“…it ain’t about how hard ya hit.” ~ Rocky Balboa inspirational speech.

Rocky Balboa

Still one of my favorites. 

“…it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here.

I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens.

You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.”



Sure. It happens. You go through your daily routines and habits without incident. You’re cognizant of civility and manners, because your Momma raised you right. Right? But then, here comes one of those times you just aren’t aware of the offense you committed, and someone calls you out on it.

Over the weekend I slid through a Taco Bell to get some sustenance en route to the radio station to do some fill-in voice work and Irene coverage. I was starving. Figured a couple of burritos would fit in my saddle bags just right. Far be it that I should get a lesson in manners from a mouth breathing youngster behind the counter at Taco Bell, but the attempt was made and there was some success.

I was on my motorcycle grabbing a slice of Charlotte weather beauty while the East Coast was getting hammered by a hurricane. After parking, I walked in to the store carrying my helmet and gloves – skull cap on my head. There was only me and another gentleman at the counter, and he had just finished ordering.

Jarrell had a presence behind the counter. He was clearly that person in the room I often refer to as the “Cruise Director”; in control, micro manager, knows everything, opinionated, often louder than others, seemingly confident in themselves but overcompensating for the insecurities by commanding a “look at me, I’m different” attitude, followed by the need for a pat on the back.  It was obvious this kid (I’d peg him to be about 17 years old), was sure of his place in life and at this store, and I assure you it was a much higher level than reality.

“May I take your order”, Jarrell asks.

“Two Burrito Supreme’s to go”, I said.

“Five sixty six.”

My hands were rather full. I fumbled my helmet and gloves onto the counter and then through my money clip for the nearest combination of bills. I laid a five and a one on the counter, fanned them so he could see them and slid them across the counter to him.

“Out of six”, I said.

He processed the sale, retrieved the change and receipt, then laid them on the counter just to the rear right of the register.

“Thirty four cents is your change.”

Not near me. Near him. Like he was waiting on my order or he was saving it for something.

It suddenly struck me that he didn’t offer the change to me. He just set it on the counter. Then walked away to get my order filled.

When he came back by I reached across the counter and intentionally exaggerated the sweep of the coins into my hand as if I was cleaning up crumbs. I was hopeful he’d pick up on the awkwardness of my reaching across a counter to the backside of the register.

“You really should offer the change to the customer by putting it in their hands”, I offered.

“Oh, like you should’ve done to me”, he confidently quips.

I smiled. “Touché“.

As I stood off to the side awaiting my food, I considered asking for the manager so they’d be aware of the smartass working the front lines, but instead decided to just leave it alone.

Jarrell announced to the audience of one (me), over the microphone, “Burrito Supreme to go”.

I walked up and lying on the counter in a bag was my order.

“You sure you don’t want to hand my order to the customer”? My parting shot.

I did call the store this morning and talk to the Manager. Her name and phone number was on the receipt…as was his. I calmly told her what had happened. I asked her if I was wrong. She said she could understand how Jarrell might have felt. Wait! What? Really?

I told her the purpose of my call was so she could remind young Jarrell of his purpose as a front line greeter; to meet and exceed the customer’s experience and expectations. Not to teach them a lesson in manners based on what he feels is improper etiquette.

She said she’d talk to him.

So Jarrell won. He got me thinking. Was I wrong? Did I insult him? Was I disrespectful? I didn’t throw the money at him. I actually thought I was being helpful by fanning the bills out, sliding them close to him and confirming what I had given him. It bothered me all weekend.

Jarrell, you’re a twit. And I stand corrected.


Jury Duty Observations

Got summoned. Got selected. Can’t talk about the case, but what a full day of people and process watching. 
  • New courthouse is nice. I remember the old section for jury duty – it was a DMV nightmare.
  • Holding section for jurors is a nice co-working area with kitchen, seating and TV…business section. Wifi sucks.
  • The jury coordinators have their routines and speeches down like amusement park ride operators. Lots of reinforcement and rules mixed with humor.
  • The guest speakers (court reporter, bailiffs, etc.) have A LOT to say about the role they play. 
  • Diet and exercise doesn’t look like a requirement for many courthouse employees wearing guns and accessories. 
  • Most people seem to understand the important civil obligation of serving on a jury, but loathe the notion that they’ll have to do it. It’s an inconvenient waste of their time at $12 a day. 
  • Everyday folk from every corner of the city and line of work. Even the Mayor was called in to do his civilian duty.
  • You can be an understanding, nurturing Coach of kids, and help needy children through the Ministry…and still express you’re too biased to make a fair ruling, so you get yourself dismissed from the box. 
  • Reminder: the burden is on the accuser to prove the charge, not the accused to defend innocence. 
  • In selecting the perfect line-up of jurors for the trial, attorneys are capable of asking the same question 100 different ways ad nauseum.
  • Never so tired at the end of a day from being so bored. I was warned.

Back at it tomorrow. 

Maybe Lt. Horatio Caine will make an appearance with a poetic one liner. 

IHOP HEROES. What Would You Do?


This morning I took my motorcycle up the street to get the inspection current.

My eldest son Austin followed me in the car. I asked him to assist me since I wasn’t sure how long the wait would be to get everything done, plus he just completed the MSF motorcycle course at CPCC and likes to drool over the crotch rockets at the dealership.

On the way back, we stopped by IHOP to grab a quick bite of breakfast.

About the time the waitress came to get our drinks we heard a loud exclamation and the sound of crashing plates and utensils.

The elderly lady across the room to my 2 o’clock, suddenly got concerned. She stood and shouted a young man’s name. She shouted his name again as if to scold him for his uncharacteristic display. She was the only one in the booth I could see. He had slipped down out of sight.

I mumbled to myself, “call 911”. Austin said something about a seizure.

The patrons seated around her began to stand and go to her.  She looked up across the room and shouted, “Somebody help me, call 911!”.

I saw the manager with a portable phone in his hand scurrying from the front desk to the scene.

I saw a guy with tats get up from his table and family one aisle over to assess if he could help. He saw that the table needed to be moved to help the victim lay down.

Another lady to my back right 5 o’clock took charge of calming and comforting the old lady.

A couple other female leaders made their way to the center of the action to physically assess the victim’s condition and help him. They took charge like mothers or nurses would.

Within what seemed 10 minutes, the ambulance came. They took the young man out. He appeared to be aware and cognizant, just a bit glassy eyed from the experience.

“What Would You Do?” with John Quiñones on ABC popped into my head at least once. As I watched from across the room, and now in retrospect, I wondered what I could or could’ve done myself. From my vantage point the situation in the tiny little aisle way was well controlled and tended to by a worthy crew. I believe I would’ve been in the way.

My social media mind wondered should I pull out my phone and record something? A video or a picture? Is there something to document? My conscious decided it would’ve been a violation of the moment.

I kept looking at the elderly lady. My heart ached for her as she stood sobbing, helpless and distressed. I thought of my Mother. Austin said he thought of his Grandma Holland who suffered a massive heart attack while dining in a restaurant a couple years ago.

At the same time I was touched and impressed by the six or so bystanders that didn’t hesitate to act…without prejudice, without knowing. They just acted…in all the right ways, for all the right reasons.


#backroads #yamaha #Vstar : 401 miles. 9 hrs riding. 11.5 hrs door-to-door.


What an awesome day of riding.

Maggie Valley, Deals Gap and the Dragon’s Tail, Fontana Lake, through the Nantahala National Forest to Highlands, Cashiers, Rosman down 178 through Gorges, 11 N through to Chesnee to Cowpens, Clover, Lake Wylie and back home to SouthEast Charlotte.

Thanks to me, you can rest assured that I single handedly reduced the Spring bug population by at least a few hundred direct hits to the bike, my body and face. Since I didn’t have a face shield, some occasional pain was involved.

Me, Bro and Pops are wiped out from our marathon run through the beauty of NC, TN and SC. Wiped out, but looking forward to the next time.

#backroads #yamaha #Vstar : 5 hours. 240 miles.


Took 11, 178, 64 to 215 (Blue Ridge Parkway) to 19 into Maggie Valley, home of the Wheels Thru Time museum. “Wheels” is a cool place to check out if you’re into history of motorcycles, cars…even the engines of that time. Neat thing about all the bikes on display is that they maintain them to actually run. They’re happy to start them up too.

We were uncomfortably cold and overcast until the BRP, then beauty and sunshine. I misjudged the weather and was expecting the warmth and sun to come out sooner. Spray from the previous night’s rain and the 50 degree temps were a bit unpleasant for my gear.

Early morning ride through the legendary “Dragon’s Tail” planned for tomorrow. 318 twisty turns in 11 miles.