Tom Power started thinking about being a judge when he spent a summer as a volunteer court clerk. “I came to appreciate the efforts made to help people resolve their disputes,” he says. Today, Tom is a judge for the Michigan 13th Circuit Court—a job he’s held for 21 years.
While I was in a doctor’s waiting room the other day, a tall man walked in—a handsome man with gray hair and a carefully-tended comb-over. My first thought was to feel sorry for him, not that he was bald but that he needed to hide his baldness.
But my next thought was that we all have comb overs—every single one of us. We are all hiding some kind of defect—visible or invisible, real or imagined—that we work very hard every day to disguise.
“It’s about telling stories,” Gregg Smith says, describing his work as a partner in a communications and marketing firm. “We raise public awareness of an organization—which is challenging because there are so many forms of media.”
Media is something Gregg knows well because he grew up in a newspaper family in Boyne City—and managed the business for years. Even now, he is passionate about newspapers.
“They are the community watchdog,” he says, “keeping a finger on the pulse of everything that should be of public interest. Today people have so many sources of information, yet they are less informed.”
Informing and engaging people is still Gregg’s passion and now he and his wife, Dee, run the Lawton Gallagher Group. “Our goal is to build visibility for the client,” he says, “through communications initiatives, multi-media, advertising, social media, websites—all of it.”
“We select clients who have a cause that resonates with us,” he says. “Success is measured by statistics and also by feedback from the community.”
“We do things quietly,” he adds, “and try to over-deliver. My dad said you need to be as accessible to the town vagrant as to the mayor. If you call me, I’ll answer the phone.”
There’s an old coffee mug on my desk full of pencils. Long pencils with full erasers, waiting to be selected. Short pencils with used-up erasers, waiting to be retired. But the pencils that interest me most are the variants. The long pencils with worn-out erasers. The short pencils with un-used erasers. They remind me of people I know.
People who, like long pencils with worn-out erasers, don’t say much and, even so, are constantly correcting themselves. Second-guessing and apologizing. I want to reassure them that their contribution is valuable, that no disclaimers are necessary.
Maybe they grew up with a critical parent or teacher who made them reluctant to speak their minds. I had a father like that. Maybe that’s why I’m fascinated by the short pencils with un-used erasers—people who never hesitate to speak up, no matter what the topic. Who never seem to doubt the rightness of their opinions, even when a review might have been beneficial. Sometimes I envy people with this much confidence—to go through life without erasing anything!
I reach for a pencil and select a long one with a full eraser. Starting over, again.
I’ve had a Christmas Cactus in my east window for a long while which blossoms about once a year—never on Christmas. It started out as one of those little grocery store plants that are always for sale at the holidays.