Sunday night I was watching an old Johnny Carson interview with Red Skelton. Of course, it was quite entertaining. Red Skelton would be answering a question, then he, out of the blue, would become Clem Kadiddlehopper, Freddie the Freeloader, or break off into a conversation between Gertrude and Heathcliffe. Man, I laughed so much watching that show.
For those of you who do not know who Red Skelton is, he was an awesome comedian. Look him up on the internet and watch some of his old video clips.
On this evening with Johnny Carson, Carson asked Red Skelton how he started in show business. He explained that as a youngster he traveled with a medicine show. Later he became a hit in vaudeville acts. He explained that vaudeville was really an early form of family entertainment. He talked about the fact you couldn't say bad words like damn or hell. Then he just stopped for a moment… looked at Johnny Carson and said, "Johnny, I wonder where people in hell tell other people to go." Yes, the studio crowd laughed.
Mr. Skelton always stayed true to his plan to be a family entertainer. That's why so many people my age really liked watching him.
Developing a plan and having the guts to stick to it can be hard these days. There are always roadblocks and hurdles that cause us to second-guess our original plans. And then there are the employees that do things that you didn't plan for. As upset as we can sometime get, we have to remember that the employee that causes the most problems might also be the employee that is the greatest asset. A good example is legendary quarterback Brett Favre. Did you know that Brett Favre holds the record for throwing the most interceptions in the history of the NFL; yet he also holds the record for the most pass completions. Hmmm. I bet there were lots of Monday morning quarterbacks who second-guessed Brett Favre's play selections when he threw the interceptions. After all, it is pretty darn easy to second-guess people's decisions after the fact.
With all the planning going on in Grant County these days, we should probably be careful about second-guessing. There are groups working on plans to do a better job of marketing tourism, and even defining what tourism truly is in Grant County. There are groups planning for better trail infrastructure and better use of existing trails. The County Commissioners are striving to learn as much as possible about the management and ownership of a county-owned hospital or not to own a county hospital. The Forest Service is still working on an overall Forest Plan for the Gila National Forest. Divert Gila waters or not to divert Gila Waters, that is a question. The Air Force has yet to hold a large public meeting in Grant County about flying over the Gila to take official comments from the citizens of Grant County… however their planning probably continues.
In every example of planning I have given in this article, good men and women (some are just volunteers) are doing their best to make informed decisions. Whatever the outcomes, we should respect these men and women for the decisions that they will make, whether we agree or not. They are good people doing what they believe is correct. If you can't give these individuals or groups the respect they deserve, then you should sign your name on the dotted line to serve on a committee or serve in a public office.
For some, it's about doing the right thing for others. Red Skelton summed up his life nicely:
"I always believed God puts each one of us here for a purpose and mine is to try to make people happy. If I can make people smile, then I have served my purpose for God." Thank you, Mr. Skelton… I'm smiling!