Archive for June, 2010

Gallery Bistro, Dickerson Park Zoo

June 22, 2010

Berlin, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai….and Springfield, MO? …. home of Bass Pro Shop, Tracker boats, bible colleges, gateway to Branson (ugh), our 98 year old grannie; Dorothy, and a hopping downtown scene. In the last year I’ve been to some cool places but Springfield ranks very high now.

An aerial view of the Springfield skyline.

An aerial view of the Springfield skyline.

Check out the Dickerson Park Zoo great layout, friendly folks, $2 killer mini train ride, good snake and frog house and all the top mammals your kids could love. If you’re lucky you can spend half a day at the Fairgrounds next door checking out the champion livestock. I’m looking for funky rabbits or champion chickens myself.

Definitely visit the outstanding Bass Pro Shop with waterfalls, huge trophy size fish, and the best selection of outdoor gear and fishing equipment. Walk the downtown area and notice the fine historic buildings. Didn’t Jesse James or Pretty Boy Floyd visit Springfield?

Bella; our six year old, playing hooky from school with Papa to visit grannie had a fine fine fusion dinner at Gallery Bistro downtown. The menu ranks up there with the best in Beijing, Washington DC, New York…all in a homey town called Springfield (Missouri). Check out the second downtown experiencing renovation and get a great cup of Joe at Momma’s and fine smoothies.

Bella and I had a nice visit and great lunch with Dorothy; “I’m doing pretty well for being in such bad shape” after we were discussing her original teeth; all of them still fine at 98. We took her for a fine salad at Panera; always great value and a good stop. Then off to Bolivar for an espresso and back for a nap; wore her out. Didn’t Pretty Boy Floyd rob the bank in Bolivar?

As usual Bass Pro Shop puts out some outstanding products. Johnny Morris comes through as usual (ed. – like Brent Reynolds will for The Mad Bomber!)


Making a Man by Helping a Man

June 15, 2010
Some things never change...

Some things never change...

I was thinking the other day as our economic world crashes down around us how lucky we are to live in a country where our own personal economic disaster in some cases means we have to share a house with relatives and friends but still have cell phones, cars, TV’s and my favorite:  hot and cold running water.

When I visited relatives in Татаа́рстн a few years ago and stayed a week with 2 or 3 of my little kids (who is counting) I was so happy to find out they had cold running water in their 100 year old village house plus a new outhouse.

So I wanted to relate a story of misery, loneliness, and hope to all our friends out there:

When I was driving down Route 50 West in Virginia few years ago headed into work at Mad Bomber® and about to cross the Shenandoah River I spotted a guy coming out of the woods with a small bag. I thought right away he must have been sleeping in the woods and it was cold. I believe I was driving that long wheel-base black (and brand spanking new) Range Rover then; obviously before four kids and a lovely wife came into my life.  Anyway, I immediately drove to the next turnaround and went back up the road on that long hill which crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains (great training ground for 50 mile runs). I turned around again and pulled over near this cold guy, walking along the road. Imagine what he thought coming out of a night’s sleep in the woods and a shiny new Range Rover pulls up. God sent the limo and driver.

I asked the guy if he was headed to Winchester, Virginia, and he stated “yes”. He hopped in and off we went. I found out he was from the South and had been a successful cook but recently quit and walked out. Not just the restaurant but also out of town and hit the road. I understood he had a “break down” and had been visiting friends or family and was hitch-hiking towards his yet to be discovered destiny.

Dealing with China and production for 30 years certainly put me in a mental state near breakdown on a number of occasions, and so I completely understood and sympathized with this lonely man.  I offered to take him to the Mad Bomber® HQ, buy him some clothes, and find a place to live.

Once we got to work that day one of our Mad Bomber® employees took him out to buy clothes at the thrift shop and bought him a nice meal. When he came back he sure looked better and we gave him a bomber® hat to keep him warm.  Don Anderson our Mad Bomber® warehouse manager, at the time, offered to take him home and personally put him up in his house. Does anyone realize how nice life can be when you work with such generous people?

Our  friend eventually got back on his feet after working at Mad Bomber® for a while and started a course at a truck driving school. He graduated and started driving those beautiful big rigs with the full sleeper you see lustfully cruising on Route 66.

His road still had a bump in it. One day the truck company he worked for called and asked if we had heard from him. Nope. Seemed he had parked his rig somewhere and walked away. He was found soon after,  got his truck back and continued to drive.

Big Rig Big Dreams

Big Rig Big Dreams

So, if anyone is working with folks with issues, drug problems, or mental health challenges do be patient, thoughtful, forgiving, and supportive with boundaries. And let’s all reach out especially now and help folks who lost jobs, loved ones, or just need some kind encouragement. Reach out from work, home, your computer too….

Brent Reynolds