Posts Tagged ‘Saratoga’

Thoughts of Dad on Father’s Day

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since my dad, Earl Brindle died in December, 2006.

Earl N Brindle-official Army AirForce photo-1941

Over the past few years, I find myself having conversations with my father especially during my morning walks. I’ll be thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks. He doesn’t talk back but, in some way, I do feel his presence. He’s also shown up as a participant in my dreams. I’ll wake up and have to remind myself that Dad’s no longer “here”. I’m not sure what that means but were I to visit a psychoanalyst I’m sure that they’d have a field day with that information.

It’s odd because I didn’t have that many conversations with my father when he was alive.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and my father. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

My mother had been mythologizing Dad for my brother, Alan and me ever since we were kids. In Mom’s eyes, he was perfect in every way. And my father was a terrific role model: self-educated, intellectually curious, ethical, compassionate, generous, friendly, self-deprecating, great sense of humor, civic-minded, concerned citizen, loyal & devoted husband, interested & involved parent, honest, reliable, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. A solid, upstanding role model. As the first born son of a role model like this, it’s not a total surprise to me why I’ve had a problem with authority figures all my life!

Dad grew up during The Great Depression. He would have easily done well in college but his parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send him. So, he did his best, served his country during World War II, worked hard, provided for his family, weathered adversity, and lived a productive, honorable life. We Baby Boomers may feel like we’ve been having a tough time during these past five years but my father and most others of his generation lived through and survived during much tougher times. Somehow, they made it through and managed to thrive. Rather than whining and bemoaning our losses, we need to learn from their example, do what’s best for our country and humanity, and get on with our lives.

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right. I’m still his work in progress.

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. (He would have loved watching American Pharoah win it this year!) When I moved to Saratoga and took Dad to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me how to fish (again, unsuccessfully), and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good parent. Hope my kids feel the same about me one day.


My Enhanced CX (Customer Experience)

Yesterday, I was having a problem renewing a couple of my website domains via my GoDaddy account. So, I called the customer service hotline.

The guy who was assigned my call was efficient, learned about my issue then promptly fixed my problem and explained why I had encountered the difficulty. That was standard operating procedure.

What surprised and delighted me was what happened next.

Based on my information, GoDaddy’s rep knew that I lived in Saratoga Springs, New York. So, he asked me what I thought about jockey Ramon Dominguez’s accomplishment of winning 6 races at Saratoga Race Course over the weekend.

His question started a conversation about the work I’m doing for the New York Racing Association this summer at Saratoga Race Course and about his family’s love of horse racing. He told me that he often takes his kids to Santa Anita in California but that his relatives have been to Saratoga and have recommended that he visit, too. He then told me that he and his family were planning to vacation in Saratoga Springs next summer. I told him that I thought they would really enjoy their visit, wished him well, thanked him for his help, and we ended out conversation.

For me, it was a terrific customer experience. Yes, we resolved my business problem but there was also an emotional connection and exchange of humanity. My opinion about and trust of GoDaddy was definitely improved by the experience.

In GoDaddy’s follow-up questionnaire, I suggested that they give that man a raise. I hope that they take my recommendation seriously.

Isn’t It Lucky?

Last Sunday night, I have to admit to feeling uncomfortable watching the spontaneous celebrations outside of the White House following President Obama’s announcement that Osama bin Laden was dead.

My friend, Joe Templin, author of FINANCIAL MISTAKES OF NEW COLLEGE GRADS, provided some perspective. Joe reminded me that most of the people we saw celebrating were either in elementary school or middle school ten years ago. In their minds, they’ve lived most of their lives under an impending threat of terrorism. For them, it’s similar to the threat that we Baby Boomers felt about the potential for nuclear annihilation during the Cold War. Joe’s explanation helped me to better understand the students’ reaction. To them, it probably feels like an ending. I suspect that isn’t so.

Don’t get me wrong. A person with bin Laden’s list of crimes against humanity deserved a death sentence. However, as I watched the student’s celebrations and listened to their joyful shouts of “USA! USA!” the word tawdry came to mind. Perhaps the word I was really looking for was inappropriate. Probably, it’s my primarily English heritage and New England background but It seemed to me that a more reserved reaction would have been more dignified. We know we’re #1. The world knows that America’s #1. Why rub their noses in it. Isn’t our tendency to do so a major reason why they hate us?

I remember watching an old movie, “Saratoga Trunk” in which the character played by Ingrid Bergman is told that she’s beautiful. She responds: “Yes. Isn’t it lucky?” I’ve always admired that response and the sentiment behind it. Bergman’s character acknowledges that her natural beauty is a blessing which has been bestowed upon her rather than an attribute for which she is responsible.

It’s the same for us Americans. We take so many of our privileges and liberties for granted. We believe that it’s our right to vote even though we make little effort to actually be informed about what we’re voting for or against. As one friend defined that attitude, who needs facts when I can have an opinion!?!

I have faith that the core American values of fairness, equality, justice, industry and integrity will eventually win out against fear, evil and ruthlessness. When we triumph, I hope the primary image that history remembers won’t be of a Styrofoam index finger pointed skyward bearing the words “We’re #1!”.

Photos courtesy of DoctorMacro and CBS News

Opportunity Knocks In Saratoga County, NY!

If you’re looking for quality of life, new career opportunities and a place that’s stepping up to the challenge of change in the 21st century, consider New York State’s Tech Valley Region.

Saratoga is equidistant from Boston, New York City and Montreal. Winters aren’t too hard, summers aren’t too hot. If you like outdoor activities, you’ll like it here.

Learn more at

The Saratoga Season

Today marks the start of the 2009 Saratoga Season which is a major cultural event for those of us who live in New York State’s Capital Region equidistant between New York City, Boston and Montreal. Unlike at most race tracks in America, thoroughbred horse racing at the historic Saratoga Race Course is a family affair where moms, dads and kids outnumber the cigar-chomping Oscar Madison-type old men and picnic near the paddock

Tim Wilkin, who’s a sports columnist for Hearst’s Albany Times Union, listed some of the questions and concerns regarding this year’s Saratoga Season in today’s paper:

• Super filly Rachel Alexandra working out in the morning at the
Oklahoma Track.

• Can trainer Todd Pletcher recapture the magic?: Pletcher tries to
reclaim perch as dominant Spa trainer.

• Rain: The spring and early summer has had lousy weather. Can
Saratoga catch a break?

• Bird is the word: Could have Derby winner Mine That Bird and
Belmont winner Summer Bird in Travers. And Rachel Alexandra…?

• The house: If all three come to the Travers, how many people are
going to come watch?

• Great 2-year-olds have run at the Spa in the past. Perhaps the 2010
Derby winner is in the house.

• One for the old man: 8-year-old Commentator goes for his third
Whitney win.

• Twilight racing: Two cards this year. More people like it than don’t.

• No clear cut choice to win jockey riding title: Alan Garcia, Johnny V.,
Edgar Prado just three who could take it all.

Read more about this year’s Saratoga Season at