Sunrise, sunset

For the first time in my life, I watched the sun rise and set on the same day, while flying.

Homeward bound on Wednesday, I saw the sun rise above Finland on a Finnair flight from Oulu to Helsinki.

And I saw the sun set somewhere over western Europe on my Swiss Air flight from Zurich to Boston.

Nothing quite so inspiring.

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The power of one

At a time when any one of us can easily feel discouraged and powerless, distraught that our individual voices and actions make no difference — drowned out by lobbyists, large corporations, well-organized special interest groups, and wealthy individuals who amplify their voices with money — along comes Granny D.

At 89, Granny D Haddock walked 3,200 miles across the country to witness for the public financing of political campaigns. Four years later, she ran to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate. While Judd Gregg, the well-financed incumbent, beat her handily, Granny D’s energy and example harkened to the ideal of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

This year, on January 30, Granny D turned 100. Still very active, she attended a celebration of her centurial milestone in the New Hampshire Executive Council Chambers. She told Kevin Landrigan, reporter for The Nashua Telegraph,

“I have nothing to leave behind for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but I can give them a legacy and a lesson they can carry through their own lives.”

She called this the power of one.

Not long after, on March 9, Granny D died in her home, her family present.

She leaves us the legacy of the everyday hero: doing what one believes to be right, no matter how outnumbered, regardless of age.

May we all be grateful and inspired to follow her example.


(Read the Telegraph tribute to Granny D)

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Standing on the shoulders

90 years ago today, my mother was born. She lived for 86 of those 90 years, a full life with no regrets, fully engaged until the very end. I miss hearing her reflections on the world and sharing my own, yet so very grateful for her influence and the time we had.

Prompted by such memories and the tradition of year-end retrospectives, today I am recalling my mother and a few others whose influence during my early years shaped who I am today.

My mother—For her devotion and steadfast support in countless ways throughout my life.

My father—An enigma, whose example defined the person I did not want to become. In later years, I have come to appreciate his more subtle strengths of creativity, innovation, and humor.

Les Gray—He engaged my intellect and interest in philosophy and politics. His example taught me the importance of integrity and service.

Carl Roliff—He gave a kid an opportunity, fostered my interest in engineering, and started me on the path to a career.

HRP—He gave me the opportunity to glimpse and experience a few of the finer things in life, while schooling me in decorum.

Frank Date—A quiet presence who kept me connected to Scouting, from which I learned about persistence and character and Nature.

Florence Lehners—My english teacher my senior year in high school. She set high standards, and I learned that not taking the easy way has benefits that outweigh the hard work.

Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In that same spirit, I would have to say that my life and journey have been enriched by these women and men who so unselfishly shared themselves.

I hope in some way that my own life will repay these precious gifts by being a positive influence on others.

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