Don’t Get Tired

[A timely winter repeat from December 15, 2013]

My friend Al reminded me that in cold weather, it’s a good idea to check car tires since the cold will contract air pressure and tires can flatten out.  So, wisely I did.  And sure enough – my front two tires were low. Really low.  It was night.  Freezing cold.  So I drove to a gas station where they have one of those air pumps where you have to pop in 75 cents. I unscrewed the valve caps, had my air gauge at the ready and dropped 3 quarters. The machine kicked in and I applied the hose to the tire valve. Nothing happened.  The hose and valve were frozen.

Now this is not an issue that I’ve dealt with before so I went into the gas station where a lone clerk sat behind a thick glass partition. I explained the problem. “Valve’s frozen,” he said.  Hoookayyy. . .  “Stick the hose up your exhaust for a few minutes while the motor’s running and . . . . [he grabbed a lighter from the shelf and passed it under the window] warm your tire valves.”  “Bring back the lighter,”  he added. 

I went out and slid the hose a couple feet up the exhaust.  And let it sit for a few minutes.  And warm.  Then I fired the lighter and warmed the tire valves.  After a couple minutes, I took a breath, dropped in another 75 cents and applied the hose to the tire valve.  “PFFFFTT.”  It worked like a charm.  Whew!  The tire inflated and I brought the lighter back.  I thanked the clerk (offered him a tip – he declined).  “I used to drive a semi” he said.  “Used to happen all the time.  It’s one of those little tricks you learn.” 

Now you all know the trick.  🙂   


It began when I was four years old – selling water in front of my house on Division Street. The water came from an old garden hose and was delivered in one of four small plastic cups (red, blue, green, yellow). The price for a glass of water was one penny though on one sunny day, a man gave me a nickel. I usually made 10 to 15 cents a day. Big bucks, then. After a long day, I would carry the orange crate back to the house, toss the cups in the sink and count my money. The good news is that I paid no withholding tax on these profits (the statute of limitations for going after me expired in 1955).

Selling water led to peddling Kool Aid on the golf course. Then having my own business cutting lawns for two bucks a pop — “Scott’s Lawn Service” (I still have a few pencils left to prove it). There was work on Saturdays at the family business. As a Boy Scout, I worked at Camp Napowan for four amazing summers. Then college. Law School. Five pretty intense years as an Assistant States Attorney. Eight years off to work the family business – then back into the legal fray.

Thursday, December 31st, will be my last day of “work.” Retirement will come easy – given that since March, our offices have been closed and my work has diminished. And I’m ready. My career will end like the words of T.S. Eliot – “not with a bang but a whimper.”

Christmas 2020

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.   Luke 2:4-7

Here we are again! Christmas 2020.  Mercy – the days are often long but the years go fast. . . .

Our best wishes to all of you for a Happy and Blessed Christmas, New Year and Holiday Season!!

Further Reviews. . . .

The Kirkus Review in the prior post was a bit disappointing. I have to wonder if the reviewer finished reading Renaissance Hombre given some of the comments. It was curious to read that I have “no interest in fully exploring or questioning why these inequities [poverty, hunger] exist.  [Petersen] simply notes how lucky he is.” From my perspective – there is page after page of challenge, inspiration and hope:

The traces we leave behind . . .  may not mean much to us.  But they could mean everything to someone else.” 

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  What are you going to do with what’s left of it.” 

Gratitude. . . . . Inspiration to give.  Reasons to be grateful.” 

Who are the saints in your life?” 

Are we doing enough?  . . .  Could we do more to make the world a better place?   If every person – spurred by that simple query – did one extra act of kindness, charity or contribution each day, imagine how much better the world might be.” 

And on and on and on. . . . I much prefer to defer to the earlier critiques of Renaissance Hombre that are mentioned on the book cover:

This book is a treasure chest. Each entry is a golden nugget. Give this book to everyone you know.”
~ Marilyn Crow, literacy teacher

These stories will make you laugh and cry, and wonder where those simple times went, and question what is happening now. Read and enjoy.” ~ Carol M. Santora, photographer and philanthropist

Enjoy these entertaining slices of life, both humorous and serious. What stories might you leave behind?” ~ Sandy Haggart, founder, Feed the Dream

Renaissance Hombre – the Kirkus Review

Renaissance Hombre was just reviewed by Kirkus Reviews – an independent book reviewer based in Texas. Below is the entire review which was released on December 14, 2020 (with permission of Kirkus Reviews). It could’ve been better. But it coulda been worse.

Reflections on a Well-Rounded Life
by Scott W. Petersen
AuthorHouse (236 pp.)
$26.99 hardcover, $13.99 paperback
ISBN: 978-1-72837-234-1
September 18, 2020
A volume of blog posts offers personal anecdotes and addresses serious issues.

Petersen has been running a blog and posting twice a week since 2011. This book is a compilation of his posts over the years. Divided into 17 parts that move thematically rather than chronologically, the collection ranges from humorous childhood memories to book recommendations and is peppered with tidbits of trivia and historical facts. The posts cover both amusing and weighty topics. The author is at his best in the opening pages; the humor is delightful, focusing less on one-line jokes and more on the hilarity of various situations. It’s genuinely funny to learn that Petersen accidentally misdialed a pal’s number when he was a child and then promptly encouraged his friends to make prank phone calls. The author later rhapsodizes about the importance of comedy: “I like jokes. Humor. Comedy. The Three Stooges (are you kidding, Petersen?). The Honeymooners. Seinfeld. I like to laugh. A favorite funny movie? Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Or maybe it’s Airplane! Or Young Frankenstein. Or The Pink Panther. Humor is a great medicine. One of the best.” Petersen also displays sincerity in this well-meaning assemblage. He frequently speaks of tolerance, logic, and rationality when facing the thorny problems of the 21st century. But even when he includes brief quotes or vivid historical moments plucked from his research, his posts, often due to their short length, lack substance, especially for a diverse readership. While he asserts that some of the things he finds “downright icky” include “prejudice” and “intolerance,” he presents a world where, largely, he is not part of the problem. He clearly acknowledges inequality: “Even now there are those who are born into a life of abysmal poverty, suffocating hunger and crippling disease. Raised in countries ravaged by violence, hatred and injustice.” But he shows no interest in fully exploring or questioning why these inequities exist. He simply notes how lucky he is. An amusing but uneven collection.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 2600 Via Fortuna Suite 130 Austin, TX 78746

The Berry Washer

Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born. . . . and the day you understand why. . . . . Pretty profound. I have just discovered why I am here. I am the berry washer. . . .

Over the years, Donna will sometimes buy raspberries that sit in the refrigerator for weeks. They turn moldy and then we toss them. I’m a blueberry guy myself so raspberries don’t really attract my attention. But often I will wash all the fruit – stick it back in the fridge – and it’s eaten.

This morning, Donna asked if I would wash a container of raspberries. I said “sure” and went to work. And then it happened. . . . . Donna volunteered “you’re much better at washing raspberries than I am.” I blinked. And then it hit me. The wisdom of the ages sparkled in my brain. And in keeping with the admonition of Mark Twain, it dawned on me why I am “here.” I am the berry washer. And here I thought I was just here to make coffee and clean the coffee pot. To kill spiders. Put bowls on the top shelf. Take out the garbage. And carry bags of mulch to the back yard. It is comforting to know that I have a real purpose in life. . . . .

So this Old Guy. . . .

[A repeat from July 14, 2014] So this old guy goes to the golf course. “I’d love to play,” he says to the pro. “But my eyes are really bad. I hit the ball pretty well but I can’t see where the ball goes.”  The pro smiled – “I’ve got just the guy to pair you up with. Old Scott isn’t much of a golfer but he has got eyes like a hawk. I’ll put you and Scott together.”

So the old guy and Scott are introduced, shake hands and head for the first tee.  The old guy bangs his drive about 250 yards.  He turns to Scott “did you see where it went?”   Scott looks over “I saw precisely where your ball went.”  They get in their golf cart – and start rumbling down the fairway.  They drove and drove.  The old guy looks over at Scott “so where did my ball go?”  Scott rubbed his chin “gosh, I don’t remember. . . .”

Who Should Get Covid Vaccine First?

Who should get the Covid vaccine first? How about plaintiff’s lawyers? After all – aren’t they needed to sue doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, first responders, and businesses that try to survive by giving work to their employees? More than a thousand cases and class actions have been filed in a matter of months which claim that Covid-related ills are the fault of the aforementioned entities. And heaven knows – there’s lots more to come! Maybe Dick the Butcher (Henry VI by Shakespeare) was right . . . . .

The PhD of Boyhood

[A repeat from July 13, 2017]  Do you have a son? Grandson?  Want to improve his chance of succeeding in school and as an adult? Encourage him to join the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2012, Baylor University conducted a study of the impact of Boy Scouts – and Eagle Scouts – on society.  The impact was highly positive.  A synopsis of the study can be found at   

The Boy Scouts is by far the largest youth organization in America (2.6 million Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers and Venturers) and the best youth organization ever devised.  Eagle Scout service projects constitute the largest youth service initiative in history (150 million hours and counting).  And 3 million souls are alive today because they, their parents or grandparents had their lives saved by a Boy Scout.

On November 17, 2015, Michael Malone penned an article for the Wall Street Journal on Scouting.   Malone calls the path to the Eagle Scout award “the Ph.D. of Boyhood.”  I’m glad – make that lucky – I have my Ph.D. . . . .  

As a parent, you could not wish a better activity for your son or daughter than Scouting.  America desperately needs youth – and adults – who abide by the Scout Law – to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Wouldn’t it be nice if our politicians would abide by these principles (see post of September 12, 2011).   

[And as I offered on February 1, 2018, I do believe girls should have the same opportunity to become Eagle Scouts]