Back in 1989 we purchased our first dog. Now back then, at least to us, a dog was just a dog. This was going to be a pet, a buddy and a furry critter to hang out with in the yard and take for walks.
Well if any of you have read my other columns you know that things didn’t quite work out like that. Our dogs (currently four) have become a major part of our lives. We show them, we hunt them and we run them in competitions. In reality we have built a pretty cool life around them.
In 1989 I was working for a printing company and happened to mention to our Human Resources Director that we had just purchased a pup. She was unusually excited and went on to explain that she “showed” dogs as a hobby and that we could come a long with her to a dog show that would be taking place in a couple of weeks. We could just help out and hold dogs for her and see if we liked it.
Jackie had little fluffy dogs (Shih Tzu’s actually) and personally I wasn’t really sure about all the “show” stuff, but we decided to try it all the same. After a couple of shows we decided that we were interested and went off to meet some people of our own kind (Brittany folks). After kicking the tires for a few months and meeting a lot of people we purchased a “show dog”. “Charles” would become a very good show dog, a good hunting dog and our little buddy for the next 15 years.
Anyway as the story goes, many of those people that we met when we were “kicking tires” have since become good friends and mentors to us in the show and field world of dogs. One simple invitation by my friend Jackie changed our lives in ways too numerous to mention.
Let’s fast forward now to 1995. The Twin Cities Aero Historians were hosting a Regional Convention here in Twin Cities. I had just gotten back into modeling and heard about the convention from a club member that was also on the Compuserve Plastic Modeling forum that I had been running. I decided to stop up and see what this was all about as I still thought that modeling was kind of a solo sport.
I spent a couple of hours wandering through the vendor room (beginning my shelf of doom!) and another couple of hours looking through the contest room. I was stunned by the level of work that was displayed and I was totally inspired by what I saw.
As I was leaving one of the guys at the registration desk stopped me and gave me some information about the club. He told me where they met and what kinds of things they did at the meetings. All in all he probably spent twenty minutes or so talking to me about the club.
The following month I showed up at a meeting and ran across the fellow again as well as the guy that I’d been talking to on Compuserve. They introduced me around to several members and I just remember not feeling so alone in the pursuit of my hobby. Little did I really know the impact this would have on my life. Once again many of my close friends have come as a result of the one guy that just took the time to invite me to a meeting.
I guess what I’m saying here is that you never really know what impact you have one someone by sharing your love for your hobby, whatever that hobby might be. You also will never know the impact that you may have by just being friendly and saying “hi” to that stranger at your next club meeting. Many of the people that show up are people just like me, who are looking to find like minded people to share their hobby with.
I know that I sometimes have a real problem doing this. I spend all week at work listening to complaints and fixing people’s problems and frankly by meeting Saturday I really don’t feel much like talking to anyone! Sometimes I have to remind myself why I’m going to the meetings in the first place and just have to break out of that shell once I get there. Once I do this I’m amazed as how things totally change and the love of airplanes and modeling really takes over. I almost always end up leaving the meetings in a far better mood than when I arrived.
Try it sometime, it’s really pretty cool! You never know what effect you will have on someone!
For this month I’d just ask that you share your hobby with someone (please don’t cuff them to a chair or table to do it however!). Now shut up and build!
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