As I look back over the years, remember that I have provided a lot of free meals to all sorts of people without ever really thinking about it. Maybe it is because there was once a point in my life when I would go a couple of days without much to eat or maybe it is because as a teenager there were many times that I would let my date order her meal first so I could calculate how much money I had left and determine if or what I would order. For most of my adult life, when I eat with someone, my personal policy is to always buy the meal. It is “My treat.” I have explained my policy countless times: “I always buy the meal so get whatever you want. If I ruin your meal, at least I paid for it.” Unfortunately, I have ruined a few meals for others over the years and some of my own!
It seems that hearts, or valentines, have always been special to me. I was born “Deep in the Heart of Texas” in San Antonio. My mentors, Herb and Colleen, always had hearts displayed somewhere as they operated Southwest Airlines. More importantly, the environment they fostered at Southwest Airlines was always “straight from the heart.” My mother and father’s favorite song was “Cuando Caliente Del Sol” or “Love Me with All of Your Heart.” The wedding ring I gave my wife was a heart shaped single diamond. Mariachis sang “Cuando Caliente Del Sol” at our wedding and this song has become our song. My valentine for over thirty years has always allowed me to follow my heart (or tolerated it).
Most of the time I begin and end my day with prayers for people and situations. The day after the recent Presidential election I said this prayer that I got from my deceased mother’s prayer book entitled, “Our Country.” I have said this prayer many times in the past but the words never resonated stronger or deeper within my heart than they did the day after the election. The prayer says nothing about Republicans, Democrats, Independents, the Tea Party, Conservatives or Liberals. I cherish this prayer and want to share it with you.
I grew up watching black and white television shows. The shows I loved would probably not be regarded as politically correct today but “it is what it is.” I watched “The Little Rascals,” “The Life of Riley,” “The Real McCoys,” “Dragnet,” “The Honeymooners” and “I Love Lucy” (Ricky Ricardo’s English was better than my own mother’s English). How can I forget “The Lone Ranger”,” Bonanza,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “The Rifleman” and “Roy Rogers” plus Audie Murphy but my all-time favorite was the “Amos and Andy Show.”
I often ask people, “Who is the happiest person you know?”
The reason I ask this question is because it appears to me that more and more people are not happy despite continually seeking happiness. I cannot help but wonder if it has always been this way, or if our modern society of instant gratification has helped create this environment and my perception.
More than once in my life I have had a young person say, “I wish that you were my dad.” I always respond the same way, “If you knew what I expect of my kids, you probably wouldn’t feel that way.” I think of it as when the coach’s son or daughter is in a starting position, especially in a high profile position. The kid better work twice as hard as anyone else and better perform or you are just inviting the naysayers. The promotion of my son to President of the KING AEROSPACE Companies is something that was earned. I tried to raise my son and daughter to take care of themselves with values and hard work. They were given opportunities but it was up to them to sink or swim.
I will never forget several years ago when I drove past the lagoon shown in the picture above. In disbelief, I saw two trespassers fishing in what was essentially a waste treatment plant! I am confident that if they caught a fish, it didn’t take them long to figure out that it smelled terrible for a reason.
Most Americans have good memories of things they have done on July 4th. I hosted an old fashioned July 4th celebration at my ranch for a number of years; activities included barbeque, horseback riding, hay rides, fishing and even a greased hog catching contest.
The flight data recorder, often referred to as the “black box,” can generally be defined as a sealed recording instrument installed in every aircraft that makes a continuous record of flight altitude, airspeed, heading, accelerations, voices and noises heard in the cockpit. These units are installed in fireproof housings and are mounted in the tails of aircraft and retrieved upon a crash to study the data recorded. READ MORE
A couple of weeks ago, I was with my family at an upscale restaurant in Dallas for lunch. When the twenty-something year old waitress approached our table to take our drink order, she did a very, very quick double take at my wife, Barbara, and said very pointedly: “You are a nurse at Children’s Hospital.” Barbara and I were both shocked. She told the young lady, “Well, yes, I was once a nurse at Children’s but it was many years ago.” The young lady then said “No, you were one of my nurses and you worked on the fifth floor and I remember you.” Again, Barbara and I were very shocked because Barbara had worked on the fifth floor. The young lady then went on to share with us that she is 28 years old and that she spent four months in a coma at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and that she was in and out of the hospital several times between the ages of six and sixteen and that she had no doubt that Barbara was one of her nurses. At this point, we did the math and learned that it was quite possible that Barbara could have been one of her care providers and had apparently touched this young lady’s life.
I always feel a sense of a new beginning at the end of winter and the Lenten season and after the Easter celebration. The Texas countryside almost is always green around Easter and Texas bluebonnets and other wild flowers are in full bloom. All over the Texas countryside whitetail fawns can be found along with other animals that have begun their new life journey. The miracle of life is beyond my comprehension and gives me a feeling of awe. I have many fond spring memories of sitting on my John Deere tractor at my ranch planting crops and then anxiously waiting to see the first signs of them sprouting, often in amazement. As I reflect back over the years, I cannot forget that spring is the time for the start of football and youth baseball practice, as the past seasons become less memorable and plans for the future become the focus. Also, how can we overlook the fact that we even set our clocks in the spring to “spring forward?”
Recently I was at our KING AEROSPACE Commercial Corporation Ardmore, Oklahoma aircraft maintenance and modification facility for just a few hours. I drove up from our Home Office early in the day and wanted to get back on the road to Dallas by noon. I wanted to visit some friends, who are young parents and whose young children had been in and out of the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital. I asked our chef, Larry Core of JAKE’S JOINT, to let the pastry chef, Cathy Cox, know that I needed two dozen cookies to take back to Dallas with me by noon.
It feels a little strange when a parent uses their child’s analogies, or at least it does for me, but I am guilty. For 17 years my son, Jarid, played football and completed his career by playing five years for a Division One college team. He was blessed to have been on a team that experienced five college bowl games during his tenure…
For most of my adult life, I have spent Christmas Eve afternoons sitting alone at my office desk. We normally let everyone leave at noon on December 24th and this year was no different. Upon returning from lunch, I found a stack of letters waiting for me to open. I began reading them, and before I had finished the first letter, I was reaching for tissues to wipe away my tears! The letters were from college students who I do not even know…
It is no surprise that we are celebrating Christmas at KING AEROSPACE. I recently read that there are over 160 countries around the world that celebrate Christmas in some capacity! It’s no secret that the Christmas celebration is all about the birth of Jesus. I often wonder why some are slow or reluctant to freely say, “Merry Christmas.” Are we on the path of becoming so “socially” or “politically correct” that we cannot openly say “Merry Christmas” without worrying if we are offending someone?
It’s no secret that I collect the artwork of Texas artist, W.A. Slaughter. I am almost at that point in my life that I don’t need or want any more of his paintings. From time to time, I get contacted by individuals who have inherited some of his paintings or need to sell one. I always respond to these inquiries because I view it as a stranger contacting me to help them in some way. I was taught that a “good neighbor” always tries to help others when asked…
Yes, it may sound weird but I love doing my own laundry. My wife often gets a little upset with me when I do laundry since she perceives it as “her job.” I have tried to figure out why doing laundry gives me a feeling of calming pleasure, and I think I might have some insight into my weirdness…
This past Friday, September 11th, I was involved in the delivery of a special aircraft. The experience was heartfelt for me and those in attendance. It was to be a day of celebration, as well as a day of remembrance. I thought long and hard about what would be the appropriate way to balance the two, as we took the time to reflect on the past events in the history of our Country. I wanted to do something that would be spiritually meaningful, so I came up with an idea…
At KING AEROSPACE, taking care of the customer goes beyond just making sure we are fulfilling their project-related requests. I like to check in and see what else I can do to take care of them, even if it’s personal in nature—whether it’s hosting a picnic or sponsoring little-league or flying in needed supplies to a deployment site. This past week I had one of the most unique requests that I can ever recall, and one I’ll never forget.READ MORE
If you have ever been involved in a refurbishment project of any size—whether it be a room, an entire house, an antique automobile or even an airplane—there can be painful times and there can be times of great satisfaction. Over the years I have experience both extremes.READ MORE
Over the years, I have curiously looked back over the names and histories of some of the major aviation organizations that today are highly-respected organizations. I am a little surprised (but should not be) to trace the companies’ origins back to individuals who had dreams and demonstrated a relentless commitment to those dreams. The heritage of these individuals and their companies are recorded and not forgotten, but sometimes we are just too busy to reflect back on them. I would like to share with you a few of the stories I find most interesting. I have attempted to provide you with accurate facts but might not have gotten everything perfect. This is my “fine print disclaimer.”READ MORE