Sunday, February 25, 2018


You Cannot Pour From An Empty Pitcher Nor Drink From An Empty Well

By: Donovan Baldwin

It's said you cannot pour from an empty pitcher, or dip from an empty well.

The message being that YOU need to fill and nourish yourself first, in order to share caring and loving with others.

That's a good thought.

I like it.

I believe it.

Your first duty is to yourself, but, if not out of selfishness, then out of the knowledge that to be the giver, instead of the taker, you have to have something to give.

A lot of us feel we don't have much to give. Maybe we even just operate on the belief that, since we don't have much of anything, and nothing we can "spare", all we CAN do is take.

Even apparently empty pitchers, and empty wells, often have a little bit left in them, even if just a drop or two.

I know most of us don't want to give the last that we have, but, when it's time, maybe that's all we will have left. If we can keep something in the pitcher to share, we should do so. We should try NOT to let it, our pitcher, our well, get down to just the dregs.

Who wants to share dregs, or have to accept them, for that matter.

Once the pitcher, or well, is empty, that's all we've got.

But, before we get to "empty", maybe we need to fill ourselves back up so that we will have some good wine, tea, life, share...whatever fills us up...and someone who need "it"...whatever it may be.

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Monday, February 05, 2018


Even Leaders Have To Learn

By: Donovan Baldwin

Even leaders have to learn.

In the army, an officer is a leader. A lieutenant is an officer...a very junior one, the first officer rank in the army A "butter bar", a 2nd Lieutenant, who wears a single gold bar to designate his rank, is the lowest of the low, among officers.

Enlisted men, not officers, love to tell stories about green 2LT's.

When I was beginning basic combat training, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in 1967, I was assigned, one night, to buff an office floor.

There was a brand new 2LT still in the office, supervising us. I had never used a buffer before, and, despite his attempts to show me how to use it, I never quite got the hang of it.

By the time, after several attempts to demonstrate the technique of buffing a floor, he gave up in frustration, there was only a little bit left to do anyway, and he went ahead and did it....while I watched.

If he stayed in the army, and survived, as this was the Vietnam War era, and 2LT's did not have a good life expectancy, he may have wound up a General.

I hope he learned something that night.

I know I did.

If it has to be done and you won't or can't do it, maybe somebody else will. Husbands do this all the time.

I wonder if he learned that if you cannot teach, or encourage, or lead others to do something that needs to get done, you may end up doing it yourself.

Don't know if either of those lessons is valuable, but they are facts, and one of use learned something that night.

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Thursday, February 01, 2018


Hey Sarge! I Just Waxed That!

By: Donovan Baldwin

When I was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in 1966, for U. S. Army, Basic Combat Training, I was housed, with approximately 39 other men in old, two-story, wooden barracks.

The upstairs, and downstairs, was an open area, known as a squad bay, with rows of double-decker bunks down either side. The center floor, between the rows of bunks, was, I guess, 20 feet wide, maybe more, maybe less.

The important thing for this story is that it was waxed and buffed to a high gloss every day, and no "trainee" was allowed to walk on it.

Shortly after that was brought to our attention, Drill Sergeants walked in, in combat boots, down the middle of that glossy floor.

We waxed and buffed it.

They walked on it.

If we walked on it, we got in trouble...not just from them, but, from our fellow, as Master Sergeant Alosio would remind us...not yet soldiers.

That simple, shared task, and seeming abuse, was one of the beginnings of teamwork...of brotherhood.

Years later, as a Sergeant, many years and lots of experience away from the young basic trainee, I, myself, was on the training staff at an army academy.

I walked into the barracks, down the middle of the squad bay, with students watching me, knowing that they were sighing, but, not really angry. They knew the drill.

I knew too, that after I left they would get out the wax and the buffer, and work together to fix what i had just messed up with my combat boots.

I smiled inside. That part of my job was done.

They knew what to do.

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