A E Weisgerber


Tours meet weekly at the cannon in front of Christ the Redeemer.
   It's 1984. A ghost sits near Beansie's bed. She tries not to breathe and bring attention to herself. It's just her and the ghost, and any words she liked to say to it seem like terrible, unlucky horseshoes. UUUUuuuuuuUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuu. Songs tottered up the leaders, over the rain gutters, into her room.
   Harper's Ferry had a ghost tour, coincidentally the weekend marking the 125th anniversary of John Brown's failed raid. On the tour, many people took photos of a man dressed to look like Brown, thinking he was a history aficionado. Many posed photos, him in the middle, but when the photos were developed, he wasn't there.
   Beansie walked through a parking lot and her legs broke, right at the top of her boots and she fell. She was very embarrassed and didn't want anyone to look. He saw.
   Beansie stayed there overnight in Harper's Ferry and had an experience. Her skin was cold all night. The Department of the Interior in Washington, DC received a number of photos from that weekend.
   A paper kite made with Sunday comics and bakery-cake strings and day-lily stalks snagged in a pine tree, so Beansie rose up and carried it ginger-down, bright, torn, and frail. She patched it up with dandelion glue. She tied bigger twigs on a new longer tail, because she didn't mind at all, the going up, the get, the red and white string.
   During one season, the tour guide had the kerosene lamp sitting on the mantle in the restaurant where the tour started and ended. And for nine consecutive Saturdays, the chimney of that kerosene lamp came off and went rolling across the floor. The lamp stayed lit on the mantelpiece, but it was as if someone forcibly removed and threw its chimney.
   Not terrified of heights, Beansie mounted the strong stone stairwell and started the climb. Granite became steel and finally pine, until the staircase was toothpicks. She saw a corona of dust, a ghost circle on a table-type altar. There was a piece of crystal, and if Beansie engraved upon it anything untrue, it shattered. She would never finish sweeping. There was always a vase tottering on the edge of a shelf.




I get all soft inside thinking about Blank, a great asset right in the heart of our team. I'm fortunate to count on Blank, who always has things up and running, and relays messages to everyone in a fashionable manner and—look there hah hah! I bet right now Blank is SnapChatting, Tweeting, and Instagramming! such a super way to serve the team! such passion! I've had multiple conversations with Blank—Blank's my go-to—and I find Blank to be dynamic, well-thought-out, and knows how to Lis-ten while also being very go-go-go. I mean, a lot of moving parts here, and I think you'll agree that Blank has that core competency of leadership to get it going on and I tell you something: when I met Blank I got the firmest handshake of my life and I said ho-ho now that's the kind of firm steering hand our inbound center needs, and I'm confident of that assessment. With Blank, there is a goodness there—I can almost feel my heart melt—and beyond that there is the wealth of knowledge and words of wisdom and Blank will be such a stabilizing force for years to come. Now, I'm going to open the kimono for just a moment, just a quick aside to tell you that my parents are leaving the country. They were here for thirty years, and they raised me here, and they told me now that I have this job, and a house, and a partner, I don't need them anymore and they are flying back to Wenzhou next week, and that impacts me, gotta get my ducks lined up. So Blank is my inspiration, Blank cares about our building and is willing to get in there and go 110 percent each day. Blank, even just this morning, noticed a picture was a little crooked, and I nearly cried from that attention to detail. Blank is always seeking the next big window. So please, please join me in a warm round of applause for this month's I Heart Success Leader: Blank!





on PIX: Four things: 1) For a short time, I helped a Creek Indian named Jack Rushing operate Ghost Tours in Morristown, NJ. It was glorious. People pasted our palms with ten-dollar bills. We were giddy with it. 2) The first time I wrote the sentence, "She will never finish sweeping. There is always a vase tottering at the edge of a shelf" was in a poem I wrote when I was fourteen. It means the same thing now as it did then. The poem was called "Noli Me Tangere," which means the same thing now as when Titian used it. 3) I recommend Russell Banks's biography of John Brown, Cloudsplitter.  Cloudsplitter was a working title for this piece. 4) I like how saying "pics" these days implies "...or it didn't happen."

on ORPHAN: I used to hope that this corporate speak, this jingo lingo, might somehow confine itself to business realms. No, no. Thanks to leadership institutes, TEDx, and commuter MBAs, it's everywhere. But sometimes, when I listen hard at a mandatory pep-talk, I hear desolate people aching in these word systems. Maybe they would call this sort of speechmaking "scaffolding."  That's a good one. I don't know how that word didn't make it into the story. Scaffolds, which are temporary structures that construct walls, also derive from a Vulgar Latin word that means "platform for hanging." And then I start thinking about 1984 and Brave New World, and, oh. I get a little sappy, in a Proto-Indo-European way. I know two ambassadors, two very old friends: heart and break.