On the plus side

By PHILIP CASE State Journal Columnist Published:

In last Wednesdays newspaper I wrote about Daniel Deckers suggestion that all the world celebrate Positive Energy Day on April 27, a day, he wrote, devoted to cultivating positive thoughts, positive emotions and overall positive energy in both adults and children.

On Thursday, April 27, we here at Your Hometown Newspaper joined what may or may not have been a national celebration.

Taught from birth, I sometimes think, to question everything and everyone, its easy for we journalists to fall into the negativity trap. Even those of us who deal almost exclusively in the positive side of the news can be affected.

So a Positive Energy Day seemed like a real good idea for me and others who work here, too

After the column was published there were folks here who doubted I could stay positive all day long. Imagine that? I knew Id need to work at it but vowed to give it my best shot beginning at 12:01 April 27.

On the afternoon of the 26th I began devising ways to ensure Positive Energy Day would be a success at The Ol SJ.

First I read the entry for April 26 on my George W. Bushims calendar, given to me for Christmas by colleague Susan Riddell. Daily the calendar captures some of Our 43rds memorable linguistic moments. Since they dont flatter his speaking ability I thought it would be best not to be negative on Positive Energy Day by laughing at the Leader of the Free World.

Remembering the old Pillsbury slogan, Nothin says lovin like somethin from the oven, and having seen Amy Wallots picture which accompanied the story of Michael Lowenthal smiling from behind the counter at Old Kettle Candies, I gave Magees Bakery owners Charlie and Alice Schwartz a call at home since theyd already closed the store for the night.

Charlie answered the phone and I told him I wanted four dozen assorted doughnuts for Positive Energy Day.

Sounds like a good idea, he said. Ill help you out with that.

I told him that wasnt necessary since I was doing this for my fellow workers at the newspaper.

I dropped off to sleep with a prayer to the Almighty to please help me be positive all the next day.

Positive Energy Day

I was at Magees before 8 on Positive Energy Day. Charlie had the doughnuts ready.

Maybe I should get another dozen, I told him. I want to be sure there are plenty. He filled a box.

How much? I asked.

Ten bucks, he said.

I protested.

My wife said be positive and do it.

I handed him a $10.

The doughnuts were still hot and the aroma alone filled the car and caused me to gain five pounds before I arrived at the newspaper and distributed the boxes throughout the building.

With a smile I asked chief receptionist Shirley Barber to hook me up to the all-building paging system. I shared with them the Good News of Positive Energy Day, suggested they be especially kind to fellow workers and customers alike, and invited them to share liberally in the pastries provided.

With smiles on their faces they came from advertising, circulation, composing, the pressroom and the newsroom. Some asked if I was sick; others were just thankful.

As my late grandfather used to say of most anything that came and went quickly, those doughnuts disappeared like snow in the spring!

People from departments that have little communication talked and laughed. Some suggested we should have Positive Energy Day more often especially if I was going to provide doughnuts! Rick Kuiper, described by some as the nicest guy in the building, came by my desk often to see how I was holding up. Rick always has a kind word and a smile every day event when its not Positive Energy Day.

By days end all that was left of the doughnuts were the boxes and the warm feelings. Some asked when were going to do it again especially the doughnuts. And then they laughed, warmly.

I was reminded of a story by that ancient fabler, Aesop.

It seems as if the North Wind and the Sun argued one day over who could force a young man walking along the road below them to remove his jacket.

The North Wind went first. He blew up a bunch of clouds to darken the sky then began to blow and blow and blow at the young traveler. As the skies grew darker and the wind blew harder the man drew his jacket tighter and tighter to fend off the wind and cold until finally only his eyes were visible.

The North Wind gave up and suggested the Sun give it a try.

The Sun quickly dispelled the clouds to below the horizon, and stilled the wind, as the sky became a lovely blue. The Sun shined upon the man who looked up gratefully. Then he turned up the heat just a bit. Before long the sojourners head emerged from his jacket, then as he continued and the day grew warmer, he unzipped his jacket and removed it.

The Sun smiled warmly at the gruff North Wind.

Positive Energy had taken the Day!

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