Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

The 35 little random truths I’ve encountered along the way

It’s hard for me to believe but in less than six months, I hit the big “5-0”.  Wow!  So, here are a few of the gems I’ve had to learn the hard way. The 35 little random truths I’ve encountered along life’s highway:


1. In any of my relationships, there have been highs and there have been lows and just one single high in each is greater than all the lows put together.

2. The worst truth is better than the very best lie.

3. In my Jaycee career, our local chapter in Rock Hill was recognized at the National Convention as the #1 Jaycee Chapter in the Number #1 Jaycee State (South Carolina) in America for two consecutive years in a row. That didn’t suck.

4. You cannot be successful standing on the sidelines watching the game of life played without you.

5. I’m not afraid of dying. I would be more afraid of never having fully lived. I have.

6. The most spectacular sight in the world is to see the sun rise on the horizon at South Beach (Miami). If you are a late riser, you can still see a spectacular sight at 2 pm out by the pool.

7. I was sixteen years old before I found out that Robert E. Lee was not the third member of the Holy Trinity.

8. The greatest reward for a person’s toil is not what they gain but what they become by doing it.

9. There was a couple of girls in high school whose kisses could make the world stop spinning. Congratulations to the men that married them.

10. Why is it easy to say “I do” and so damned difficult to say “I’m sorry”?

11. Dogs love you unconditionally. Cats are another story.

12. We could have saved a great deal of national anguish if Lee and Grant would have just stepped out the back of the tent and settled things. Give Ulysses a fifth or two and then just beat the crap out of him.

13. Dixie isn’t a black or white thing. It’s a state of mind. And if you don’t get it, you’re not from Dixie.

14. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. But try explaining that to the dead guy’s family.

15. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. However, you can sure as hell make him wish he had.

16 Love what you do, do what you love, and deliver more than you promise – and my apologies to Gene Martin for stealing that line I’ve used for 20 years.

17 Anybody who does not think I’m patient did not sit with me in the stands at Williams Bryce for two years when the Cocks went 1 and 21 over two seasons.

18 We weren’t born racists.

19 The innocence of a child is God’s gift to humanity.

20 Speaking of God, I’m convinced he made me a Gamecock fan to keep me humble.

Go cocks!

Go cocks!

21 If there is a hell, and I believe there is, I would share it with 82,000 obnoxious fans dressed in purple and orange watching their team play for a national championship over and over for eternity. And did I mention that damn song? Go cocks!

22. Democrats believe government can solve any problem. Republicans believe people solve problems.

23. Those northern folks who always made fun of my accent are going to be real shocked when they get to heaven, and “She say’s ya’ll come on in.”

24. I’ve been a winner and I have been a loser. Trust me. Winning is a whole lot better. Coming in second sucks.

25. Some of us reach maturity faster than others. Some have maturity forced on them. And then there’s the rest of us that have to be whomped on top of the head.

26. If you are around long enough, bad things will happen to you. How you respond to those bad things reveal your character.

27. And when those bad things happen, remember – God never allows anything to happen that he (or she) does not expect you to be able to handle.

28. Life is a brief candle. Burn as brightly as possible and be thoroughly used up when you die.

29. Live life such that your friends and family say when you pass, “The Good Lord gave him the talents and abilities to change the face of the world – and he did.”

30. There was a elderly lady named Mrs. Trumbell who used to teach bible classes in second and third grade at Finley Road Elementary School in Rock Hill before the courts said we couldn’t have prayer in schools. She gave us all little red Bibles and recounted all the Old Testament stories that kept us in awe and made our imaginations race. God bless you Mrs.Trumbell.

31. Between Jeannie or Samantha – I’ll take Jeannie. That is if I can’t have both. And oh yeah, Mary Anne.

32. I cried when Dale won the Daytona 500. I wept again when he died there. And I still get tears in my eyes when I think about Junior going to the front six months later. Try and convince me God isn’t a NASCAR fan.

33. I’d love to have five minutes with Osama Bin Laden. I think God would forgive me.

34. I have always loved my mama, respected my daddy, and I sure miss my grandmamma Russell’s biscuits.

35. and I still believe the only limitations we have are those we place upon ourselves.

There endeth the lesson.


April 6, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Risks – Lessons from a Traveler

There’s a story about a traveler who was passing through a small rural town.  As he entered the town he saw a billboard.  On the white portion someone had drawn a target and right through the middle of the target was a shot through the bullseye.  He went down the road a bit and there was a wide magnolia tree with a target on it, and right through the middle of the target, he saw another arrow in the bullseye.  All over town…bullseyes. He thought to himself, “Somewhere in this town is one heck of a marksman and I’m going to find him.” 

By asking questions he finally did find him but it turns out the marksman was the village idiot.  The traveler said, “Sir you have a great gift.   No matter what they say about you…you have developed a unique skill.  Tell me, how did you get to be such a proficient marksman with the bow?”  The man answered, “Nothing to it.  First you shoot and then you draw the target!”

 That certainly takes out all the risk.  We are a nation that is sometimes scared to take the risk. Even though this country was founded upon the principle of taking risks.  We agree our health care, education system, and social security all needs to be reformed.  Yet, each election cycle we hear all the promises and each congress ends their term with little having been done.  On a more personal note, sometimes we’re all afraid of going out on the limb…reaching outside our own comfort zones.  Many of us equate taking risks to failures.  Failure will indeed confront all of us at some time or the other, particularly if we take risks.  I’m not talking about foolish or silly risks with dire consequences, but rather calculated risk – risks that are worth taking.

I remember the first time I ran for president of my local Jaycee Chapter in Rock Hill.  I lost.  Imagine if I had never ran again.  I would not have become state or national president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and perhaps would not be in my vocation today.

1992 Campaign for National Jaycee President

1992 Campaign for National Jaycee President



Did you know Thomas Edison was thrown out of school in the early grades when teachers assumed he couldn’t do the work?  When Bob Dylan performed at a high school talent show, he was booed off the stage by his classmates.  Henry Ford forgot to put a reverse in the first car he manufactured.  A newspaper owner told Walt Disney to pursue another line of work, “You don’t have any creative, original ideas.”  All of these are instances where people took a risk, failed, and tried again.


Are we willing to take a risk for something we believe in?  Many would rather draw the target after they shoot and play it safe.  Personally, I’ll take a swing at it every time.  I say reach for the stars and even if you just clear the tree tops- you’ve left the ground and touched the sky!  It’s worth the risk.

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Leadership Lessons | , , , , | Leave a comment