Friday, August 21, 2015

I knocked; the universe answered

I was born in the year of the Dragon: 1952.

In August of 2009 I was in St-Johns Newfoundland. 2009 was a tough year. We almost cancelled the 2009 CSCS conference in St-Johns.  I insisted we march into the financial storm and carry on, to send a strong message that CSCS would not be deterred by mere financial chaos.

No good deed goes unpunished, so the universe sent hurricane Bill to cheer us up. Bwahhh hah hah! We laughed in the face of adversity!

When I saw a black baseball hat in the tower gift shop high atop Signal Hill I couldn't resist. It fit the bill perfectly. I wore it resolutely at the conference. Adorned with a menacing skull and crossbones it said "The beatings will continue, until morale improves".
A few years later, in the year of the dragon, the winter of 2012, I was visiting my brother-in-law in Florida. I was wearing my pirate hat.

Chuck saw it and flipped. Florida was still firmly in the death grip of the 2009 financial crisis. Chuck had to have the hat. I understood. I gave it to him without a moment's hesitation.

Chuck was so pleased, he enthusiastically led me to his closet where he had his considerable collection of baseball caps. For the most part, the collection was investment dealer and mutual fund swag, along with sports memorabilia. Chuck gave me the pick of his collection.

I went through the hats without much enthusiasm, until I found my dragon hat. I had to have it. It meant so much. My mother had given me many, many years before, a Chinese chop, my Chinese signature stamp, with my name in Chinese characters carved out of a solid block of jade. A beautifully carved dragon decorated the stamp. My mother explained to me that I was born in the year of the dragon.
I sometimes feel like a dragon, peculiar, strange, proud, sometimes fierce, courageous when it matters, somewhat mystical and a little bit mythical.

This summer, three years later, my dragon hat has suffered from constant use. The black is sunwashed. The dragon is still boldly golden, but that won't last forever. Then again, neither will I.

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I searched for the website of the Matthews Funds.  I used the 'contact us' page to ask for a new dragon hat as a hedge against future decay. I forgot about it. It was a message in a bottle.

Today, as we are deep in readiness preparations for our son Jonathan's wedding tomorrow, my son Andrew called out to me as I was wrapping up pool cleaning. "A package came for you!" he said, brandishing a square Fedex box.

I wasn't expecting anything.

I tore into the box eagerly. Leah's kind note fell into my hands.

And there they were!!!! I've got spares! An everyday, workin' around the house hat, a new goin' out on the town hat, and a dress hat!!!

Oh boy!
To you I say: "Is there something you need? Is there something you want? Knock on the universe's door! You never know what will happen. I started knocking a little too late in life. But it's never too late. Knock my friends, knock!"

To Leah Harold, Vice-President, U.S. Marketing, for Matthews International Capital Management LLC, thank you so very much, now you know how much it means to me. I will continue to wear the hats proudly.


RichardM said...

A great story with a strong message...

redlegsrides said...

Indeed, nice story. Year of the Dragon eh? That's the best of course....according to my mom who is also born in that year. I too have a chop, though mine is of a pig as I was born in the year of the Boar. I wonder where that is, should find it.

Trobairitz said...

Very cool. Enjoy the hat(s).

Dar said...

Very cool! Yup the universe has a way of hearing things from time to time!

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I've never heard of any of this before, certainly a fun discovery and from you, treasure. Thank you!

SonjaM said...

Great story! I had to look it up and learned that I was born in the year of the snake, whatever that might mean... But hubby is a dragon born child, so all is well ;-). Love the hat(s), and I am going to see you wear it! Yes?

Canajun said...

Great story. It's ALWAYS worth asking; you never know what the response will be.

David Masse said...

Thanks Richard.

I think that moto-bloggers understand. It's not that we're so special, but we are outliers who have chosen a path outside the mainstream. Somewhere along the way, each of us stepped outside our comfort zone.

David Masse said...

Dragons are obviously cool, and being so cool, might have 'a view of themselves' as a friend of mine was fond of saying. But when you have powerful wings and can breath fire at will, keeping your ego in check is sometimes a challenge.

David Masse said...

Now I know I'll have a dragon cap to wear basically forever.

David Masse said...

We so have to get together over a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.

David Masse said...

Doug you know how to make a guy's head swell. Thank you.

David Masse said...

I'll have to remember to wear it when we pick you up at the airport. Only days now.

David Masse said...

Amen... it's indeed a lesson worth learning.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Heather is a dragon! The Universe seems fond of her as well.

David Masse said...

Is Heather left-handed, like me?

I know a very influential and powerful lefty who once remarked to me when I teased him that he was another person with a birth defect, that the smartest people are left-handed.

Unconvential, surely, but smartest?

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Nope, she right-handed, but plenty smart :^)

David Masse said...

Here I sit, a little over a year later, in a new home, in a new city.

Susan, Jonathan, Vicky and I were wandering around in the Distillery District west of downtown Toronto, window shopping for art.

We ran into the fascinating work of Barbara Wybou. Barbara has a little shop where she sells her art consisting primarily of artful representations of the Chinese Zodiac using Japanese woodblock printing. In particular she designed mandala-like images of the rat and of the snake that even her friends, born in those years but suffering with rat and snake phobias, could love.

Barbara explained to me that the Chinese dragon, though it lives in the sky, has no wings, has antlers, and does not breathe fire.

As they say... 'the more you know'.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.