Stories from around the fire...

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

There is something about an open fire that transcends the dancing flame and the inviting smell; it beckons the memories of countless fires through the ages where people huddled for warmth, safety, a sense of community and with an invitation for stories to inform and entertain. I have been afforded the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks with my father as I transition into the city - One night we found ourselves around such a fire.

I should mention that my father, at the fine age of 85, is still very active on the golf course, travels once or twice a year, keeps his grass perfectly groomed and enjoys all the functionality his Galaxy S III can offer; definitely a good natured cranky old man who keeps everyone on their toes. As we settled in around the fire, our conversations began.

They started with the topics of the day and some of what we have planned in the future, but it was inevitably the stories of the past (our histories), where this transcendence occurs. I spent more time listening than talking.

The story of  "Management by Objectives" and reconciling it with "Management by Results", as the business worked hard to optimize the organization and implement the latest in management and leadership thinking. 

The story of a young man in his early twenties just out of the paratroopers full of piss and vinegar; feeling invincible as he walked down the darker streets of Detroit.

The story of being part of a survey team in Northern Ontario back in the early 1950's trailblazing and marking the way for future roads and other manifestations of civilization. Isolated for weeks at a time, with supplies flown in every two or three weeks, they managed through the terrain, black flies and the odd wolf pack to make their way.

The story of a team member being struck with appendicitis in the "middle of the bush" with no radio; getting innovative with a fire and smoke signals to attract people from across the bay. They came as quickly as they could - That's what people do!

As the fire and conversation faded, it was not hard to imagine a similar fire a thousand years ago; conversations and stories all in the same vain; "How to operate the farm more efficiently?" "Will the brashness of the village youth take them to war?", and "What will be done to get through the coming winter?" All starting with the topics of the day and then transcending with the stories of the past - Forever connecting us... forever reminding us that we are not alone.

Our life is our story.  Make it the best one you can and share it over an open fire*.

People are waiting to listen.


* It goes without saying that safety should come first, so make sure your open fire is controlled and can easily be extinguished. And for those of you who don't have the space to build a fire, I have seen a bunch of lit candles also work well.