The Donut Group:
This message is written to thank the “Donut Group”. They allowed me to join, listen and occasionally say something I thought was funny during the serious debates on who should be elected president or how the world should be run by the politicians. The only formal organization of this group is the members know who they are. I was introduced to the group in 2013 shortly after Margaret and I rented an apartment in preparation for a permanent move from our “Oak Harbor” home to Kirkland. I encountered one of the Donut group “members” while participating in a Volksmarch hike near Kirkland. Since I was new in the area he suggested I stop by for coffee and donuts to meet some established locals. I accepted the invitation and, along with Margaret, have been a sort of regular every since. The “group” meets seven days a week and consists mostly of men, nearing or past retirement age, who have lived in the area for many years. No one calls the roll or chairs the meetings. Before Margaret started attending with me two or three times a week, there were a couple of other women who dropped in from time to time and one regular who is an inspiration to us all.
The group “meetings” are whenever at least two of the twenty to thirty sort of regulars show up for coffee and a donut or two between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. Most mornings the group consists of between three and ten or twelve “members”.
Margaret and I moved to Arizona in August, 2016 and we look forward to attending whenever we are able to get back to Kirkland. If all goes well, that will visit Kirkland quite often during the summer months. As a life long student of people, groups, philosophy and the world, my participation in the Donut Group has been a rewarding endeavor. The groupl is a little like a Rave without the music. It has inspired me to launch the CQ Synergy Project, a writing and public speaking project I have procrastinated for many years. The placement of this thank you message on the page of a web site/blog is the beginning of that project.
I invite all members of the Donut Group and anyone else who reads this to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing and interested in participating in an easy and free adventure. I won’t flood anyone with emails or give your email address to anyone else but I will attempt to use a combination of email a web site and blogging to broaden and strengthen both my relationship with others and their enjoyment of whatever group(s) they belong to.
My Brother, Buzz
There are tight knit families and casual families. Ours is far from tight knit but Buzz, my older brother and I speak to each other two or three times a year. As I reflect on the great life i have had and am having, I realize I owe my brother and I am not sure if I have told him what he did for me was and is appreciated. I recall being less than an ideal little brother and he would have been justified on at least one occasion if he had done me physical harm.
He played an important part when I became a world traveler. He let me work in his machine shop at normal wages after I graduated from Everett Jr. College. I probably was not the most responsible employee. He didn’t even fire me when I ran a newly poured 900 gallon concrete septic tank too far out on the truck boom too fast. The front of the truck went up in the air and the tank crashed into the hole in pieces. The lesson I learned about the importance of being careful with center of gravity probably helped me survive years later flying small airplanes.
Rather than take all of my earnings each week or two, I drew only what I needed and let him owe me the rest. When I left for Europe in January, 1961 he owed me about a thousand dollars and I took two or three hundred dollars cash with me. Most of that went for the Icelandic Airlines ticket I bought to get from New York to Reykjavik Iceland and then to Glasgow Scotland. I am amazed looking back, at how I managed almost a full year of wandering around foreign countries with sometimes only a dollar or two in my pockets. What in the world made me even think it could be done at the time?. The best answer I can come up with is; I didn’t have any reason to believe I couldn’t do it. Naivete is a great ally for adventure seeking.
I now realize my success was largely due to the willingness of Buzz, my brother, to dependably be my source of financial liquidity whenever I sent a letter saying I was close to running out of money. I would send a letter by snail mail, the only option, providing the name of a city I expected to be in about two weeks in the future. Buzz would draw twenty or thirty dollars from what I had coming as earned wages and mail it to me c/o the American Express office in the city I had chosen. When I got to the named city, I would go to the American Express office and replenish my walking money. I cannot recall if he sent cash, a check which the American Express office cashed for me or an American Express money order. The main thing I remember is, it worked, and I never suffered enough from being out of money to create a strong memory. I am sure I planned my expenditures more and more carefully as the amount of cash in my pocket shrunk each few weeks between letters. I did take a few odd jobs during the year of wandering. I worked as a doorman on a jazz club in Brussels, a telephone receptionist in French and a weed pulling laborer near Frejus, France. Two of my most memorable jobs, neither of which paid very well, were as a guide and interpreter for an English girls choir on a bus tour of Belgium, Germany and France and as a movie actor in Luxembourg.
The main thing I do not remember is if I ever thanked Buzz for what he did to contribute to one of the best adventures of my life. It all seemed natural to just do it at the time but looking back I realize I owe a great deal to my parents and to Buzz for providing the home base my naive self confidence was a product of.
Thank you, Buzz.