Little Lessons

A Taste of the Past

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 24, 2020 4:30:00 AM

teacup
“The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.” – Jessamyn West

Anyone who knows me knows my love of coffee. Whether it’s from my favorite coffee shop, or Dunkin Donuts, or instant coffee heated over an open fire. No sugar or cream, just hot, black coffee. It’s the perfect way to start the day or end a meal.

Then there are afternoons when my cravings take me elsewhere. To a cup of tea. Now in my favorite teacup, featuring a “Penny Black” stamp. Printed in England in 1840, the Penny Black was the first adhesive postage stamp.

Whenever I drink tea, the flavor pulls memories from hidden corners of my mind. My father and uncle having tea on Sunday afternoons after dinner. My mother making the tea, even though she preferred coffee. My mother-in-law enjoying her cup with a spot of honey. A visit to the Bath Postal Museum to see an actual Penny Black.

The gift of this cup.

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Topics: inspiration, love, memories, mother, story, listen, moment, joy, little lessons, time, father, parents

A Single Strawberry

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 3, 2020 4:30:00 AM

new pot bench
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

Last fall, I began clearing out the overgrown shrubs and bushes around the house. The sandy soil made the digging easy, but it was a lot of hard work. It was also many trips to the local landfill and compost yard.

Faced with a clean slate, we started planning. We toured some local gardens to get ideas of what we might like. On daily walks, I photographed interesting landscape ideas for inspiration. I bought several books on gardening, including ones that had information on plants native to Cape Cod.

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Topics: hard work, persistence, love, memories, happiness, joy, little lessons, garden

Memorial Day Will Be Different This Year

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 22, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Flag and marker
“Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells a nobler history than pillared piles, or the eternal pyramids.” - James Gates Percival

My earliest memories of Memorial Day are watching my father march in a parade with the American Legion. He looked very sharp in his uniform.

When I was a teenager, I marched in Memorial Day parades as a member of two drum corps – the Immaculate Conception Queensmen and the Middlesex County Guardsmen. I remember how silent it became when we entered the cemeteries – just the beat of a single bass drum to keep the entire corps in step.

After my father died, I began marching on Memorial Day again. This time, as a member of the American Legion – a long circle completed.

This year will be different. No parades. No large gatherings at monuments. No readings of veterans’ names at cemeteries.

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Topics: reflection, inspiration, love, values, veteran, family, memories, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, honor, service, compassion

Go Bowling – A Lesson From My Mother

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 28, 2020 5:00:00 AM

candlepin
For as long as I can remember, my mother belonged to a bowling league. One night a week, she would spend a few hours away from the family and go bowling with her friends. One trophy she brought home on a regular basis was inscribed, “Perfect Attendance”.

When I was little, I never looked forward to my mother’s bowling nights. She protected me from my older brothers and sisters. Without her around, who would make sure we had an equal say on which TV channel we watched? And who would put their arm around us if we were afraid? (Not that I ever admitted I was afraid of anything.)

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Topics: personal relationships, honesty, memories, mother, happiness, little lessons, bowling

Refilling Our Hearts

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jan 17, 2020 5:00:00 AM

groceries
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” – Kahlil Gibran

A friend shared a post about how an ordinary task – bagging groceries – brought back memories of her father. And how much she missed him. In a follow-up conversation, she talked about how much she thinks about him, about the hole that he left behind. She ended with, “I’m okay with that, because he is worth leaving that hole, only for him.”

That phrase stuck with me for days, “he is worth leaving that hole.” I thought of all the holes that have formed in my heart over the last few years. Losing people close to me – people worthy of leaving a hole. People worthy of tears in the middle of the night, or while watching a movie, or bagging groceries.

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Topics: personal relationships, love, memories, mother, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, nature

All Life is Memory

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 20, 2019 5:00:00 AM

small storybook
"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

A winter evening, sharing the warmth of home and the warmth of friendship. Through mutual agreement, there was no talk of politics or current affairs. Instead, we took turns telling stories – stories of the recent past, mutual history and distant memories.

Recollections of experiences, or at least of how we remember the experiences. As time passes, the way we remember things change. We’re impacted by what we’ve learned since the original event. Certain colors fade while others become even more vibrant. What was once trivial is now recognized as a significant moment.

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Topics: memories, story, people, joy, little lessons, emotions, perspective

Lunch With Your Hero

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 1, 2019 5:00:00 AM

TRandWHF
“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.” – Ernest Hemingway

The 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was born on October 27, 1858. When he was only 19, he lost his North Star, when his father died unexpectedly. Roosevelt went on to be a prolific writer, war hero politician, and world adventurer. He was also the father to six children and died at only 60 years old. He became my boyhood hero when I read a library book about him, and now there are 29 different books about him in my office.

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Topics: family, memories, story, listen, little lessons, father, honor, perspective

Finding the Positive

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 18, 2019 5:01:00 AM

Bentley Class of 1948 daytime
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about my mother entitled, Take Heed of the Quiet Rebel. It was my annual tribute to my first teacher of life’s little lessons. I included stories of her accomplishments, including getting a college degree in 1948. The example of her life remains a guidepost for how I live my own.

A few weeks ago, I received a comment from Liz Baccala on the post. It was the sort of connection only possible in the age of the internet:

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Topics: networking, memories, mother, little lessons, help, social media, parents

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 23, 2019 5:01:00 AM

Boot Camp Letter
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my parents. A lot.

It started with finding a stack of letters my mother had saved. They were letters I’d sent to my parents when I was in the military.

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Topics: reflection, family, memories, reactions, mother, story, listen, little lessons, father, future, mail, letters, parents

Experience Collectors Wanted

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 28, 2019 5:01:00 AM

After dinner
“So removed from daily life was the whole experience that when all was rotten to the core, a fine dinner could revive the spirits. If and when I had twenty dollars left to my name, I was going to spend it right here in an elegant hour that couldn’t be hocked.” – Katey Kontent in Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

I love eating at restaurants. From 5-star steakhouses to local pubs to all-American diners. Perusing wine lists for the perfect pairing to the meal, gambling on a locally brewed beer, or stirring a thick milk shake with a long spoon. And most importantly, desserts – made-to-order souffle, crème brulee or lemon-meringue pie.

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Topics: personal relationships, love, family, memories, passion, marathon, travel, people, happiness, little lessons

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Our blog helps the reader focus on the little lessons - taking place every day - that will lead to sustainable, long-term success.

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