Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let Me Introduce You To -----

I am amazed at the number of people I meet in the course of my everyday activities who, when I take the time to talk to them, have a great life story. Ordinary people who are unique, or talented, or giving, or all of these and more. People who are unassuming, or flamboyant, or terribly shy, or even have a physical or mental handicap but are doing something noteworthy. People deserving of being recognized for what they are doing or have done but are not the type to seek the limelight.

I have a long list of such people and I have decided that I will take it upon myself to at least give them what little recognition my humble blog with its limited readership can provide. I have been mulling over the idea that perhaps this would be a good topic for a weekly meme. What do you think? Do you have noteworthy people in your life that you would like to honor? Would you participate if you had the hope that by introducing them to your fellow bloggers they might get a smidgen of the acclaim they deserve? Sound off and let me know what you think?

For my first honoree, I would like to introduce you to a man I have seen around town for years and have spoken with on numerous occasions. I encountered him again this week sitting on a stack of soda boxes at a gas station. His name is Norman Ruck.
Back in 2002 Norman was given a blinking light bow tie as a birthday gift. It is one of those tacky novelty items people purchase as a gag gift for someone having a milestone birthday. Instead of storing the bow tie away in a drawer as most of us would do, Norman decided to wear it everyday and see how many new people he could meet because of it.

Norm is now 87 years old. He is a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific and was seriously wounded just weeks shy of the end of the war. He has outlived most of the men he served with. He now spends his time adding new members to "Norman's Blinking Bow Tie Club."

Norman never leaves home without his blinking bow tie. When anyone asks him about his tie he invites them to join his Blinking Bow Tie Club. Before presenting them with a membership card pulled from a stack held together with a wide rubber band; Norm asks them to agree to follow the club's only firm rule. That rule is to spread cheer with a smile everyday. If they agree he collects their name and address in a small notebook. He then enters their name on the membership card and presents it with great fanfare.

I would love to share my card with you but since switching to a Apple computer, my scanner no longer works. It is a business size card and very colorful. The front has a picture of a blinking bow tie and lots of bright stars. It reads "I belong to Norman's Blinking Bow Tie Club." On the back it reads "This is to certify that _________ is a member of Norman's Blinking Bow Tie Club. There are no fees or dues. Wearing a blinking bow tie is optional. All members agree to spread good cheer with a smile.

Since forming his club in mid 2002 Norman has worn out three blinking bow ties and countless batteries. At the time of our visit last week he had collected 8,358 members from 16 countries. Norman has also written his biography, that his daughter typed and bound into a book. It contains many photos from his interesting and diverse life. When I first learned of the book I asked where I could purchase a copy. Norm told me there is only one copy and he loans it out to anyone interested. Each person is allowed to keep the book for two weeks. Norm says the book has been in continuous circulation for the last five years. My name is now on the waiting list.
As you can tell by the cap Norm is wearing in my photograph, he was recently a member of one of the local honor flights to Washington DC to visit the World War II memorial. His flight was not without some unscheduled problems so he is now planning to pen a new chapter to his book about his experience.


  1. What a wonderful and heartwarming story! I loved it!

  2. This story just brought (happy) tears to my eyes, Rita! I think your "meme" idea is a great one ... we all need more positive-ity in our days!

  3. What a great story! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  4. That's my dad's cousin! Norman is a really nice man.


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