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The Cat’s in the Cradle

In 1987, when my son, Ben, Jr., was 12 years old, I was concerned that he needed a structured after school activity. His mother and I had divorced, I was traveling a lot due to business opportunities, and I was concerned about what he might be doing after school until his mother came home from work. My quick solution to this problem was to convince him to play football at the Boy’s Club. Two years earlier, he had played Boy’s Club football, but it had not been a good experience because of his coach. This coach was so bad, he had been dismissed from coaching by the Boys’ Club - and he was an unpaid volunteer! So, the next two years Ben, Jr. didn’t want to play and I didn’t press it. But n

Making the best of it!

In my early life, I often had to make the best of it. Times were hard and we were poor. But, even though we were poor in funds, we were rich in so many other ways. We had loving parents, my sister, two brothers and I were tight knit and supportive, and I learned many valuable lessons that have made my life what it is today. Much of the “wealth” of my childhood came from wonderful parents who worked from home. They were always there when I left for school and were always there when I got home. You may think how astounding that was - both parents at home - but their attentiveness was greatly influenced by our bedrooms being connected to the small country restaurant that they owned and ope

Leave Something For the Next Guy

Back in the late 70’s, former Alachua County Judge John Connell and I purchased a 94-room motel in Atlanta from a real estate investment trust. Due to the motel’s very low occupancy rate, they were going to tear down the motel sell the property for its land value. When John learned of this via a contact in Atlanta, he asked me if I'd go in as a 50/50 partner. After looking over the physical condition of the property, I inquired of the motel manager about their occupancy rate. When she told me they averaged renting 16 rooms a day from that 94 room property, I went in to problem solving mode. I asked the manager if they tried renting rooms out on a weekly or monthly basis, and she said,


When I was in my early 30’s, I was driving a very long, very boring, very brown, 4 door Buick. It was a good car but it wasn’t me. I had in mind a car with a sportier, yet professional, look. I didn’t want just any car; I wanted the car my Dad said was THE best car ever made. That car was a Mercedes Benz. When I was a child, our family couldn’t afford one, so we drove a Ford. As my father regaled the qualities of a Mercedes, I told myself that I would own that brand of car one day. And, on that day in my mid 30’s, this is what I wanted to buy. Before I made this bold purchase, I mentioned it to some family members and friends. The consensus was, that driving a Mercedes would appear ostentati

The Sky's The Limit

When I was in the 10th grade, I enrolled in a Journalism course. It interest me as I had aspirations of being a sportswriter or sports broadcaster (of course, after my highly anticipated pro football career!) After a few weeks of classes of Journalism concepts, our professor, Mr. Ring, gave us a multi-week assignment to write on a topic of our choice. I was very excited and began writing about my favorite subject: sports! I poured myself into the assignment. It was a bit longer than he had required and I added quite a bit of “flavor” to the piece. After a few weeks, I was quite pleased with it and was anticipating an “A.” I even thought, “This is so good, I’ll probably be asked to read

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