November 16, 2008
Listen to Life:  Real Heroes
Author Robert Fulghum, of "All I Really Need To Know, I Learned in Kindergarten" fame, wrote in a book whose title I've forgotten, about the notion of being a hero.  He said that when he thought of his lineage, his heroes weren't the ones with great financial success or other accolades.  He thought of his kin many generations ago who lived in dirt floor hovels in England, with sod for roofs and an entire family in a one-room house.  They were heroes, as I recall his story, because each day they woke up and worked hard to, ultimately, make their corner of the world better for their own, and their children's survival.  The bait shop manager that my son and I met in Galveston today might be a hero.
He wasn't terribly friendly, but why should he be much more than simply of service to his customers.  A sign at the door said "cash only, no phone."  Still, no phone. His bait options were limited and when the man in front of us bought the last of the shrimp, the shopkeeper said, "Be right back.  Gotta take care of the flag."  He had to lower the flag outside that indicated he had live shrimp:  Truth in advertising, dontcha know.
As he filled our bucket with water to put our purchased mullet in, I asked how long it had taken him to get back to business.  "Two months."  "You're just now getting back, huh?"  "Yep," he said, affirming with a nod. 
I don't want to read too much into the situation, but I figure that I'm not too far off on this:  He probably doesn't have many of the benefits that have come to those at other employers in the areas hit hard by Hurricane Ike.  No severance packages, no benefits, and no media clamoring to tell of his travails.  But, he is there on a Sunday morning, and likely every morning, selling what he can to be back in business.  He does it to eat, because heroes don't fold up or wait for the rescue, and because each day a hero breathes, he or she realizes it is another chance to make things better.  There are many people affected by Ike and their difficulties are life changing. Of the many whose stories I have heard, it will be the bait shop owner's that I haven't that will stick with me.  Whether it was courage or need or both, he's a survivor.  And to survive life with grace is heroic.

A free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2008 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved.

Presentations and Exhibitions

Recent Citings of Dion 
"Sweet Sendoffs" about "sending your kids to college with hugs" in August 2008 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

"Companies Embrace Praise"
Christian Science Monitor 
Topic: Helping New Employees Succeed

"Employers Help Ease 'Buyer's Remorse' in Hiring New Employees"
Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper

"25 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search"
MSN/ CareerBuilder and CNN

Topic: Pixels and Photography
South China Morning Post newspaper

"5 No Brainer Morale Boosters"

"Watch a gorgeous, relaxing sunset"
Woman's World, June 16

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