Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’!
Looking on the bright side of things
“Oh, what a beautiful mornin, Oh, what a beautiful day….”
A timeless lyric from Rogers and Hammerstein’s 1955 classic film: “Oklahoma!” Not to mention a must-watch movie/play if you’re going to call yourself an Oklahoman.
That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, and I hope you are too. With all the stresses of this on-going pandemic and sluggish economy, even the fact I have not worked since November 13th (the longest stretch of unemployment for me ever), I have still been waking up with that feeling. I wasn’t always so chipper.
I used to work with a radio DJ who went by the moniker “Lunchbox.” A funny, whimsical nickname that was perfect for him.
He was notorious for always looking on the bright side of things. I worked with “LB” for many years on 97.5 KMOD, and he is one of the things I miss most about my time with iHeartMedia. However, I will forever be grateful for the time spent with him because I always try to make it point to look for the best things in people and allow them to fill a spot in my heart and mind forever and make me a better person. And Lunchbox (real name, Kevin Bennett) is one of those people who, if you’re lucky enough to have them in your life, you will be better for it.
Quick rock radio story: Every year on January 7th, I’ll always think of LB because it was on that day, after my radio show, as I turned off my microphone and grabbed my headphones to walk out the studio door and BS with LB for a few minutes while he walked in to plug-in his headphones and get ready for his radio show that he got a text from our program director, DC. As I said “hasta manana” to LB he said, “Hold up, uh I just got a text from DC. Neil Peart may have just died??!!”
Neil Peart, aka “The Professor,” is the drummer of one of my favorite rock bands, Rush. His lyrics and drumming style were a huge influence on my life and that of my older brother Roy and many of my friends. I immediately went in the other room to get the facts and prepare the sad announcement on Lunchbox’s afternoon show.
In this blog, I’ll talk about the things that get me out of bed in the morning in such a happy mood. If you’re in a rut, hopefully it will inspire you to remember to seek those silver linings. Also, I’ll talk about the non-profit partnership I chose this week. It’s not so much a “non-profit” as it is a public service partnership with Tulsa Health Department. I’m volunteering with their Phase 4 COVID vaccine rollout.
It’s been 136 days since I was terminated from my dream job. I’ve never gone this long without working. I wasn’t always in radio. I’ve had many jobs, like Little Ceasars, UPS and Kodak film processing. (Remember camera film?)
Even my last two years of high school and while attending college, I had part-time jobs at Jaqua Gun Club, Marathon Oil and Findlay Car Wash. When I was terminated from another great radio job in Austin, Texas, in 2001, I was bummed. But at least I was single with no kids, and I could easily follow my dream to another market, which I did. And a bigger market at that, Dallas-Fort Worth. I was heartbroken to leave my twin sister and nephews in Austin but beyond excited to be a radio DJ in market #5 and see my beloved Dallas Cowboys stadium just driving around doing my daily-life stuff.
Much different these days when on-air radio jobs become more and more scarce. And now, although single (again), I have kids with moms in Green Country so yeah, moving would be exponentially more difficult. However! With the awesome friends and influential contacts I’ve made over the years, I am excited to see what path my future holds. I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for something to come to me, so I’ve got some fun “irons in the fire” that I’m excited to tell you about in next week’s column. Till then, tune-in Thursday at noon on Facebook to find out more.
Looking on the bright side of things: New Opportunities
There may be fewer and fewer on-air radio jobs available because of the pandemic and technology. But also because of technology, there are more ways to bring entertainment to the masses such as my new TulsaKids Magazine blog, social media platforms, and more.
Looking on the bright side of things: Spending Time with my Kids
I’m a social person, always have been. But because of the pandemic, everything shut down, and we as people were supposed to stay as hunkered down as possible to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. So, I missed my co-workers, kids’ teachers, daycare instructors and beer-drinking friends! However, also because of that, I have had incredible time with my kids. Some of which I have written about in previous blogs and will continue to do so. My kids and I have grown so close in the past year. Yes, we’ve clashed, but that’s to be expected in these stressful times.
Looking on the bright side of things: Help from PSO
It’s very scary to be without a paycheck. However, with the Recovery Act that passed, I have some breathing room to take care of bills and do my best to give back to the community. Even if I don’t have money to give because I’m not working, I have TIME and elbow grease to give, which I am doing every week. I’ll ask you to watch my Facebook Live video every Monday at noon to see what I’m up to and join me! Plus, I am going through orientation and training this afternoon to become a volunteer with Reading Partners. I am going to help children with literacy challenges, and hopefully they will become lifelong readers.
Also, since I have no income, there are organizations that can help, including Public Service Company of Oklahoma. They have a “Home Weatherization” program if you meet certain requirements. If you do, they will send out a company called Titan ES. They inspect your house to see if your house is drafty. They literally turn your house into a giant vacuum. It’s really cool! If your house is “leaky,” they will do things like bring your attic insulation up to code, install door seals and caulk windowsills. Free! Here they are working on my house:
Looking on the bright side of things: Phase 4
This week we have surpassed an incredibly sad milestone of 550,000 deaths from the coronavirus. And Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shared her feelings of “impending doom” warning of another surge if we do not continue with the “three W’s.” However, we have the vaccine distribution going well for the most part. In Oklahoma, we are at Phase 4, which means any Oklahoman can now get the vaccine if you’re at least 16 years old. In previous blogs, I talked about my experience getting my Moderna shot #1. Shot #2 for me is April 13th. I’m very excited about it and will be blogging about that experience AND volunteering with Tulsa Health Department and their efforts to get shots in arms and will tell you more about that next week.
Here is the Tulsa Health Department link to sign up for your COVID 19 vaccine: Home (oklahoma.gov)