Today I am reflecting on all the good fortune I have known in my lifetime. Well, maybe not all of it as this would become volumes, but at least a synopsis of who and what circumstances have inspired me to jump out of bed each morning.
First, I need to thank my Mom who not only mountain climbed and skied while I was in the womb, but also gave birth to me under abnormal circumstances and miraculously kept me alive. Thanks Mom! And thanks for all the real mountain climbing and skiing in later years. Learning to jump off a steep mountain ledge and accelerate to 70+ mph on skis builds confidence and a survival-skill mindset. And you taught me to read using road maps, menus and truck stop "history" books while having me add up mileage between potential routes across the country. This kind of learning cannot be duplicated in any school setting. And hiding at weigh stations is a priceless experience. Of course showing me love and compassion every single day was my greatest gift from you. I love you Mom!
My Dad is most likely the reason I think outside of the box. At a very early age, he disciplined me in a somewhat military fashion that I later learned came straight out of the Navy and martial arts. I am very thankful for his extreme patience instilling values into my daily life. He taught me to do a task right every time even when there is a short cut that would never be discovered. Integrity, a word that most cannot define, was his greatest expectation of me. I learned to stand behind my word at a very early age. And to treat people with dignity, respect and kindness while in disagreement is a skill we all must learn. This required making a fool of myself numerous times, then facing those whom I had crossed with a sincere apology. A humble sincere apology followed by a hand shake is sometimes necessary to move on with almost all kinds of motivated relationships. After discipline and dealing with people, my Dad gave me the freedom of imagination. Which really is another way of saying he encouraged me to think for myself and discover the world for myself. This is where my Dad is different from most people today, you could say he's a mix of progressive and old-fashioned. He was very strict in discipline and very encouraging of creativity. Except his idea of creativity wasn't color crayons or a kid's rendition of the latest musical. He would describe in detail a new idea, an invention, that would shape the world with amazing yet simple logic and design. Then he would take me out to the garage and we would build a prototype. Then he would encourage improvements and soon I had an inventor's notebook full of ideas. Soon these ideas would become my products or services in my childhood businesses and my Mom would teach me to keep inventory, accounting and advertising. You couldn't ask for better parents or a more diverse, educational childhood. Thanks Dad!
I'm also thankful for my sister, who tested my patience more than anything, but that's probably true of all close siblings. Jenn was my best friend growing up. We lived in a semi-truck traveling cross country when we weren't visiting relatives or sometimes going to school. I saw the world through her eyes, which was surprisingly different most of the time, though we were side by side most of the time. Perspective is one of the most important and valuable tools we possess, yet so many of us forget that there's more to life than "me". Jenn taught me that we each have our own needs, values, traits, likes and dislikes and no matter how logical or explainable, no two people are the same. Thus, each person much be treated as an individual and given your full attention in daily life, good times and bad times. After all, "me" in the context of no perspective for others has very little value to anyone. My original society of people and government was in essence, my sister and I in context with my parents in a moving home the size of your bathroom. People object to my philosophical Objectivist views, yet a democracy was never fair even between two people. Thanks Jenn ;)
And to my best friend, Jen, who patiently watched me struggle with being myself over conforming to society's expectations. Thank you for your encouragement, criticism, laughter and pure dedication in light of the uniquely capitalist reality I created, one that came with no guarantees. You trusted me to follow through with my crazy ideas transforming them into much more than a business, but a way of life. Faith in a person is the ultimate form of love, dedication and trust. Your faith in me, when everyone in the entire world thought my ideas were insane, was and is more powerful than any words, laws, monetary or other expectations conceivable by man. The only thing more powerful than the will to survive is an idea backed by faith. Thank you for giving when you could have taken away. I am forever grateful.
I am also very thankful for James, my shop assistant who is incredibly patient with my extreme expectations to achieve perfection within a few hours. And to Paul, who strives to organize my wildly diverse production schedule, while answering complicated and sometimes imaginary customer service needs with a smile even though I often refuse to answer his questions while I'm focused on the current task. That run-on sentence aptly describes why I am thankful for Paul. And to Solomon and Will, who are new to my world, yet just as important. They have already proven that believing in an idea has the potential to change the world.
Maybe our world is just "trumpets" to outsiders, but solving problems with this incredibly complex instrument has importance. The potential exists to liberate many of the world's most driven, dedicated and influential musicians to a higher level of self-expression. Trumpet players are often the strongest and sometimes the smartest in the herd. And by herd, I sincerely mean all those who have had the option to test their minds and bodies against this very unforgiving and hopefully rewarding length of brass. An instrument that can potentially draw tears from strangers of any language, land or system of beliefs and often the tears of . There are very few ways one may test a person's character that compare to mastering the trumpet.
And finally I would like to thank all of my friends, family and supporters many of which are also my colleagues and clients. You have trusted me one way or another and I am grateful for your willingness to try and hear something new and unknown. Your open minds pave the way for innovation, progress, logic and knowledge.
11/24/2011 10:57:10 am
After my vision clears and the tears are washed from my face, I might be able to post an appropriate reply to this. For now, all I can say is that I am so proud of the fine honorable man you are, of the numerous incredible accomplishments which only a very few of us are aware, in spite of the mountains and valleys you forged to overcome the obstacles and nay-sayers who tried and failed to stand in your way. My heart fills to bursting when I think of you. Happy Thanksgiving, I wish you would not have spent it alone.
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Inventor, Musician, Educator and Founder of Harrelson Trumpets, Trumpet Momentum and Harrelson Momentum.