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  November 18, 2011
Life Interrupted...


"So much time and so little to do...wait...strike that...reverse it...thank you" ~ Willy Wonka

My girlfriend’s daughter Mia is an alto in her school’s choir.  This last weekend I listened as she intently practiced her part for an upcoming recital.  Over and over again she warbled out the chorus to the song "Seasons of Love" from the hit stage production "Rent"... 

Five-hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes...

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred moments so dear...

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes...

How do you measure...measure a year?...

Perhaps since I’m a relatively young healthy person, five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes sounds like a lot of time to me.  It probably seems that way to a lot of people. 

It is so much time, in fact...that we waste many of those minutes each year doing absolutely nothing productive.  Of course, there needs to be rest and relaxation, not everyone can be "on" all the time but how many hours are spent sitting in front of the television, playing video games, read trashy novels, or surfing the web looking for funny videos?

If you were only given a year to live...then five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes wouldn’t seem like so much time at all...

Time is a non-renewable resource...yet we wake up each day thinking that we each have another day to live...

This past September, I had the opportunity to go on a 630-mile bicycle ride along the California coast with five friends who despite their middle-age, would be considered to be in top physical shape.  For 9 days, we each awoke at dawn, rode 50-100 miles over the time-span of 5-10 hours (counting lunch breaks and numerous photo opportunities). 

Each evening the six of us met for dinner to celebrate our accomplishments of the day and plan our course of action for the following day.  We shared our photos, thoughts and experiences of that day’s ride with the group.  We laughed about the pains in our joints and muscles, our sun-burnt faces, and our wind-chapped lips.  We rejoiced that we had safely completed the day’s ride without major incidence.

After nine days, on October 2nd, we crossed the finish line in San Diego, celebrated with friends and family and went home to our families.  We had embarked on the journey as relative strangers but returned as compatriots filled with a lifetime of memories.

For about a week after returning to our "normal lives", the five of us would continue to talk, email or text, sharing photos and memories of the ride after the fact.  In only nine days, we had become best friends and comrades.

Then in the late afternoon of Wednesday October 19th, my mobile phone rang.  The caller ID told me it was Therese, one of our riders, so when I answered the call I was surprised to hear her husband’s voice on the other end of the line. 

I tried to exchange some pleasantries with him but he quickly interrupted me by saying, "Jimmy...I have some terrible news for you"...

"Lori (another of our 5 riders) was at the gym this morning working out with her trainer when she felt a bit dizzy.  She sat down for a spell and then passed out.  The paramedics were called to the scene and she was taken to a local hospital.  After being examined by the doctors in the emergency room she was flown to the a major hospital in Salt Lake City where she was pronounced brain-dead due to a massive intra-cerebral hemorrhage."

I immediately thought he was joking...it couldn’t be.  Only two weeks ago she was riding her bicycle down the coast of California.  She was in phenomenal physical shape.  Now she was lying in a hospital bed waiting for her organs to be harvested.

After discussing some more of the details surrounding Lori’s death, I hung up the phone.

I slumped in the chair behind my desk and was emotionally numb.  I reflected for a moment about her smile and incredibly positive attitude along the ride.  She often talked about a cookbook that she was trying to publish before the holidays with 500 or more recipes.  I remembered our conversations about her flying lessons and about her children.  Each day along the ride she would amaze me with her extensive knowledge about the cattle (she and her husband were ranchers in Wyoming), business philosophies, geo-politics, and the media.  She was a talented musician and we chatted about jazz (Dave Brubeck’s decision to compose his famous tune "Take 5" in a seemingly complex 5/7 time) and popular music of today.  Lori was an active outdoors woman who ran marathons, skied, bicycled, rode horses and hunted.  

She was extremely active in her church and devoted much of her time promoting philanthropic causes but was respectful of other’s beliefs, refraining from attempting to convert people to her particular views.

Lori Barney was a true renaissance woman who lived each day to its fullest but it was her infectious smile and humility that made her stand apart from the crowd.  She listened intently to people and found ways to make everyone around her feel special.

She was an extraordinary person who I had only known for a few short weeks but who made such a positive impact on my life as well as the lives of others. 

When she awoke that Wednesday morning she had no idea that fateful day would be her last but I suspect that if she did, she would have been comforted by knowing that she gave life all she could give.

I suspect Lori would have forsaken all that she had or had accomplished for another five-hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes on this earth...or maybe simply another twenty-five...just so that she could tell those whom she loved the most...I love you and good-bye. 

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful support of OptiFuse these last ten years.  We truly appreciate your support as we try to make a difference in an otherwise mundane world of circuit protection.

Jim Kalb

Previous Blogs

Death of a Salesman...

Can You Hear Me Now?...

It’s the People Along the Way...

Something for Nothing...

Striking a Balance...

The Ride of Your Life...

Thoughts from the Road...

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