14 June, 2011

Bozos and Clowns

David picked up the phone and called his Dad. It had been the kind of day that he wanted to forget, quickly. Nothing he seemed to do, say or even think, had turned out right. Things turned out far worse than he ever imagined, a veritable Greek tragedy, with his signature, his seal of approval on it.

"What the hell happened to me today?"
he wondered out loud.

David had worked hard, did everything he was asked to do and then some. Underscore "some", definitely a lot more of "some". Still, that did not protect him in the end, as he unfolded the letter of termination that he had shoved earlier into his pants pocket. What bothered David the most, was the reason given for the termination, non-performance.

NON-PERFORMANCE???

"Are they kidding me?" He thought of the many invitations he had declined because he had some kind of report due on Monday. He was unpopular with friends and family, who had been conditioned over time, that David, would forever be a “no-show” for their important somethings. How many nights had he worked until midnight or later? Social life? What was that? The truth was that his "non-performance" had made millions of dollars for his company, over the last five years of his life and he, had nothing. He remembered what his father had once told him about the cold, hard business world, "…don't tell me the stories of what you did for me yesterday; tell me what you are going to do for me TODAY."

What had he been doing in his string of todays?

Had he fooled himself into believing that he was working on his next big deal, when he really had been working on all the roadblocks that kept him from defining the bigger deal of his life or the quality of it? Was he even working on anything that would help him live a life that was worthy of a big deal? And now, did the next big deal matter anyway?

"Get a grip David!" 
he shouted out loud.

Worried, that he was losing his self-confidence, David knew what he needed to do next.
.
He needed his Dad.

David needed to hear the sound of his voice and he needed the encouragement that his Dad would generously offer. He needed his  Dad’s wisdom but most of all, he needed his Dad's understanding and unconditional love. These things would help him find his way back to his old self.  "C'mon son, you are being too hard on yourself. Lighten up. Even on your worst day, you are twice as good as those bozos you work with." he would tell David.

He needed that.

He needed to know that although his world seemed to have been pulled inside out and upside down, the real world, the one that mattered to him the most, was basically the same as he had known it. He needed the stability and the security that this real world, his Dad's world, offered, before the new world David had tried to live in, took over his life and stole it. As the phone rang and he waited for his father to answer the line, he imagined the kitchen, an ivory colored house phone hanging on the wall and the faded blue gingham curtains that his Mom had sewn years ago, rippling in the light breeze of a warm June day. He imagined standing in front of this window, the strong smell of vanilla, carried on the breeze and washing his body with it’s sweet fragrance. His Mom loved scented candles and he could almost see the flame flickering in the glass container. Home was still that real to him. He longed for home, so far away from the place where he stood now. Beyond the curtains was the farm, with the back pasture coming up pretty close to the house, bright green, luxuriant and so soft-looking. He loved taking his shoes and socks off and walking in the grass, always amazed by how cool the grass felt against the soles of his feet. From far away in his mind, he heard the sound of a familiar horse nickering. Isabella. Gosh, beautiful Isabella. The white mare galloped in his mind, tossing her head regally as she circled around him. Isabella was the foundation mare of his Dad's breeding program. She was the Queen of Brazos Valley Arabians. Nothing made his Dad happier than seeing beautiful Isabella grazing in the field behind the house. David had agreed with his Dad. She was extremely beautiful, like the horses that were depicted in the paintings that hung on the wall of the museum he had visited in New York. Many other people had also agreed with his Dad, as Isabella had been shown extensively, including the Egyptian Event, the premier show of the year for Egyptian Arabian horses, where she earned the title of World Champion Senior Mare. Things were never really the same for his family or for Brazos Valley Arabian horses. Things were better, far better. Dad's breeding program had become well-known and his horses were in demand all over the world. Many people came to visit his Dad after the Egyptian Event, including some from far away places, who offered a great sum of money for Dad's Isabella but his Dad would have no part of it. Isabella was his best mare and the cornerstone of his breeding program. Isabella had helped  Dad to give flesh to that imaginary horse in his head. David was still a little kid, maybe seven years old, when Dad purchased Isabella from her breeder. Some people said that his Dad had worn the woman down, finally consenting to sell Isabella, in order to be rid of David's father and his never-ending phone calls. He wasn't surprised. At that point in his life, David's Dad was a high powered Tax Attorney, feared by many who foolishly got on his warpath. His Dad always got what he wanted, when he set his mind to do something. David would be forever grateful to this woman, as Isabella became the miracle in his Dad's life. David learned to understand that horses are very special animals, as he had witnessed very personally what Isabella meant for his Dad. She had produced eight foals and six of those foals had paid for his brother and him to go to college and for David, his MBA. Now, in his Dad's retirement, the horses allowed for his parents to live comfortably, without worry. In this day and age, that was unusual. But aside from the financial rewards, his Dad enjoyed a deep satisfaction that filled every part of his life, giving him good health both physically and emotionally. The horses had made his Dad a better person, a better husband and definitely, a better Father. He was the most understanding person David had ever met, even when pushed to the very edge. "Yup, I had done more than my fair share of pushing." David laughed, as he remembered some of the more forgettable escapades of his life. His Dad had wanted him to take more of an active interest in the farm, in the hopes of one day taking over. And David really wanted that. Especially on a day like today, when he had completely run out of all the excuses he had offered not to. He needed an out now. There was stability in that feeling that he realized he was unconsciously drawing from, a feeling that gave him more security in fragile moments like this one.

"Hello, David?" were the words that suddenly reeled him in, as his Dad, out-of-breath, answered his phone call. "I was down at the barn, finishing up with the lunch haying, when I heard the phone ringing. Is everything okay son, you're calling a bit earlier than you usually do." I hesitated and then said, "no Dad, everything is not okay" and paused for a second, "I lost my job today and I really don't understand why." The sound of his Dad's long sigh almost made David come unglued with emotion, as he realized the severity of the situation and the disappointment he may be creating for his father. "That's a tough one son, really tough" he said. "But you know the truth, right Davey?" he asked. "What's that Dad?" David asked back, afraid of the answer that may come. "You know, and I know, that on your worst day, you are a hundred times better than the clowns you work with. C'mon home son, I need you.You've got a farm to run and a horse named Isabella who misses you." And David smiled, when he couldn't even find a reason to. "That's my Dad and that's why I love him, Egyptian Arabian horses and all" he said.

Happy Fathers Day,
Ralph

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Ralph, George Hooper was delighted when I sent him the link to your articles about his horses. Please email me regardng our breeding activity with his special horses! I have tried all evening but this site was down. I asked Eduoard Dah Dah to get ahold of you and give you my email. I do not want to post my email here. You will be delighted with the plans! Your articles are fabulous by the way! Wendy