Blog 1856 – 10.23.2020
Today’s story, the classic tale of a scheming little guy with a long name, is but the first in a book full of them by someone I used to get up early to see on Saturday mornings with my brother Robert. Shari Lewis and her beloved hand puppet Lamb Chop was widely known and loved by many of of my peers. I came across this treasure and was thrilled to see a dear and familiar face with so many one minutes stories old a new to share.
Shari says in the preface to the book that she wrote it for busy parents who still wanted to spend quality time before bedtime with their little ones. Having spent two years in Journalism in high schools and countless hours listening to preachers and politicians drone on and on I realize the importance of keeping our stories short and sweet, to the point, entertaining, and neat.
Years after I graduated high school I came across my high school Principal, Mr. Hobart Millsaps, at a Lions Club meeting. I remember well his opening remarks, he said, “There is nothing worthwhile that cannot be said, and said well, in less than thirty minutes. Speakers owe it to their audiences to keep their remarks brief, well thought out, and as entertaining as possible.” Or at least that is how I remember his words.
During my three years at Chattanooga Central High one of my favorite things was they midday Chapel program. Mr. Millsaps scoured the country lining up people to speak and perform for us during those brief moments and believe you me he held them all to the same standard and without exception they did their duty and left something worthwhile behind. I had the wonderful privilege of hearing about life from so many wonderful and different perspectives, from our Tennessee state Governor to a quartet of ex-prison inmates who had turned their lives around and hoped with their music to help young people to avoid some of the mistakes that they had made. Man, could they sing and I never before or since have seen or heard a more positive and upbeat message. The Governor was cool too and his remarks were brief and entertaining.
Just what Rumpelstiltskin wanted with that child we can only guess in horror but what Mr. Hobart Millsaps wanted for his students was always clear – not to waste the precious time that he had before them but to give them something worthy of their time and his, something that would last them a lifetime. Mr. Millsaps’ work is done here but yours and mine is not. For the sake of our audience and the brief time we have with them it behooves us all to keep our remarks brief, uplifting, enlightening, and as entertaining as possible. That has been the now five years long goal of this blog. I am still trying to hit that mark daily. You be the judge of how well I accomplish that goal on any given day.
Thank you, Mr. Millsaps and thank each of you for spending a few minutes of your day with me.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Time In A Bottle