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Mrs. Hunter, My First Boss

By Tim Hayes It’s been said in the business world that the most troublesome — yet potentially game-changing – variable in any organization comes in the form of people. The hiring process, when you get down to the nub of it, can be a tremendous gamble. You may get lucky and hire the perfect candidate, […]

CPO Coat

By Tim Hayes Thirteen is a tough age. You’re still figuring out where you stand on the chessboard of popularity. Who’s in, who’s out, who’s knocking on the door. The steamy, sticky ooze of peer pressure seeps into your consciousness, setting up housekeeping in your brain, until you evict it somewhere after high school graduation. […]

Musings at Mid-Flight

By Tim Hayes As my consciousness burst forth from what had been a sound sleep, I could tell I had somehow become airborne. Or, perhaps more appropriately, earthbound. Twisting like an Olympic diver, I saw the nightstand whiz by. After my jaw had smacked off and been scraped by the sharp metal corner of it, […]

Field of Screams

By Tim Hayes Making a living as a self-employed entrepreneur has its advantages. Freedom, variety, exciting engagements, continually keeping abject terror at bay, to name just a few. But ranking near the top, for me anyway, comes the dress code. When with clients, of course, it’s business appropriate. But when working from my home office, […]

Proven Wrong, Thank God

By Tim Hayes The first time I saw the place, it made me confused, angry, and upset. Eight years later, I got married there – loving it then, and loving it still. Allow me to explain. My family had piled into the Chevelle and taken the 60-minute ride to visit one of my cousins, a […]

Glasses, Tinted Rose

We said goodbye to my mother-in-law this week. What follows is my eulogy, a tribute to someone who – despite wearing “rose-colored glasses” – was not naïve. She was optimistically realistic, always seeing the good in people and situations, making her so easy to love. Rest in peace, Mom. Glasses, Tinted Rose From the hills […]

Beefsteak Blessings

By Tim Hayes Our eldest daughter, an accomplished professional woman now, with two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, celebrated a birthday this past week. Our pride in all she has done and become has no bounds. This story occurs some years ago, when she was a lot smaller and the world seemed a lot simpler. […]

A Single Tear on a Silent Nigh...

By Tim Hayes Nothing felt right that Christmas Eve, and it had put me in a bad mood. I followed my parents, sisters, and grandmother into church for Midnight Mass, only to find that “our” pew – the one we had populated for years – had been usurped by a bunch of “twice-a-year” Catholics.  So […]

Revisiting 25 or 6 to 4

By Tim Hayes Anyone who writes for a living has been there. You’ve done the interviews, you’ve collected the information through research, the “reporting” part of the job has finished. Now comes the second act. Reading through all those notes and printouts and scribbles on one side of your desk, and glancing hesitantly at the […]

The Richest Man In Town

By Tim Hayes It started bubbling up, right on cue, as I knew it would. As soon as Mary throws open the front door and waves in half the town, with scatterbrained Uncle Billy carrying a large laundry basket full of bills and coins, dumping it onto the dining room table – I can feel […]

Plum Pudding

By Tim Hayes Of all the things I miss about Thanksgivings spent as a kid, few can be felt more keenly than going to my Aunt’s house with her family and mine sharing the bounteous feast together. First off, I loved this Aunt. She was naturally funny, warm, expressive, and embracing. I always felt happy […]

Long-Haired Music

By Tim Hayes Imagine being part of a sea of 2,500-plus dancing, shouting, singing revelers as the huge windup of the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” builds…Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhhh, WAAAAAAAA!!!…Shake it up baby! Twist and Shout!” Any guesses where this happened? At one of those knock-off Beatles tribute band concerts? Nope. On the streets of […]

Uncle Jim

By Tim Hayes My Uncle Jim was a bear of a guy, a man’s man, and it was impossible not to like him. He and my Aunt had three daughters, and since my Mom and Aunt were sisters, our family spent a lot of time at their house, and vice versa.  I loved them all, […]

Blockbuster Civility

By Tim Hayes We upgraded our cable TV service not too long ago, opening up expansive (and expensive) new vistas of options to waste time vegetating on the sofa. Indulging in one such stretch the other day, I discovered the “Buzzr” network, where they show old game shows. Clicking on something called “Blockbusters,” I settled […]

It’s Only Temporary

By Tim Hayes The evening prior to leading a day-long intense training and coaching program with about 60 managers of a global manufacturing company, a participant joined our table at dinner and struck up a conversation. This person was very much looking forward to hearing new thoughts and approaches to developing material to be presented […]

Towers

By Tim Hayes “’What do we do now?’ “Go back and watch any movie and you will see this line over and over again. And I dread reading scripts that have no women involved in their creation because inevitably I get to that part where the girl turns to the guy and she goes, ‘What […]

Finish the Play

By Tim Hayes So often in sports, especially football, during the post-game news conference a coach will lament a team’s loss by attributing it to not “finishing plays” – meaning that players failed to sustain their intensity and focus for the second longer it takes to make a tough catch, or tackle a speedy receiver, […]

Wisdom Highlights

By Tim Hayes Got a haircut the other day. For the past couple of years, as the clippings fall from my head onto the black cape, it jars me to look at the collection of snipped follicles collecting on my lap. Apparently, I’ve been turning steadily more gray with every turn in the stylist’s chair. […]

Rooftop Absolution

By Tim Hayes “The event is being held on floors three and four, Sir,” said the trim fellow holding the door open for me the other evening. Three and four? What did that mean? I followed the other attendees to the elevator and we all stepped off on the third floor, where the obligatory hors […]

Chain Break

By Tim Hayes For as long as we’ve lived in this neighborhood and its extended environs, we’ve seen him. Sweating in the summer, huffing in the winter, but always there. Like the tides, regular, predictable, a steady presence in an otherwise turbulent and chaotic world. Running. Down the steep quarter-mile roadway to the closest main […]

Sometimes the Tuba Loses

By Tim Hayes “Hayes, come and see me after school today – there’s a question I have for you,” said our high school band director. “Okay, Mr. B,” I replied, wondering whether I’d done something that would land me in trouble. Turned out not to be trouble, exactly. Only troubling. Later that day, in the […]

Bus Stop Stories

By Tim Hayes Driving out of our cul-de-sac the other morning, I spied a cluster of little kids, backpacks slung, faces eager and a little anxious, surrounded by moms looking every bit as nervous and excited. It’s been a few years since our little neighborhood has had that many young children, so the corner bus […]

Hatchet Job

By Tim Hayes Oh, the things we do for love, as the ‘70s pop band 10cc once sang. If only this story were about 10cc. Alas, it is not. This particular tale revolves around another band from that same era, Molly Hatchet. The mere mention of that name still sends shivers. Allow me to explain. […]

Normal

By Tim Hayes Some 25 years ago, the diagnosis first came down. Type 2 diabetes. Not really knowing all that the news would entail, life moved on. A new doctor added to the mix, some advice about diet and exercise, blood tests every few months. Not a huge imposition or swing to a radical alteration […]

Optical Delusions

By Tim Hayes On a rainy weekday lunch period in May, my friend Ken sat across the cafeteria table in our high school as we talked about moving on to college and whatever came after that. Ken liked math. He was good at it, and would go on to major in business and accounting. He […]

Landing at Dunkirk

By Tim Hayes As we climbed into the dark brown Chevelle, all of us, my Mom, Dad, and two sisters, for the drive up to Niagara Falls on a few days’ vacation, I immediately got into a scrap with my siblings over the usual topic. The middle seat in the back. The one with the […]

The Golden Rule(r)

By Tim Hayes At the age of nine, the lesson came home to me in a very real way. Courtesy of the Golden Ruler. And that’s not a typo. Although I suppose the Golden Rule could factor into the story, if you really want to stretch things. No, I mean the Golden Ruler. As in […]

Chef Is Displeased

By Tim Hayes After celebrating 37 of them, we have come to appreciate every wedding anniversary for the wonderful observance it represents, even as the details of one year’s celebration to the next have taken on vastly different directions and colors along the way. We’ve spent days luxuriating at mountaintop resorts. We’ve spent quiet evenings […]

There She Was…Smiling At Me

By Tim Hayes About three days before the wedding, when I was already living in our apartment in Indiana, PA, while my wife-to-be was still living in Pittsburgh, the phone rang after I got home from work, my sister on the other end. “Promise you won’t be mad?” she asked rather sheepishly, knowing how my […]

Falsity, Facts, and Facebook

By Tim Hayes The well-spoken, erudite, respected U.S. Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, uttered a few memorable sentences during his years serving under the Capitol Dome. But, as a one-time professional and ever-in-my-heart journalist, one of my favorite Moynihan-isms remained this gem: “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled […]

I Listened to the New Sound of...

By Tim Hayes The neighborhood kids thought nothing of walking up the hill to the main drag of our little borough, climbing on a bus or trolley into Downtown, walking around the streets and hitting the big department stores and sporting goods shops and pizza places. Just another way to kill time on a summer […]

Don’t Hit The Floor

By Tim Hayes Family legend has it, as my father got the word while in the waiting room at the hospital — because dads didn’t get to go in the delivery room back then — that a son had been born, he did what Hayes men have done down through the generations. He passed out […]

Mastering One’s McGoogles

By Tim Hayes In the silly, funny, harmless, but otherwise forgettable 2001 Disney film, “Max Keeble’s Big Move,” the school bully, Troy McGinty, is regularly – and hilariously – laid low, quivering in fear and tears, at the sight of a TV-character frog named “McGoogle.” Don’t ask. When he’s not throwing smaller kids into lockers, […]

Thank You, Col. Burnham

By Tim Hayes Among the back pages of a magazine many years ago, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, a small ad caught my eye: “P.O.W. Bracelets Available. Let them know you haven’t forgotten them.” For a nominal fee, I sent in the form and a few weeks later, received my Prisoner of […]

The Importance of Strategic Pa...

By Tim Hayes During a coffee shop conversation with a young student from my college alma mater the other day, I heard him say something that made me pause a second. “I think if you’re a decent person who works hard, you’ll do pretty well,” he said. It gave me pause not because I didn’t […]

Moms Are Awesome

By Tim Hayes “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington The Father of Our Country knew how important his mother was to his bearing, his success, his life. And if good old […]