Category Archives: Panama Journal

Clara

I mentioned the other day that a new group had formed on FaceBook for Alumni of EDS. It has been amazing to see the group grow and I am enjoying getting reconnected with old friends from this amazing company.

Many have shared they memories and experiences and I thought I would post this experience of mine on my blog.

I will share another memorable experience from my 29 years with EDS.

One of the things I always appreciated about EDS was the support given to employees in time of need. I saw and received this support many times during my career.

While I was managing a group in the VIABLE account, I had an employee named Clara. She was a delightful lady and always had a smile on her face. Every morning she would stop by my office just to say hi and wish me a good day.

One day, I was notified that Clara’s mother had died in Georgia and that she was going to the funeral and needed to take some days off to take care of family matters.

EDS had an unwritten tradition of always having management at the funerals of close family members of employees.

I got the directions of the funeral and date and time and made arrangements to attend. I had to fly to Atlanta and rent a car and drive about thirty miles to a smaller town. I checked into my motel and then drove to a rural area where the family home was.

The funeral was the next day, but I felt I should pay my respects, see if Clara needed anything and let her know that I was there.

The house was fairly easy to find because of all the cars parked along the road. I knocked on the door and a family member answered the knock. I explained I was with EDS and there to support Clara at this sad occasion. Clara came to the door and while sad, broke out in a big smile and gave me a hug and thanked me for being there.

She asked me to come in and have some food that friends and family had brought. Having grown up in a rural area in Oklahoma, I was vary familiar with all of the support families provided those in mourning.

I told Clara I would be at the funeral tomorrow, but would let her visit with her family and friends, and I returned to my motel.

The next morning I got up early to make sure I could find the church and cemetery. I planned on getting there 30 minutes early because I didn’t want to get lost.

I found the church without problem and was directed where to park. I had several people come to my car and I explained I was Clara’s manager and had come from Virginia to pay my respect and provide support for Clara.

When they learned I was Clara’s manager, from the company that Clara had spoken so highly about, they told me the church would probably be full and for me to follow them and they would make sure I got a seat.

I was lead to the back of the church and escorted to a seating area on the left side. Directly in front of me was the minister’s pulpit and behind that was an area for the choir.

I felt very self-conscious for getting all the special attention and was even asked if I wanted to address the congregation. I said, thanks, but no, I was just her to show respect and support Clara.

Clara was my only black employee and I was now the only white person at her mother’s funeral. The church probably held a couple hundred people and was packed, with many people outside for the lack of seats.

There was singing, crying, stories of friendship and loss. It a was joyous occasion on a sad day. Following the church service, everyone walked to the cemetery. Clara made sure I walked with her.

Following the burial service, I told Clara to take the time she needed and to call me if she needed me to do anything. I turned to walk to my car and was greeted by a throng of attendees that wanted to shake my hand and thank me for taking to time to come to the funeral.

No one could believe that a company would show such respect for one of its employees.

Funerals are never enjoyable for me, but this one was different. It left an indelible mark that reminded how small things are often worth a lot more than money.

I have worked for several well known companies, but none to compare with EDS.

 

Getting Reconnected

I have been a very fortunate person. When I look at my life, I really have a hard time finding anything to complain about. Many years of my life were working for Ross Perot’s EDS. So many wonderful people and so many outstanding experiences.

Five days ago, a Secret Group was formed on FaceBook. You could only join if invited by another EDS Alumni. In five days the membership has grown to over 8,000. So many fond memories hit me with each new post.

For sure, my time in EDS was an amazing time in the U.S. in an amazing company with amazing people.

This post is is about one of those people. Joe Rowe was a person I met in the early 70’s. He was an individual that left an indelible mark on everyone that met him. I wrote about him in a post in 2008.

I am sorry to say that living in Panama created so many challenges that I lost track of Joe. That is I lost track until day before yesterday.

A thread was started on this new FB group, which listed him as one that was no longer living. Reading each name on this list gave me pause to think and feel grateful that I am still here. However, seeing Joe’s name brought back all my memories of him.

Luckily, the next day, he joined the group and reported that the rumors of his death were highly exaggerated.

I was able to find him on FaceBook and am in the process of being reconnected. If you had read my 2008 post on Joe, you know he was one of many that was hit with polio at an early age.

Here is what Joe wrote on his ABOUT portion of his FaceBook page. Continue reading Getting Reconnected

What Will I Do in Panama

This is an important question anyone wanting to move here should ask. Fellow bloggers Joel and Kris have done a good job of integrating themselves into the community they live in. Because of that, they recently were asked to be judges at a local bilingual school.

This appears to be one of the few bilingual schools I haven’t been in. It is always rewarding to interact with the young people in Panama.

Kris and Joel, I applaud you.

Here is Kris’s post of their day behind the judging tables. Kris also has several YouTube videos that are worth watching as well as a performance of Joel singing Love Potion #9 for the students.

Yesterday Was A Great Day

We got up and had a morning swim. Lilliam brought coffee to the pool and we commented what a beautiful day it was with the sun coming up.

I answered emails and around 9:45 AM we headed out for what I thought was our run to Costa Rica.

As we got to McDonald’s Lillim told me to slowdown because she had forgotten something. I pulled into McDonald’s and she informed me that she had forgotten to tell me she was taking me out for a breakfast of sausage, eggs, muffin, potato cake and Pancakes all topped off with a cappuccino.

When she had brought the coffee to the pool, I completely forgot about having breakfast. We enjoy going to McDs for breakfast, now and then. We returned home again where I was lavished with a couple nice gifts and then we left for Costa Rica for real.

It had been some time since we went to visit with Lilliam’s uncle and his family. They live just inside Costa Rica and we slip in the back way to avoid having to go through the passport checkpoints at Paso Canoas.

I always have a great time. They are the friendliest people one could ever imagine. At the present they have four generations living in their home. Family is important in latin America.

They had a new puppy that spent most of the day on Natalie’s lap. I had to check the car twice before we left for home to make sure Natalie wasn’t hiding her somewhere.

It started raining about 2:30PM and rained until we left around 7:00 PM. We drove home in a very hard rain. My least favorite part of the day.

We made it home with no mishaps so it was a very good day. Lilliam returned with a couple new plants for her garden. Koki checked Natalie out when we got home and realized she had not been faithful and then ignored her for the rest of the evening.

I watched the last hour of Dr. Zhivago, which I has started to watch on Saturday. When I turned it, I reminded myself how lucky I am. It just doesn’t get better than this.