Friday, December 21, 2012

MY FAVORITE SONG ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Over the years, through the centuries actually, Christmas songs have been written, each from a special perspective.  There are your Christian Christmas songs that celebrate the birth of Christ.  It seems that everyone knows at least the first verse of the old classic Christmas hymns.  Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Joy To The World, Silent Night, The First Noel and Away In A Manger are used to represent the true meaning of Christmas by Christians throughout the world.

There are Christmas songs from the secular part of the holiday which tells of Santa Claus, Presents under a tree, snow falling everywhere even where there isn't any snow, and a reindeer with a red nose or a snowman with a magic hat.  Again everyone knows these songs and are as important to Christmas, it would seem, as the hymns that are sung.  Often times as carolers go from house to house sing one song and then another, the religious hymns are interspersed with the secular songs of Rudolph and Frosty.

There are what I call the modern Christmas songs which really date back to the fifties.  Most of these songs were written for Christmas movies or television shows.  They are wonderful, beautiful songs that dig deep into your heart as you think of Christmas.  White Christmas, I'll Be Home For Christmas, and Christmas Time Is Here are a few of these.  There are heartbreak songs that tell of a sad Christmas like Blue Christmas, and If We Make It Through December.  New religious oriented songs have been written, the most beautiful one in my mind is O! Holy Night.

There is one special Christmas song though.  It isn't very well known to most people although it is starting to be noticed.  It was written in 1975 by progressive rocker Greg Lake.  A lot of older readers and younger readers may not be aware of Mr. Lake's work.  The bands he was in were very well known for awhile but like a lot of popular music, they seem to leave and the generations that follow do not remember them.  Greg Lake was a member of King Crimson and the more popular group, Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  Lake was a great songwriter penning many hits and a philosopher with lyrics that touched the soul.  But his greatest work, as far as I am concerned, is also one of his lesser known songs.

"I Believe In Father Christmas" was fairly well received during the Christmas season of 1975.  It was released as a single though and therefore relied on radio air play to get to listeners ears.  And when it did reach those listeners, the lyrics seemed confusing.  Some thought the words described a young child being sold on the idea of Christmas, being sold on the idea of Christ, and coming to the realization that it was all a lie, making it an anti-Christmas song.  Others saw it as a confirmation of Christmas and a song that combined both the secular and Christian viewpoints of Christmas.  The latter was the more accurate of the interpretations of the song.

The music of the song is, and here my typing pauses.  I am not sure how to describe  the music.  Wonderful, beautiful, majestic, powerful.  These are all words that come to mind.  The song tells of Lake's personal experience with Christmas.  As a child he was told that Christmas is of snow and gifts and magical beings that bring presents.  Most of these he believed even though in his native England, it rained more often that snowed at Christmas time.

It tells of his growing into maturity and coming to his own personal belief in Christ, and realizing the Christian meaning of the holiday.  Then as he ages and as the economy of the world turns strong and advances are made in the production of all the Christmas trappings that we face even today, he became cynical about Christmas and the commercialization of Christmas.  He looked around and saw that in a lot of ways, Christmas was losing it's meaning.  He came to realize, in his own words, that Christmas was more about" giving then receiving"... and we had lost that part of Christmas.   He realized that the true meaning of Christmas, the Christian view, was being over run by the secular view and that it wasn't a good thing.  He wanted to bring Christmas back to where he thought it should be.  His final lines in the song state his belief that the way we celebrate Christmas, what we put into it, is what we are going to get out of it.  Celebrating Christmas strictly commercially would bring disappointment and sadness while celebrating it religiously would bring about inner peace and joy.

I listen to this song year around.  It is such a beautiful song with a beautiful meaning.  If ever there was a Christmas song that could and should be listened to all through the year, this is the one.  This song covers from being a child to maturing into an adult and how we handle our beliefs.  It is by far, my favorite Christmas song.  Enjoy "I Believe In Father Christmas" circa 1975 by Greg Lake.

I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS
Greg Lake - 1975 

They said there'd be snow at Christmas
They said there'd be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And the eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'd be snow at Christmas
They said there'd be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get we deserve


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GREAT TRAGEDIES IN MY LIFETIME

It is sad to be writing this the week before Christmas.  This time of year is suppose to be fun and filled with good memories.  Time spent with family is suppose to be at a premium.  For some reason though, Christmas does not bring out these overwhelming happy feelings to a lot of people.  I am one of those people who tries to find joy in the season, but it eludes me.  It isn't that I am a "Scrooge" or anything of that nature,  it is just my mental make up at this time in my life that makes me feel melancholy during the season.  I have found some things that help me feel a little of that good feeling, like giving to charities that help those in need.  I find pleasure in giving gifts to my wife and son and seeing the smile on their faces, but that doesn't hold me very long.  This entry isn't about that side of Christmas.  For the most part it isn't about Christmas at all.  It is about four tragedies that have happened during my lifetime that have left an impact on me and will have an impact on me for the rest of my life.  These four events, these tragedies, do not come from nature but from human beings.  All four of these tragedies sadden me when they cross my mind.  They are senseless tragedies that not need happen except a human being had so much hatred in his mind, so much anger in his mind, that they did the unthinkable.

The first of these tragedies happened in Oklahoma City on a bright sunny spring day.  It was April 19, 1995 and mid morning.  Suddenly a truck filled with a fertilizer bomb exploded, ripping off the entire front face of the Murrah Federal Building in that clean quiet little city.  People were killed instantly while others died slowly.  There was a day care center on the first floor of that building, towards the front.  It was filled with children.  Nineteen children under the age of six lost their lives in an instant.  There were part of a total of one hundred and sixty eight lives that were snuffed out that day.  As the story unfolded it became known that an ex military man who did not approve of the government of the United States had decided to show his displeasure by setting off this bomb.  That is not the way that our country usually shows displeasure with the forces that run the country.  Protesting is the normal way.  Usually peaceful protest that sometimes turn violent, but not an intentional killing of innocent people, especially little children who have nothing to do with the subject that is being protested against.  I remember seeing my fellow citizens walking around stunned and bloodied on the streets of Oklahoma City.  When they had woke up that morning they had no idea that close to two hundred people would died in a few hours.  The parents who left their children in the daycare before heading up to their offices couldn't fathom the idea that they would be seeing their children for the last time.  Then a picture was published.  It is an image that comes into my mind whenever I think of Oklahoma City on that day.  It is a fireman carrying a child in his arms away from the rumble.  I do not know if the child is still alive or not, but for me this one image brings all the horror of what happened that day to an unbelievable reality.
Fireman carrying a child from the Oklahoma City bombing

The second tragedy happened in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Lancaster County is known to have one of the largest Amish population in the country.  The Amish are a peaceful people who pretty much keep to themselves and follow their religious doctrines strongly.   On the morning of October second, two thousand and six, a man back his truck up to the little Amish schoolhouse and went inside.  He came in with guns and took the children and the teacher hostage as one of the children had escaped and ha run to a farmhouse next door to call 911.  When the police arrived, he was hunkered in the schoolhouse surrounded by children.  As negotiations continued and failed, the man eventually shot ten little Amish girls ranging in age from six to thirteen.  Five of the innocent girls died from their wounds and the man, after shooting the girls, took his own life.  There was not really a reason given for the actions taken.  The man had left suicide notes for his wife and children before leaving that morning.  He had set out not to deliver milk as he would usually do, but to shoot children and himself for no apparent reason.  A couple of days after the shooting the Amish did something that literally sent shivers through the people of the world.  They took their horses and buggies over to the man's house where his widow was sitting in a darkened room filled with pain and guilt over what her husband had done.  The Amish brought her food, and went inside to comfort her in her time of grief and guilt.  If ever there was proof of a God, the Amish people of this little township showed the world that there was on that day.  Five lives lost, five more lives injured and a whole community of the faithful would forever be changed on this day.  But the Amish held onto their faith and continue today, bearing no hatred or grudge against the man that destroyed their community.  I was watching television one night and they went to where the shootings took place.  The little schoolhouse has been torn down and replaced with a grass field.  The memory of what happened there will forever live in the hearts of that Amish community though, even if the schoolhouse is gone.
Amish funeral procession for five girls killed in school shooting

September eleventh, two-thousand and one.  Does anything else really need to be said other than the date?  This day would change the lives of every American for the foreseeable and distant future.  Nothing would ever be the same.  The United States had suffered terrorists attacks before what became known as simply 9-11.  We had some embassies bombed.  The U.S.S. Cole had been rammed and bombed killing some of our service men, but 9-11 was different.  In the name of religion from the middle east came 20 hijackers that would board passenger jets filled with ordinary citizens who were going about their work day.  Two of these passenger planes struck each tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, collapsing the towers into the ground in a huge pile of rubble and deadly dust.  A third plane would strike the Pentagon, the center of America's military operations and State Department.  The fourth jet would be taken down in a field in Pennsylvania by the actions of brave Americans determined to save lives by not letting this particular jet reach it's target, which was either the White House or the Capitol Building.  For a while the government of the United States was in disarray.  The President was on his plane with a military escort.  The rest of the executive branch and Congressional leaders were safe in an underground bunker in Washington D.C. pulling the government back together to react and defend the country in a proper way.   I sat and watched along with the rest of the country as the horror unfolded.  People were leaping to their deaths from the World Trade Center with no where else to go.  First one tower collapsed, followed by the second one.  There was a huge hole in the front of the Pentagon.  The building was on fire as survivors came walking out of the huge hole and other exits.  Then there was the wreckage in that field in rural Pennsylvania where brave Americans sacrificed their lives to save others.  By the time the day was over, more than three thousand people had lost their lives in this brutal act of terrorism.  However, as Americans have proven over and over through the years, we picked ourselves up and started to rebuild and to heal.  It changed the way Americans do almost anything, from traveling to getting a simple drivers license.  Security is high at all major public events.  We have had plenty of terror attempts since 9-11 but all have failed because we are prepared.  The whole world changed on that day in 2001 and it will never be as it was before.
Firemen raise the Stars and Stripes amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center
Then came the latest event that shook my senses into numbness.  December fourteenth, two-thousand and twelve.   In the small quiet community of Newtown, Connecticut things seem normal.  At the Sandy Hook Elementary School classes are beginning for the kindergartner through fourth grade students.  The week before Christmas and I can imagine that the kids were starting to ramp up on the excitement meter for Christmas.  Then comes nine-thirty in the morning.  A young man walks into the school and heads down the hall towards the first grader and kindergarten classrooms.  He is carrying guns and opens fire on the little kids as he walks into their classroom.  Once again innocent children are the victims of violence for no logical reason.  The shooting spree does not take long and ends with the young man taking his own life.  When it is over, twenty six and seven year olds lie dead in pools of their own blood and six adults lose their lives as well.  The facts of what happened has not been totally sorted out and new facts are emerging as this writing takes place.  The young man had apparently killed his mother at the family home before heading to Sandy Hook elementary.  For the next four or five days, funerals will be held for all the victims in this little quiet community.  Logic and reason can not be found while trying to figure out why these children had to die.  Not only the pictures and accounts of that day haunt me, but even the mere thought of the terror and horror that went through that little school numbs my soul.
Children are led from Sandy Hook Elementary after the shootings
These are not the only tragedies that have happened during my lifetime and certainly not the only ones that have effected me.  Some of the others are known by just one word such as "Waco" or "Columbine".  There were the Atlanta child murders and the shootings at Virginia Tech.  There have been gunmen who have entered shopping malls firing guns randomly at people as they work their way through the mall.  One of those happened in Kansas City a few years back at the Ward Parkway Mall.

The purpose of this writing is not to make any political statement at all.  I am not going to say my feelings on the Second Amendment or on Gun Control.  Although tempted, I also will not write about mental illness and the role it may or may not have played in these tragedies.  There is no agenda in the writing of this entry except to say it saddens me.  I feel confused whenever events like these happen as I try to make sense of it all.  When it comes down to it, there is no making sense of it.

I do not mean to discount other tragedies that have happened over my lifetime, but these four that I wrote about seem to hit me the hardest.  The only thing I can say is that to me,  it seems to be getting worse and happening on an increasing basis, and no one knows why.  I do wish someone could figure this out.  The people of this country should not have to wonder if they will arrive home from work safely or not when they leave in the morning.  They should not have to sit and worry all day if they will ever see their children again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

In 1965 a movie was released that won multiple Oscars that year.  It wasn't a Christmas movie.  It literally had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.  It was the story of the rise of the Third Reich and the effect it had on a family of singers in Austria who did not agree with the Nazi philosophy and escaped to freedom from Hitler's forces by climbing over a mountain range in the middle of the night.

Julie Andrews was in it and she did a lot of singing.  Beautiful singing.  There were lots of songs that went along the story line, again not having anything to do with Christmas.  During one scene, there is a thunderstorm carrying on outside and the children come to their nanny because they are scared.  Julie Andrews breaks into a song to ease the children's fears.  The song basically says to think of things that make you happy and the scary stuff will melt away.  Again, nothing to do with Christmas at all.

Now I am not sure why, how or when, but at some point in time "My Favorite Things" started showing up on Christmas albums.  These days it is played multiple times during the Christmas season as a classic Christmas song.  It is as much of a Christmas song as Three Dog Night's recording of Hoyt Axton's "Joy To The World".  "My Favorite Things" is not a Christmas song in my mind.  To the rest of the world it seems to be one of the great Christmas songs.  There isn't anything I can do about that no matter how much logic you throw at it.  It is now a Christmas song.  It is a done deal.

So since it is now a Christmas song, I began to think that at this time of Christmas, why not take the idea of this "Christmas" song and figure out what are a few of my favorite things.  Maybe it will have the same effect on my fear of Christmas as it had on the children in the film fears of thunderstorms.  Maybe, just maybe, if I think of a few of my favorite things, Christmas won't be such a terror for me as it usually is.  So, here are a few of my favorite things to take my mind off of Christmas.  Somehow I do not think this is going to work.

One of my favorite things is music.  I absolutely love it.  I love to play it on the piano, I love to TRY to play it on the guitar, and I love just listening to it.  I love almost any kind of music.  I love the old blues that Robert Johnson gave us and the folk music that Woody Guthrie brought to us.  I love the old true country western music of Hank Williams and Bob Wills to the outlaw country music of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.  I like the top 40 music from Motown, Bread, and Three Dog Night.  The heavy metal sounds that came out of the seventies of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Jimi Hendrix.  The music that spanned the era from Janis Joplin to Melissa Etheridge.  The jazz of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker to the Jazz fusion of Chick Corea and Weather report.  Crooners such as Sinatra, Martin, and Mathis from the past to the crooners of late like Harry Connick Jr.  Music is complex even when it is simple.  I love to hear different people sing the same songs with different arrangements.  Music amazes me.  Basically there are only twelve notes.  Think of taking those twelve notes and how the order that those twelve notes happen to be placed have given us thousands and thousands of songs with new songs being created with those twelve notes on a daily basis.  Add to that the lyrics that are incorporated into these songs.  Different thoughts and philosophies, love and hate, anger and sadness to happy go lucky songs.  I never tire of listening to music or watching musicians perform music.  Not a day goes by that I do not listen to music during part of the day.  Music is definitely one of my favorite things.

Another of my favorite things are movies.  I have admitted to my wife and I now admit it to you, the reader, that I do like "chick-flicks" among other genres of movies.  Movies are in the same category as music in a way.  Thousands of different stories with different endings and different moods.  There are horror movies that make your body twitch at a certain moment when the movie throws something at you that you are not expecting at all.  There have been horror movies where I am sitting watching and suddenly realize that every muscle in my body is tense and tight.  I love to watch good comedy movies where there is something SO exaggerated that it is total hilarity and you can't stop laughing and do not get tired of watching it over and over again.  My favorite type of film though, has to be an independent film.  Films that are made with low budgets and still manage to pull it off.  Movies that are so off the wall you often stop wonder what kind of mind could possibly think up a story line like this.  Movies that approach subject matter that no one probably thought would ever be approached.  Documentaries also make for a great movie, especially a good documentary.  I movie that dives into a true story that seems like it is not possible that it could ever happen.  Looking into people's lives and trying to understand why their lives are the way they are.  Movies, good movies, can be watched time and time again.  I love movies that give us Chaplin, Keaton, and Mae West to W.C. Fields and Peter O'Toole.  Kate Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, The Marx Brothers and Cary Grant.  Gregory Peck in "To Kill A Mockingbird" To Gene Wilder in "Young Frankenstein".  Sondra Bullock, Betty White, Albert Brooks to Mel Brooks.  The list of the stars, directors and producers is a very long list and continues to grow.  My latest favorite director/producers are the Cohen Brothers, Kevin Smith/Scott Mosier.  I never tire of watching a good movie.  Clint Eastwood will live forever because of movies as does Groucho and Grace Kelly.

Books.  How can books not be one of my favorite things.  I have had a relationship with books longer than I have been with music or film.  I prefer non-fiction history books.  Doesn't really matter what time in history the book covers as long as it is well written and teaches me something I didn't know before.  There is no limit to new things to be learned from books.  Researchers are always coming up with new discoveries or theories about history and the books keep on coming.  There are still books being written about the Lincoln administration as well as the Kennedy, Nixon and Clinton administrations.  They say that learning from history is suppose to keep us from repeating history.  I don't think that is always the case though.  I have seen times when history has repeated itself and once again we learn the same lesson over again.  Reading about history is much like listening to music or watching a movie.  Even if several books are on the same subject, they are different with different lessons to learn.  Books allows our imagination to give us a picture in our minds of what life was like in a certain period of time.  We are still learning about ancient Egypt as new discoveries are made and books are written about them.   History is constantly being made, as is music.  As humans we don't have to even try to make history while making history.  Everything that happens becomes history as things constantly change.  Books keep track of how history is viewed from one period to another.  A lot of old history books can be said to be out of date and wrong because new history books have been written that correct historical assumptions that were made in a history book fifty years before.  The thing is that even the old history books that are outdated, become a part of history.  It is a history of how we use to think, how we use to see things as opposed to how we now know as the truth.  Eventually though, what we write and read as truth now will probably be disproved in the future by someone writing a new book with new information and so the books that we read now also become a history on how ignorant we were about certain subjects at this point in time.  Books keep a record of where we were and who we were.  Books keep track of where we are and who we are and help to determine where we are heading and who we are becoming.  Books keep the essence of us alive for future generations.

 Well, those are just a few of my favorite things.  I have gotten those few things for Christmas through the years which justifies the song as a Christmas song I suppose.  There are other things that probably would be counted as some of my favorite things.  One would be any college sport that involves the colors black and gold, a tiger and the letters M I Z Z O U.  I love Missouri and Kansas City.  I love my family, both immediate and extended.  I love to drive.  I love anything mechanical and how it works.  I love science and new discoveries.

I suppose the theory behind the song that makes you think of your favorite things is suppose to open your eyes that your favorite things out number the things that are not so favorite.  I am not so sure that is the way my situation is though.  I have listed a few of my favorite things, dwelt upon them, as the song directs us to, but I am still scared of thunderstorms.  I am still scared of tornadoes.  I still dread Christmas for some reason.

Monday, December 3, 2012

HALF A LIFE PLUS FIVE

Thirty three years ago, December 3, 1979, I walked through the doors of Dit-MCO International for the first time.  At the time I had no idea how important this place would become to me.  There are different ways that spending time in this office has influenced my life.  For example, the mere number of years that I have walked through various doors that had Dit-MCO written upon them is a great influence.  I am fifty six years old now yet I was only twenty three when I did my first days work for the company.  I have been extremely lucky and have had a lot of breaks in forming my career but getting called by Dit-MCO was by far the luckiest thing that ever happened in my career.

I had begun my career as a draftsman at Rycom Instruments, a very small company where my dad worked for the majority of his life.  When Loretta pulled me into drafting I was still sixteen about to turn seventeen.  She knew I wanted to draw and after giving me a chance to prove myself, hired me as a full time draftsman.  She saw something in me that not even I saw in myself.  She apparently knew that I had a little talent because she kept giving more complicated things to do while I was there.  Within four years, I was her senior draftsman and had accomplished much more than just drafting.  I had learned how to make artwork for printed circuit boards using black tape and an exacto knife.  She had taught me how to use the huge camera in the darkroom across the hall to make photos of the artwork which would become the masters.  I used that camera for many other things such as making art from album covers and such that I would later frame.  When I turned twenty two I was offered a chance to spread my wings even further.  Alice, one of my mentors at church, told me of an opening in the drafting department where she worked as a purchasing agent.  The name of the place was known world wide as LABCONCO.

LABCONCO was the first time I was paid a salary instead of working hourly.  To a young twenty two year old this sounded great.  No longer would the company be keeping tabs on when I was there or not and pay me accordingly.  I would be paid no matter how many hours I worked.  The catch, I came to find out, was that it not only included that I would be paid if I had to take off for a doctor's appointment or something of that nature, but I would get paid the same amount if it took me more than forty hours to a week to finish a job.  As I came to find out, it was almost impossible to complete a work assignment in forty hours at LABCONCO.  Before long I was working seven days a week putting in sixty or more hours every week.  This wore me down rather quickly and I decided that my time at LABCONCO would be short lived unless they came through with a huge raise.

While I was at LABCONCO, I met several other engineers and draftsmen that were hard workers but felt the same way I did.  Working at LABCONCO was taking just too much of their time.  I wasn't there but a few weeks when I noticed that slowly my peers were quitting their jobs at LABCONCO and going somewhere else.  It took about seven months before I was the senior draftsman at LABCONCO.  The guys were leaving in droves.  It wasn't long before I found out what the great lure was that was pulling everyone from LABCONCO.

I had been working at LABCONCO for thirteen months when my phone rang.  It was one of my previous co-workers asking me if I wanted to change companies and start another job.  I was a little leery of this since I had been at my job just a little over a year, but I agreed to talk about it.  While talking things over I came to know that all of these people I use to work for had left to go to a company called Dit-MCO International.  They were all there and enjoying themselves with challenging work that didn't take every bit of your time.  They were working on machines to test aircraft, and aerospace products.  They had contracts with all the major plane manufacturers as well as the government and NASA.  At LABCONCO all we were doing was designing fume hoods and such for university labs, nothing really exciting, but Dit-MCO was on the cutting edge of technology.  It was an offer to good to pass up.  For one thing, they gave me a pretty hefty raise.  Secondly, I would be working with people I already knew for the most part and there was room for me to advance from drafting on into engineering.  I took the job without giving it much thought.  If anything, I figured, I could get five good years of experience on the cutting edge if I found I were to leave Dit-MCO.

Now I feel like I have bored you enough with all the talk about how things led up to finding myself at Dit-MCO.  I want to talk people here.  The people who have made up Dit-MCO over the last thirty three years of my life.  I have heard lots of companies try to say that their company is like a family.  I don't buy it.  It takes a special administration along with special people under those running the company to make it feel like a family.  Dit-MCO has that.  Dit-MCO is a company that is truly like a family.  Over the years we have shared the joys of life along with the tragedies of life.  We have not only worked together but played together.  There is no politics being played out at the company.  Everyone knows what their role is and they perform their roles immaculately.  We have had babies born and we have had members die.  Still the company carries on through the good and the rough times.

Engineers are a special brand of people.  Not that they are better than other types of workers, it is more in that they are just plain different.  To be an engineer you have to be able to think differently.  You have to be able to take a chance a try things a different way then they have always been done.  This is how you progress.  Along with this independent thinking comes some pretty strange senses of humor.  Engineers probably have more fun than any other occupation.  Practical jokes are a must for an engineering department and the engineers at Dit-MCO are aces at playing practical jokes.  Of course you also have to be able to take a joke played on you if you are to succeed in the engineering field.

During my time at the company, the engineering department has had many off the wall activities.  For example, we bought a putter and a golf hole at a thrift store one year and set up a gold course in the building.  The result was a weekly Golf Tournament that even had a traveling trophy that would sit in the desk of the tourney winner of the week.

Over the years here, I have seen many changes, much as my grandpa saw changes in his work on the railroad.  I remember when I was young, grandpa telling me of how things had changed so very much since he began working on the railroad as a very young man.  I see the same things in my job.  There isn't a drafting table in the whole building anymore.  A pencil is used at most three or four times a day.  Computers have taken over the engineering field.  For the most part I have to say this has been a good thing.  We are more accurate with our designs and our calculations.  We not only draft using a computer, but are able to make three dimensional models of our designs to see how they will look and that they will fit together.

The printed circuit boards that as a youngster I use to make by  using tape on mylar, I now use a computer to create.  It is much fast and much more accurate.  We don't use a camera to make artwork anymore but create computer files that the houses that fabricate our boards use for artwork.

Over the last thirty three years I have seen many people come and go.  More than likely though, if an engineer takes a job at Dit-MCO, he will end up being here for a substantial amount of time.  At thirty three years here, I am not even close to being at the top of the seniority list.  Young engineers have moved in though to replace those who have retired and I find myself being regarded by these youngsters as one of the old men in the department.  I don't mind being seen as that though.  Another thing that engineers like is stability.  We don't like change as far as surroundings go or meeting new people to work with.  We work well together and know what to expect from each other.

No doubt by the time I am through here at Dit-MCO, I will have put in well over forty years.  Never in my wildest thoughts as a young twenty three year old, did I think I would still be siting here working for a company that is good to it's people and encourages them to stay.

Have I been lucky?  EXTREMELY lucky.  I love this company.  How many people can truly say they absolutely love their job?  It makes a difference waking up in the morning thinking "Well, wonder what today will bring" as I get ready to leave for the office without dread or waking up in the morning with the dreadful thought "Oh man, I got to go to work again today."

I like coming to work and have for thirty three years now.