The Future of America

Thanks to all the parents for letting me get these photos of their cherubic progeny while I was wandering the aisles of various Fort Dodge merchants today doing my usual window shopping while my sister stocked up on holiday food for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast!  I turned 57 half an hour ago, and if I don’t get a single present this year it’ll be fine by me because the joy I captured in the faces of these kids is worth more than all the presents in the world.

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Business Cards Ordered

It’s official.  I am now a “professional” photojournalist!  This does not mean I’m giving up any of my other professional titles, just that I’m adding yet another to the vast array of skill-sets developed over a lifetime of experience, education, trial, and error!  It’s been a long time in the making! I’ve been an amateur photojournalist since before the word “Blogger” was coined and based on my success in that forum, I’ve decided to go ‘all in’ on making a success of myself in this career field.  Much more after the jump.

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Another Day at the Office

Crystalline SunriseMy first glance out the window yesterday morning was a little hazy, but as I cracked the door to let Bandit outside to do his morning business, I noticed a tree trimming crew stalking the neighborhood. Eager to get a chance to flex my photojournalistic videography skills, I donned a jacket, grabbed my video gear and bounced out of the house just a couple steps behind my hairy four legged beast.  The tree trimming crew only rolls through the neighborhood once every three years in order to keep the local forest from disabling the power lines, yet Providence saw fit for me to be in the right place at the right time yesterday morning!  Just another example of the special blessings which continue to fall into my path even as the pains of life nips at my heels. Photo montage and video after the jump.

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Best of Dodge

Today’s Heaping Helping of Fort Dodge Retailers – Double Dose of Delight!

An ongoing series. Part one here.

Today’s focus is on Bath and Body Works followed by a chowing down on a delicious lunch at the JA-MAR Restaurant located in the mall parking lot across the street from Ridgewood Lanes Bowling Center.

Continuing to explore the best of the Crossroads Mall

Crossroads Mall

There are more than than a few businesses in and around the area of the Crossroads Mall that are running the kind of tight ship any business would be keen to emulate.  No offense to any of the other fine cities in Iowa, but these are the businesses in the local area that folks from as far away as Mason City ought to consider visiting this Christmas season.  I have personally visited these businesses and can attest that they offer the highest degree of service and satisfaction.  If any of you take issue with any of my selections or wish to add other personal favorites, please feel free to share in the comments section of this or any subsequent post.  Today’s Best of Dodge after the jump.

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Best of Dodge

Today’s Top Retailer – Homespun Collection

Homespun Collection

The Past

It’s been almost forty years since I graduated FDSH (Class of ’76).  In between then and now, I have had an exciting and prosperous life.  The last five years I’ve been in Germany running a business teaching English to eager Germans with my loving and lovely wife Rita.

My Lovely Wife

Sadly, Rita passed away in September of this year after a losing bout with cancer and I found myself a widower in a foreign land.  To be honest, I’m more than a little homesick and a lot heartbroken, so I’ve returned to the land of my youth (and family) to reclaim my spot in the land of milk and honey.  I stepped away from our business and returned to the US with little more than a few suitcases and my faithful dog Bandit to begin life anew once again.

Band and Four Bags

I’m optimistic that my enthusiasm for life, my education, and my broad life experiences will see me thru to another successful chapter in my life.  Many of my former high school classmates have already departed this Earthly plane just as my lovely wife recently did so I’m also keenly aware that it’s likely to be my final chapter.  As tragic a consequence as it is to lose my best friend and business partner of twenty five years, I cannot roll over and give into the grief that would consume me if I stopped moving forward and mired myself in the pain of her loss.  I would not honor her wishes or my future by doing so.

The Present

Sears

Fort Dodge seems to be in a state of flux, having lost a huge number of jobs on the closure of the packing industry back in the 80′s. As I view my old stomping grounds with aging, yet fresh eyes, it seems to me that it’s long past time for Fort Dodge to regain the economic viability I remember from my youth. As long as I am part of this community,  I shall attempt to promote those businesses that mirror the high standards of customer service that I have always brought to my clients/customers over the decades.  Even as Sears goes the way of the dinosaurs, I am proud to see that there are still quite a few remaining successful businesses here that hold to those standards.  Each day over the course of the next several days I shall highlight local businesses in my BEST OF DODGE series that showed me the same level of commitment to customer service and merchandising that we brought to our business.  A rising tide raises all ships and as long as I’m anchored here I will do my best to see the tide rise one again.  Today’s endorsement after the jump.

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