Washington’s Birthday or Presidents’ Day
William Lloyd (Bill) Flatt 1929-2018
Winning Workplace Etiquette — in Personal and Professional Life
No Such Thing as Perfect
Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do
“All that is good in our history is gathered in libraries. At this moment, Plato is down there at the library waiting for us. So is Aristotle. Spinoza is there and so is Kats. Shelly and Byron and Sam Johnson are there waiting to tell us their magnificent stories. All you have to do is walk in the library door and the great company open their arms to you. They are so happy to see you that they come out with you into the street and to your home. And they do what hardly any friend will– they are silent when you wish to think.” ― Will Durant
1. Washington’s Birthday or Presidents’ Day
Contrary to popular belief, the observed federal holiday is actually called “Washington’s Birthday.” Neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to Presidents’ Day. Additionally, Congress has never declared a national holiday binding in all states and each state decides its own legal holidays. This is why there are some calendar discrepancies. Historically, Americans began celebrating George Washington’s Birthday just months after his death, long before Congress declared it a federal holiday. It was not until 1879, under President Rutherford B. Hayes, that Washington’s Birthday became a legal holiday, to be observed on his birthday, February 22.
Washington’s birthday was celebrated on February 22 until well into the 20th Century. In 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law to “provide uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays.” By creating more 3-day weekends, Congress hoped to “bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation.”
Today, George Washington’s Birthday is one of only eleven permanent holidays established by Congress. One of the great traditions followed for decades has been the reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address—which remains an annual event for the Senate to this day.
In a sense, Washington’s birthday helps us reflect on not just the first president but also the founding of our nation, the values, and what Washington calls in his Farewell Address, the “beloved Constitution and union, as received from the Founders.”
GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY. Although the federal holiday is held on a Monday (the third Monday of February), George Washington’s birthday is observed on February 22. To complicate matters, Washington was actually born on February 11 in 1731! How can that be?
During Washington’s lifetime, people in Great Britain and America switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (something most of Europe had done in 1582). As a result of this calendar reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates. Those born between January 1 and March 25, as Washington was, also had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar. By the time Washington became president in 1789, he celebrated his birthday on February 22 and listed his year of birth as 1732.
2. William Lloyd (Bill) Flatt 1929-2018
William Lloyd (Bill) Flatt, 88, of Condon passed away Tuesday, January 16, 2018 in Vancouver, Wash. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Condon High School gym Saturday, March 3, 1 p.m. A potluck reception will follow at the Condon Grade School Playshed. As Bill was a proud American, the family welcomes those honoring Bill with their attendance to also honor our flag by adorning any type of red, white and blue.
Bill was born April 26, 1929 in Moro, Oregon to Vernon and Lillian Flatt after they had relocated there from North Dakota. Bill commented every winter that while his Dad may have made a few mistakes, moving from North Dakota wasn’t one of them. He was later joined by a brother, Bob, and sister, Lois. He graduated from Moro High School, and later from Eastern Oregon State College. After college, he worked for 1st National Bank in Moro and helped his father with the family business, Flatt’s Truck Service.
Bill met Peggie Cloe in The Dalles and they married in 1950. They moved to Condon bringing Flatt’s Truck Service to the area. Flatt’s local freight soon expanded to include Arlington, Fossil and Kinzua, also transporting livestock, U.S. Mail and household goods for the surrounding communities, including the Condon Air Force Base. Soon after he was persuaded by School Superintendent Ferman ‘Tub’ Warnock, to purchase two school buses. That agreement eventually led to seven buses and a highway coach affectionately named ‘The Blue Devil Bus.’ So was born Mid-Columbia Bus in 1956. Bill enjoyed the early years of MIDCO when he drove the Blue Devil Bus for sporting events, watching his favorite team compete, interacting with the players who affectionately called him ‘Curly’ and making sure the officials knew he was keeping an eye on every call.
Bill, along with Peggie, learned to fly in 1960 and he remained an avid pilot for 40+ years. Flying became a valuable tool for his business, allowing him to see customers and employees face to face always giving the ‘family touch’ no matter the distance from home. In 1976, Bill purchased Schreiner’s Chevron and constructed a new facility for the growing bus business. In 1990 he purchased M&A Auto Parts adding hardware to the business and relocating it to the S.B. Barker Building after an extensive remodeling, leading to it being placed on the National Historical Register, the first to do so on Main Street.
Fifty-nine years after buying his first school bus, and growing MIDCO from two buses to over 900 operating in 52 school districts in Oregon and Idaho, Bill sold the business in 2015 yet always remained vigilant in following MIDCO’s success.
Bill and Peggie raised five children in Condon, Doug, Kevin, Laurie, Bruce and Jeff. He was always active in the community and loved Condon. He served on the Condon City Council, was president of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Condon Fire Department, and lighting the July 4th fireworks display was a source of pride for him. He served on the Blue Mountain Council of Boy Scouts and was a Scout Master. He sat on the board of directors for Meadowood Speech Camp, was Master of the Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge and was on the East/ West Shrine Football Game Committee. He was a lay reader in the Episcopal Church.
Bill was a charter member of the Condon Elks Lodge, serving as Exalted Ruler in 1959, District Deputy in 1963 and Oregon State Elks Association President in 1974. He went on to serve as Chairman of the Elks National Americanism Committee carrying the flag in the opening ceremony of the National Elks Convention in Chicago in 1996. Bill was inducted into the Oregon State Elks Hall of Fame in 1999 and stayed actively involved as a Past State President until his passing. He was an avid outdoorsman not missing many deer or elk hunting seasons over the years with his sons. Tent camping with his family was a yearly vacation and was always a favorite.
For many years Bill and Peggie planned motor coach trips to various locations and had a good following of people that traveled with them wherever they were going as they knew it would be well planned and enjoyable. Bill developed Macular Degeneration in 2008 and had to trade his airplane and car keys in for an electric scooter, saying he went from a top speed of 180 mph to 9 mph overnight. He soon adjusted to scooter travel making room for co-pilot ‘Dewey.’ He moved to The Quarry Senior Living in Vancouver when unable to live alone. He enjoyed being near family and the independence his scooter gave him to local stores. Survivors include his faithful companion Dewey; son, Kevin and wife Sandy of Spokane; daughter, Laurie of Vancouver; daughter-in-law Cindy of Joseph; son, Bruce and wife Ellen of Cove; son, Jeff and wife Mellia of Rainier; 13 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Peggie; son, Doug; son-in-law, Gene; and granddaughter, Steffanie. Memorial contributions can be sent to OHSU Foundation, Elks Children’s Eye Clinic Building Fund, 1121 SW Salmon, Suite 100, Portland OR 97205-2020.
3. Winning Workplace Etiquette — in Personal and Professional Life
• Never drop in on anyone unexpectedly. Call ahead instead.
• Always arrive a few minutes early; there is no such thing as fashionably late in business
• You’ve got two ears and one mouth; use them proportionately.
• Take an interest in others and learn to ask questions to get people talking about themselves; you will be perceived as a great conversationalist.
• Learn to give and receive compliments. When you receive a compliment, accept it graciously. When you make others look good, you make yourself look good too.
• Always be positive, and think before you speak!
Confused About Casual Dress?
Dressing casually in the workplace should be considered a privilege, although many people consider it to be the norm. Years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine going to work dressed in jeans, but today many people do.
Although some people claim that dressing casually increases efficiency, others feel it decreases the decorum in an office. Some people believe that casual dress is here to stay, while others say it is on its way out. Formal Friday’s and Dress Up Days are new themes in some offices.
Employees may enjoy dressing casually, but not all customers appreciate the relaxed attire. After all, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish an employee in an office from the delivery person, and in a retail establishment, this can be a problem if it is difficult to identify someone to help you.
Many people equate casual dress with casual activities; relaxing, running errands, exercising or cleaning. However, what you wear to work should be dictated by industry standards and customer expectations.
The following should never be worn in a business environment unless specified by your employer.
- Sweatpants or sweatshirts
- T-shirts with slogans or graphics
- Over-sized clothing
- Under-sized clothing
- Sleeveless blouses or shirts
- Lounge wear
- Athletic shoes
- Open sandals
- Vintage clothing
Social Graces in Business Places…
The way you handle yourself is just as important in the office as it is at a business lunch, formal black tie affair or social function related to business. Some companies would never consider hiring someone for an important position without first taking them out for dinner. Why? Because the way a person handles him or herself in a more relaxed atmosphere can be very telling. Company picnics and holiday parties can be potential problems: mix a festive occasion, a party after hours, and plenty of free food and alcohol and you have a potential disaster.
Tips for successful meetings, dinners and other work-related gatherings:
- Don’t drink excessively
- Don’t wear suggestive clothing (too much skin or cleavage, mini-skirts or anything too tight)
- Don’t flirt
- Don’t hover over the buffet table and don’t stuff your face
- Don’t bring a casual date to the office party or bring someone uninvited
- Don’t gossip about others
- Don’t whine and moan about work or your boss
- Don’t get too personal in your conversations
- Don’t brown-nose or lavish praise on yourself for your accomplishments
- Don’t give gag gifts unless specified to do so
- Don’t monopolize the conversation or talk about yourself too much
- Extend yourself to those you don’t know well— take an interest in others by asking questions and showing interest in what is being said
- Remain standing as much as possible — you will appear more approachable to others
- Stay close to the person you are with and be sure to make the appropriate introductions
- Stick with safe and light conversation topics
- Know how to make introductions and always include some information to provide the basis for a conversation
- Always keep one hand free to offer a handshake
- Wear name-badges (if provided) on your right side
- If you are not sure if you should give a gift to your boss, consider making a donation to his or her favorite charity or by writing a cheerful note and expressing appreciation for your job, boss, etc.
- Have something to eat before the event so you won’t feel the need to stuff your face
- Move around the room rather than plopping yourself down in one spot for the evening – this will enable you to mingle and talk with different groups of people
4. No Such Thing as Perfect
Are you a perfectionist? Do you know anyone who is? Let’s talk about the drive to be perfect and what it can cost you.
What is so bad about being good? Nothing at all. But trying to be perfect can cost you a lot in terms of mental health and harmonious relationships. You see, people who can mobilize themselves in the face of tough problems are usually folks who don’t worry about being perfect. They are happy to move ahead with a partial solution, trusting that they will invent the rest as they go along. Obstacles become mere detours on the road to the ultimate goal.
Now, perfectionists will try to tell you that their relentless standards drive them to levels of productivity and excellence that they could not otherwise attain. But often just the opposite is true. Perfectionists usually accomplish less, because they waste so much time paralyzed by fear of failure. They will not start anything until they know how to finish it without any mishaps, and that may be a mistake. While perfectionists seem to have a positive attitude toward whatever they are doing, sometimes it is creative avoidance with a different name.
Even though they don’t know exactly how they are going to do something, high-performance people keep their vision of the end-result uppermost in their minds and forge ahead anyway. They believe that they will get the help they need, find the resources they need, and figure out the how-to’s as they go – and they usually do.
If for some reason they do not achieve the outcome they wanted, high-performance people don’t waste energy beating themselves up about it. They simply learn from the experience and move on. High performance people are resilient and persistent, stay on target, and have confidence in their ability to see it through.
For humanity, there has never been the perfect book, perfect movie, perfect piece of music or musical performance, and certainly no perfect life. The best we can hope for is moments of perfection, that quickly vanish from our perception, leaving only the memory. Perhaps it is time to let go of the dream of unattainable perfection. How about we work on and grow toward higher performance, at whatever we choose to focus on? ~The Pacific Institute
5. Small Details
Don’t overlook small details. Remember that the universe and all that is in it are made from tiny atoms. There is an old expression that says, “If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” It’s another way of saying that every job is composed of many small details, any one of which, if overlooked, can create big problems later. If you have trouble dealing with details — paperwork, expense accounts, and other annoying details — set aside a time during your work cycle (daily, weekly, or monthly) to deal with such unpleasant tasks. Prepare yourself mentally to deal with those tasks, and you may find that you dispense with them quickly and efficiently. You may even find that the job wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as you expected it to be. ~Napoleon Hill Foundation
6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do