Hello Dolly!

By Mark Bowser

In many respects, Dolly Madison is America’s forever First Lady. Her infectious personality captured her contemporaries with love and affection. Dolly has done the same thing for generations to come as she came alive to us through our history books.

Who could forget her courage and determination during the War of 1812? As the British were marching on the White House in 1814, Dolly wouldn’t leave the White House without the famous portrait of George Washington that was painted by Gilbert Stuart. Over her dead body would she allow the British to destroy the beloved first president’s image.

As nervous servants wanted the first lady to evacuate, she refused until the painting was safe. As nerves were fraying, they desperately tried to unscrew the eight-foot frame from the wall. The frame stubbornly held fast. With the British only moments away, Dolly ordered that the glass be broken and the canvas painting be taken out. She and the painting then made their escape just in the nick of time.

But, if it were not for a bum of a man she would have never met her husband James Madison and she would have never become our first lady. Some would even refer to this bum as a criminal … or even a traitor. And, who was this evil man who made such a historic introduction between lovers? That man was Aaron Burr.

Aaron Burr? The one and the same. Yes, the man who was Thomas Jefferson’s vice president who attempted to steal the presidency from under Jefferson as his running mate. Yes, the same Aaron Burr who killed Alexander Hamilton in a dual. So, how did he bring Dolly and James together?

Earlier, Burr had served in the senate as the senator from New York. At that time, Washington D. C. hadn’t been established as of yet and the nation’s capital was in Philadelphia. When he was in town, Burr often would stay at a boarding house that was run by Mary Payne.

While staying at Mary Payne’s boarding house, Burr had the opportunity to make an acquaintance with her widowed daughter Dorothea “Dolly” Payne. Just like most everyone, Burr was taken in by her infectious personality. Though Dolly and Burr never got romantically involved, they became friends. Burr then introduced Miss Dolly to his friend James Madison who was a never married, shy single man of the age of forty-two who happened to be a congressman from Virginia.

And, as the say, the rest is history …

Subscribe Now to Mark’s popular podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and other podcast platforms. This article, “Hello Dolly” is Episode 62 in the audio podcast.

As Iron Sharpens Iron

By Mark Bowser

The shadowy figure sailed toward the unsuspecting craft. What was it? A sea monster? Maybe a ship? It was a ship. The Merrimack opened up its cannons and in short order obliterated the wooden Union vessel.

The Merrimack then continued on its journey taking out any Union vessel it came across. The Civil War had been raging for a year and now the Confederates had a vessel which seemed to be invincible.

But how did the Merrimack come into existence? Earlier in the war, the Confederates had sunk a wooden Union vessel. After some time, the Confederates decided to try to salvage the sunken enemy vessel.

After bringing it to the surface, they discovered that the hull was in pretty good shape. They decided to cover it with iron. They placed slanted sheets of iron at the top making a metal shield that would repel cannon balls like rain to an umbrella. The Merrimack had vengeance in it’s iron heart and was ready to ravage the Union forces.

After a day of glorious victory after victory, the Merrimack and its crew settled in for a well deserved night’s sleep dreaming of a similar adventure for the next day. But, they would soon find out that they were in for a surprise of their own.

The next day, the Merrimack set sail on its course again, but in the near distance they saw a very odd looking vessel. It sat very low in the water and had a very flat, dark deck. In the middle of the craft was a little rounded box that butted up a few feet from the deck. What on earth was that? Oh well, the Merrimack would take care of it too.

The odd looking craft sailed directly towards the Merrimack like an alligator sneaking up on its prey. It was the Monitor. The Union’s own iron fortress of the sea. The Merrimack soon found out what that box was on the top. It was a gun turret that could swivel in any direction. No matter what invasive maneuver the Merrimack would attempt, the Monitor could aim its humongous guns upon her.

The battle waged on and on with both iron vessels holding their own. Finally, the Merrimack gave up and sailed away. With the Monitor on patrol, the Confederate Merrimack would think twice before venturing back up through the Union forces again.

Ingenuity and inventiveness are two of the human beings most admirable traits. Wake yours up today and go to battle against your most pressing challenges.

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Get Fired Like Edison

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The Seed of Impact

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Episode 54: The Seed of Impact

If not for Farmer Fleming … the history of the world would be different. Find out what the good farmer did that impacted history in such a dramatic way.

Mark Bowser is the author of several books including Sales Success with Zig Ziglar, Jesus Take the Wheel, Nehemiah on Leadership, and Some Gave It All with Danny Lane which was endorsed by Chuck Norris.

Mark Bowser is one of the best Professional Business Speakers in the United States. He has presented seminars to Southwest Airlines, Ford Motor Company, Sony Music, United States Marine Corp., FedEx Logistics, Purdue University, Delta Faucet, and many, many more. For more information or to inquire about booking Mark for your next conference or event, then please visit http://www.MarkBowser.com.

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A Visit From The Mailman

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Yankee Doodle Came To Town …

“Yankee Doodle Came to Town — Learn the history behind this famous American song”

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It’s All About Ironing Boards

By Mark Bowser

In 1905, Florence Butt founded the H. E. Butt (H-E-B) grocery stores in San Antonio Texas. For decades they dominated the grocery store market in the Lone Star state. That was, until Walmart came to town.

Sam Walton started Walmart in 1962 in Arkansas. A couple of decades later and Walmart dominated the market not only in Arkansas but also in Texas.

As you can imagine, H-E-B probably didn’t have Sam Walton on their Christmas card list. They weren’t the biggest fan of Wal-Mart. Well, maybe they weren’t a fan, but they certainly were an admirer.

One day, Charles Butt who was the grandson of the founder called up Sam Walton and asked if he could come over and learn from his team. Sam said, “Sure. Come on over. I am not sure if I can help, but glad to help if I can.”

When Charles and his leadership team arrived at Walmart, they saw Sam at the end of a long aisle talking to a lady. Charles and his team walked up the aisle to meet with Sam. When he saw them Sam said, “Charles, I’ll be with you in a moment. I’m talking to this young woman.” Sam was showing the young woman an ironing board cover. Sam went on and served her and then he turned to help Charles and his team.

Before anyone could speak, Sam said, “Charles do you know how many worn-out ironing board covers there are in this country? Were going to sell a million this month!”

Sam was a smart businessman because he believed in serving people. That lady had a need and Sam had the answer. She got a quality ironing board cover that she needed and Sam made another sale. A true win-win. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.” I wonder if Charles and his team took it to heart? Just some food for thought.

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What the Milkmaids Knew

By Mark Bowser

As we are coming out of the pandemic COVID-19, I’m reminded of another killer that was far worse. It is estimated that the deadly smallpox disease killed between 300 million and 500 million people in history. It wasn’t quite a death sentence if you caught smallpox, but it was pretty close.

In 1763, Edward Jenner was a young apprentice to a doctor in England as he prepared for a medical career himself. One day, as the doctor was examining a young milkmaid, Jenner overheard the milkmaid contradict the doctor. The doctor told the milkmaid that she may have smallpox. The milkmaid expressed that it was impossible for her to have smallpox because she had had cowpox. She then told the doctor that everyone knows that once you have had cowpox that you never catch smallpox.

Before we go on, let me make clear a couple of terms that contemporary readers may not be familiar with. First of all, what was a milkmaid? Milkmaids were young girls who were hired by dairy farmers to milk their cows.

Another term you may be unfamiliar with is cowpox. Cowpox was a mild version of smallpox that the cows could contract and then pass it on to people in the form of sores, usually on their hands.

Edward Jenner never forgot that conversation he overheard between the doctor and the milkmaid. For the next 30 years he pondered it in his mind and in his heart. In his spare time, he would go to the dairy farms and just watch the milkmaids do their work. Was there any truth in the milkmaid’s claim?

On May 14, 1796, Sarah Nelmes who was a milkmaid came to Dr. Jenner complaining of a cowpox sore. Dr. Jenner had an idea and he decided to take a great risk. He took a tissue sample from the sore on Sarah’s hand and inoculated a healthy eight-year-old boy James Phelps with it.

As expected, James became ill with the disease but it was very mild. That is when Dr. Jenner took his greatest risk. After James recovered from the cowpox, Dr. Jenner inoculated him with straight smallpox. What was the result? James never caught smallpox.

Because of the wisdom of the milkmaid and the courage of Dr. Edward Jenner, today we have vaccines for all sorts of diseases and viruses. Even though we may not agree with the risk that Dr. Jenner took, aren’t we glad that we have the vaccines that his risk made possible?

There is no success without risk. As COVID vaccines are made available worldwide, we have not only Operation Warp Speed to thank, we have the milkmaids to thank as well. Oh, and let’s not forget Dr. Jenner. Thanks doc.

*Mark Bowser is the author of several books including “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar, “Nehemiah on Leadership,” and “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane (endorsed by Chuck Norris.)

*Mark Bowser is the host of the popular podcast “Let Me Tell You A Story with Mark Bowser.” Subscribe today at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and other popular podcast platforms.

Tear Down This Wall

By Mark Bowser

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The words are famous and they made history. But, those words were almost never spoken. In his wonderful history book, Rick Beyer shares how that line stayed in the speech and impacted the world.

So, how did it come about that President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 said those historic words at the Berlin wall?

It all started at a dinner party. Ingeborg Elz from Berlin hosted a dinner party for White House speechwriter Peter Robinson. At the time, Robinson was researching the speech that he was assigned to write for President Reagan’s address in Berlin.

In the midst of the conversation that evening, Ingeborg mentioned to Robinson that if Gorbachev really wanted to show that he cared about perestroika than he should just get rid of the wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin.

Perestroika is a term that literally means “restructuring” but usually refers to political reform that was taking place in the Soviet Union during the 1980’s.

Ingeborg’s words gave Robinson some ideas. But all the words that he put together as he wrote President Reagan’s speech didn’t seem to fit. He had writer’s block. After trying different word combinations, it finally came to him. He decided to be straightforward, blunt, and to the point. The result was the immortal words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

Robinson had felt that he had hit the right tone for the speech. Unfortunately, he was about the only one in the West Wing who felt that way. Secretary of State George Schultz hated the line and National Security Advisor, General Colin Powell felt that the line had too much of an edge to it. Powell’s fear was that it could provoke the Soviets into making a rash decision. But, there was one other person in the West Wing who loved the line. That person was Ronald Reagan.

President Reagan’s inner circle began to work on him to change his mind. They told the President that it could cause tensions and hurt relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. But, President Reagan understood that change usually won’t happen without some form of tension. Tension doesn’t have to be a negative thing. He also understood that sometimes you have to take a hard stand.

The debate about that sentence went on for days. Finally, the president had an exchange with Deputy White House Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein.

The President said, “I’m the President, aren’t I?”

“Yes sir, Mr. President,” said Duberstein.” We’re clear about that.”

“So I get to decide whether the line about turning down the wall stays in?” said Reagan in more of a statement than a question.

“That’s right, sir. It’s your decision.”

“Then it stays in,” said Reagan.

So, the President stood firm for his beliefs and convictions. What does history show? That he was right. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall came down. And finally once again Germany began to unite West and East into peaceful unity. Thanks for reading today.

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Peas in the Garden

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