Fork in the Road

Yogi Berra once said when giving directions to a friend, “when you come to the fork in the road, take it.” We all “take it.” We often don’t know where our path will lead us. As we approach the New Year, we often consider if we will take anew path.My mind this past week has been racing after the first contact I had with my best childhood friend who I haven’t seen or heard form for half my life, about 23 years. We grew up next-door neighbors and were inseparable throughout our childhood. His call came as delightful surprise and a troubling reminder how lives so close can take such divergent paths. I learned of decades of alcohol and drug abuse – now thankfully - hopefully - demons in his past. I learned of his ongoing disability after being hit by a car while riding on the back of a motorcycle. A couple kids having a fun afternoon drive. We talked about our childhood plan to go away to college together in Colorado. I find myself living in Colorado (more by accident than plan) almost 30 years later shepherded with two college degrees. He did not have the privilege of going to college.Like everyone, my life has not been all fun and games. I have seen my share of heartache, tragedy, divorce, and struggle to raise children in a world with some moral challenges. Yet, my existence has been blessed compared to many – including my old friend. He’ll visit me in Colorado on the weekend you read this message giving us the chance to learn from each other and to begin to share again.Our lives diverged when I left to college and my life turned to learning. Though learning was always an important value, my path to higher education was more the exception rather than the rule. Neither of my two older brothers went to college, my parents immigrated to the United States after being displaced from Poland in WWII before high school. Yet, learning remains an important value they instilled in me. Learning coupled with faith and fitness are my life’s “foundation.” I continue to invest in these pillars. Education eased my path. How I wish my old best friend - and you - benefit from ongoing education to ease yours.Please continue to learn; if you choose to do so with and NSPF product – great. If you choose another path to learning – that’s great too. There are several industry links to the right of this article that are good sources.I wrote this note about a year and a half ago. It still speaks to me as clearly today as it did back then. My older brothers still work very hard to keep their households solvent. The year 2009 does not look like it will be any easier for them. My friend still fights his demons. I still have my challenges and yet am blessed by the things I have. If the fork you took is not working, the good news is that learning is available on every path. Make a commitment today to one thing you will do to further your education. Share it with us here on the PGN so we can cheer you on – and be inspired by you.Every day we have a fork in our road. Please build your future through education. It may be a little harder in the short term, but will make life easier in the long term. Have a great New Year.[Edited from the NSPF Newsletter, April 2007]
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Comments

  • I will Mary. I am absolutely supportive of the VGB Act intent. Unfortunately, the implementation can increase the drowning risk by reducing swim lessons (if safe pools are closed). It is tragic that the implementation can conflict with the Act's intent. I hope wisdom will prevail when it comes to enforcement.
  • Blessings of the Holiday,Tom. Thanks for your commitment to aquatic safety and your efforts to talk about drowning prevention as the intention of the VGB Act at every opportunity. Best regards, Mary
  • Tom,
    Thank you for the wonderful story. I can relate to the divergent paths you and your best childhood friend took. It must have been interesting to discuss where each had been and where you both hope to go. Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderfully prosperous New Year. Please tell Sylvia and Tracynda the same for me ~ Wes
  • Thanks Rex,
    Merry Christmas to you too and to the entire Pool Genius Network!!! I look forward to helping create a safer and PROSPEROUS New Year.
  • Merry Christmas Tom, and thank you for all you do for the Pool Genius Network, and for the entire pool and hot tub industry.
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