Viner’s, I think that was the name of the store.  She looked at me and said, “You get what you give out.”  She went on to say that she had found in her life that if you are nice to others they will respond to you in kind.  She said that salespeople, like my dad who worked in her husband’s store Manset Marine Supply Co., sometimes had their own problems.  I knew Dad sure did right now.  She continued that if we approach with kindness and a smile they will do the same.  We got the needle and left leaving a smile on the salespersons face.

I keep that advice, or try to, in my mind when dealing with others.  It allowed me, I believe, to go to Paris and not experience any Parisian ire.  Most people complain about how bad it is over there for Americans.  I did not have any bad experiences.  Most shopkeepers were patient and kind.  Love that city and would love to return.

It certainly is all about the attitude.  First thing this morning on my first business call I was rewarded with people who share the same idea.  Make the world a better place by your own actions.  Today we all paid it forward for each other.  To that I say THANK YOU AT&T!!!





I am being very predictable with this post about fathers and more specifically mine on Father’s Day.  I am trying to think of a different way to approach this.  On Facebook this weekend there have been a couple of cards going around to honor fathers who have passed away.  I and my siblings are blessed to have my Daddy still here with us.  He will be 91 in August and still going strong.   I am convinced that Daddy will not leave us.  He is just going to join the council of Gods ala Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief.  He for me is too big to go anywhere.  What could I say if he did? 

We all have to face our own mortality.  Having lost a couple of mothers and some dear friends has given me a different take on this transition of life.  I have my funeral all planned and my obituary already written – well most of it.  Most Obits usually only have the statistics and mine is very different.  Statistics are not who I am or was.  I remember one time reading an obituary of a lady by the name of Rebecca Foote.  It was so wonderful that when I was done I wished I had known her.  I want people to have that from my own obituary.  If I had to ever write one what would I want said about Daddy so that people would wish they had known him?  Ahah – that is a different slant. Sometimes we appreciate what we have more when we even ponder not having it.   Let me think…

I would want people to know of his parents.  His dad, my Grumpa, was larger than life to me even though he was not that tall.  He was a lobsterman and had the biggest strongest hands.  Those hands gave me many a quarter!!!  Daddy’s mother passed early so I did not know her.  I would want to tell of my mother with whom he had two daughters and helped her raise her sister before she, my mother, died.  I would tell of my step-mother who brought with her a 5 yr daughter that Dad adopted. Together they had a son before she, my 2nd mother, died.    Imagine it!  This wonderful man survived losing two wives and in the end was left raising 4 kids on his own sometimes.  He then met one more beautiful wonderful woman with whom he shares his life.  She brought with her a grown daughter.  Including my aunt that lived with us off and on, Daddy had 6 kids – sort of.

Then I would go on to write of all his schooling and service to our country in WW2.  I would speak of his job as a butcher at a local market before he sold marine supplies for 46 years behind a counter and then a wheel.  That rarely happens anymore.   I could mention the honrs he has received such as being a Knight of the Road for driving over a million miles safely. I would speak of the town and church committees and organizations that he belonged to throughout his life. 

Then I would say that in the statistics you miss the essence of the man.  I would want all who read this to know that Dad greeted all with a smile or a wave or a handshake.  When asked how he was he would usually say “Finest kind” or “I am great”.  When his children asked why he waved at everyone, he would say, “They could be a customer of mine.”   

I would write that he enjoyed family and community.  He was available to help when he could whether it was building a camp, helping an ailing friend or being a camp counselor.  He was instrumental in organizing the 25th reunion of his HS class as well as the yearly reunions of his 132nd Gun Battalion.  He helped start the HS Alumni program.  An avid school basketball fan he attended every game he could  and once retired rarely missed a game of the local team – even when he had no children or grandchildren on the team.

I would add that he loved activity and often took bunches of kids swimming up to the lake or skated with us all or sledding at the club where he golfed.  He loved to golf and was a member. He played golf until he was 90 winning a few championships here and there.

I would continue that to many he is known as “Honest Les from Southwest”.  Like his father before him, ‘Fred from Bass Harbor Head’, he loved to play with words.  The rest of his limerick goes, “All the boys they lie like hell but Honest Les the truth will tell.”

I would then list us.  I would follow up, like the last paragraph, and say something like ‘To his children…’ – and name every single one of us including my aunt who he helped raise – and our significant others.  I’d end this part with ‘…he is known as Dad or Daddy or simply Les’.

I would in the same vein go on with his grandchildren and name them all along with their spouses and say ‘…he is known as Grandfather, Favs and Grampie’.  I am sure many readers will wonder why he was not confused by all these names.

I would do the same and name all the great-grandchildren.  Then one could fall back on the norm with the sisters who went before him and his sister that survives him as well as nieces and nephews. 

By the time anyone was done reading this I am sure they would be sad they had not met my father.  It tells more of who he is and how he lived and loved.  I am glad this is not an issue.

For all of you who have had to write this kind of thing I offer a blessing for your father and a huge hug for you.  For we who do not have to even think about it I say – call or hug you Father today.  It is a day for celebration for us all.

For me I am not sure even all of that would convey the love I have for this man or that he has for us.  Daddy taught me it is okay for men to cry.  It is okay not to know what to do.  He shows me faith by living his.  His love for me unconditionally helps me to understand God’s love for us all.  He taught me that it is better to not follow the crowd.  AND he is still teaching me to live well with courage and strength and humility and love. I love you Daddy!!! Talk to you later and see you soon…

Happy Father’s Day Leslie William Thurston!!!