Kiss me once, kiss me twice. It has been a long, long time. In the blizzard of 2017, some thoughts


Kiss me once, kiss me twice. It has been a long, long time. In the blizzard of 2017, some thoughts.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

I don’t know why just the right song seems so often to pop out of nowhere. I mean I hadn’t thought of Satchmo (Louis Armstrong 1901-1971) for a good long time. Why then does it feels so absolutely normal, indeed predictable, as the first flakes of our first Nor’easter fell, the grand notes of Satchmo rising at the appropriate time for any snowstorm in the world.

I am standing at the window in my office, The Blue Room, staring out into the wintry scene now developing. There are still tufts of grass that snow has not yet covered, and though there is not at this moment enough snow to justify their presence, the snow plows are here in force with their glaring noises, and air of pomposity. This is the beginning of the blizzard which the avid weather girls now cover, for it is now the day for the cute jeune fille.

For now it is mandatory to deliver weather with sex appeal. They know nothing about weather except what they are told to read from a page. Their job is to make minimum mistakes and look like they are going to a cocktail party even though the time is 6 am.

In days gone by I would at this time of the morning (just about 9 am) be dressed in my adorable yellow all weather outfit, the outfit which when wet smells of dog. I had just enough time before school to make exuberant snow angels. My brother complained as his snow was not always neat as mine always was. I always had first dibs on the pure snow and never failed to make the boisterous model. The incidental fact that this irritated my brother was an extra benefit not to be underrated.

The snow is falling faster now but cannot beat the wild range of remembrances of snow days gone by. It seems to me my life was divided into just two days: winter with its promise of the bountious snow and ice skating on the local pond; summer with scorching temperature and pink bodies soon burnt to the consistency of French toast. Seen one snow day, seen them all, you might say, but you would be wrong, because each day of snow creates a different montage. They may look the same, but there are no two flakes in the universe that ever are the same.

My mother served as Grand Marshal of the snow parade. She knew where everything was to be found. “Yes, Jeffrey, check the hall closet under the green blanket”. No request when it came to snow was too insignificant to produce the desired effect.

A lot of bubble gum could return a sled to service. How many mothers, particularly those of the millennium, could do as much?

She was young and vibrant then. Winter suited her, and Jack Frost nipped at her cheeks and created a thing of joy and beauty.

Although she had a job out of the house, she was always there to provide the breakfast she knew we would need. For once out of the house we were energy machines, paying no attention to anything but the snow which piled up outside our back door.

“Mind the ice!”

The trek to school — for we walked everyday except the worst — revealed new landscapes. Familiar objects were no longer familiar, but radically changed. The snow provided us with a whole new vista; one that we must touch, not just see. Otherwise, we wouldn’t believe. And so the tracks of my mother’s children went one way and another, thereby proving we were great explorers, not put off by the millions of pounds of snow falling from the unremitting gray sky. We defied it.

Neighbors we might not see for weeks at a time, we would take time to see as the snow fell and the blizzard blew. We all wanted to know what the old folks were doing (for any one above our tender age was certainly old no matter how young they might have been). These neighbors came out even as the first snow fell, so that they could clear the path the falling snow would obliterate in just minutes.

These folks would have to rely now on shovels and patience. Sometimes my mother would say “Knock on Mrs. Jenkins’ door. Make sure she has heat and she is alright.” In such ways my mother demonstrated what the word “community” really meant. Does anyone stop today to find out whether Mrs. Jenkins is comfortable at 88 and frail? Probably not. If she is lucky, someone from Community Services may take a moment to look in, but more often the line is busy. “If this is a life threatening emergency call 911.”

I think Mrs. Jenkins preferred the red-cheeked banshees who sharply tapped the glass and rapped rat-tat-tat, smiling the broadest smile. She would have been delighted to invite us all in for cocoa with little marshmallows, which every marshmallow connoisseur knows are manifestly superior to their bloated bretheren.

I see a hearty traveler on the sidewalk walking diligently, no doubt to his perch in the great University which scoffs at the very idea of Nor’easters. After all, it has lived through centuries of snow and ice and wicked contours which soon become nothing but mud and housewives shouting with asparity, “Wipe your feet!”

It is a wonder to me, after so many years, and so many deserts of mud, especially those creating themselves particularly for my birthdays, that these housewives did not become murderous. A kind of patience, restraint, even sainthood was expected. It was the hallmark of the lady of the house that she did not, as a matter of course, take a rifle off the wall and blow the encyclopedia salesman to kingdom come. We knew they were capable of it; their restraint, therefore, was heroic.

As we neared the school, I sometimes thought of my paternal grandfather, Walter. He was the dark horse of the family. A contractor, he helped build the local schoolhouse… grand in a full display of continental brick work. You see my grandfather, Germanic to the core, liked things that last. And so today, when he is hardly even a memory to anyone, that brick schoolhouse he built stands solid, as good today as on its inauguration. Yes, he was a dark horse. His metier was doing, not talking, and I admire that trait today more than I can say.

I think another word is owed to Grampy. He would sit in my grandmother’s kitchen each day… his chair never touched, much less sat in by anybody else. Each day after four would see him in his special chair. It was not patriarchal. It was made of aluminum, with a seat easily cleaned. This chair was as important as the Pope’s, and was the scene of far more judgments rendered ex cathedra.

Brief, laconic, rendered with a certainty that must be God-like… Grampy dictated the course of world events. There was nothing shy about his delivery. There was nothing shy about where he stood. And if he liked you, you got a double portion of his favorite potation. I often tried to advise his guests that one such drink was enough, but they never believed me until it was too late.

I would arrive in this scene of unadulterated family about the time my uncles appeared (for sometimes they worked for my grandfather and sometimes they did not); no one ever questioned my right to be present; no one hesitated to make some deflating comment if they thought that perhaps I was gaining an unfair advantage. Of course I was, and I dished back just as good as I got, probably even better.

The snow continues to fall. The weather girls are making one silly comment after another. Do we really need to know the temperature in Springfield, Massachusetts, or how many tree branches have fallen off in Arlington? So much information, so little that’s important.

I prefer my grandfather’s way of handling it. He’d listen, he’d grunt, and everyone knew precisely what that grunt meant. No one outside this careful circle ever learned how to interpret what to us was so clear and manifest.

I had one more trek to make, “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” The snow might abide… the drifts might grow… ’til my trusty bicycle was forced into the middle of the roads… dangerous as the sun fell low on the horizon. I was going home, and though I didn’t necessarily know it everyday, it sometimes did occur to me that all the to’ing and fro’ing, all the high flying and the low flying, were nothing compared to a single word just four letters long, “home”. It is a pity that I learned this lesson so late in life. Perhaps we all must be significantly detached before we see what we had, what we have lost and can never regain.

And so, in my mind’s eye I see myself and think on this, my 70th birthday, how fortunate I have been. I have kept more promises and traveled more miles than most. “You’ll never know how many dreams I’ve dreamed about you.” It has all been a long, long time.

Musical note

It is hard not to be seized by the wintry scene playing out before me. It is the cause of so many reflections. But when you add Satchmo to the mix, it is overwhelming indeed. That is why I have chosen “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” as the music for this article. Written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, it was released in 1945. You cannot get through it without the insistant tug of memory, because that after all is the important thing… the thing that defines you… and you must not resist it.

About the author

Over the past 50 years and more, Dr. Jeffrey Lant has written 61 books and thousands of articles on a wide variety of topics. He is the greatest lyric writer of his age. Don’t just read the books and articles, enter into their flow, for they will touch your heart if you allow yourself to have a heart.

To see Dr. Lant’s complete ouevre, go You will be reminded of just how powerful the English language can be.

Darlin’, everybody hustles. It’s just a question of how, when and where.’ A tale of pre-Katrina New Orleans and your business success.

starts this year on February 27th. This brilliant article will put you in the mood for high jinks.

Darlin’, everybody hustles. It’s just a question of how, when and where.’ A tale of pre-Katrina New Orleans and your business success.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I didn’t have to look for the perfect tune to accompany this article. I’ve known it for decades. “I’m still here“ from Stephen Sondheim’s incredible musical “Follies” (1971). It’s a song about grit, determination, doing what you have to do with the person you must do it with… to move up, move on, and force the big guys at the top to move over. This is the song you listen to on days when the recalcitrant world is just not going the way you want… it’s the song you listen to when you mean to change that… and try again, because that’s what winners do and losers can’t even imagine.

Go to any search engine now… go into a room all by yourself, the better to turn up the volume to the ear-shattering range… and let Sondheim’s incredible music waft you to the place of your dreams… then listen to what you have to do to get there.In the days before Hurricane Katrina, I used to frequently teach marketing communications at the University of New Orleans.

My classes were held on week days downtown and on Saturday’s on Lake Pontchartrain, whose name I loved, coming as it does from a great French statesman who had the infinite good sense to be painted by Robert Le Vrac de Tournieres (1667-1752). I loved that picture from the first moment I saw it… and I loved New Orleans, too, its people, its spirit, its often painful madcappery and self destruction.

When I came to know about “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole (published 1980), I read it with an avidity fed by its macabre history; (the author had to commit suicide before any publisher would condescend to review it; it then went on to win the Pulitzer Prize).

From the very moment I left my hotel room (where I spent the absolute minimum amount of time) adventures were drawn to me, because they knew I was completely receptive to them.

Her name was Yvette…

On my very first day in New Orleans (it was a Friday), I stayed in a big, fancy hotel just off the French Quarter. I never made that mistake again; on my many future visits I always stayed in a little hotel in the Quarter, steps from the wonderful people I met who filled me with admiration for their zest for living and unadulterated joy under unremitting duress.

The first person who met me (note the language) was a person who looked to me like Tinkerbell on something. He walked up to me and said, “Honey, I can tell you are new to La Nouvelle Orleans. Let me be your guide”. I had never, and I mean never, been spoken to like that… but I recognized in these words Fate’s distinctive messenger. I accepted, bought my guide a drink… and in due course, having gleaned without difficulty but with some incredulity that I was a writer, he said, “But you must meet Yvette.” Of course, I must. That too was Fate…

She was, as the French say, a woman of a certain age; that might have been anything from forty into eternity. I knew at once she had that unmistakable quality the Parisians call “chien”. Yes, I know that means “dog”, and its English connotations are not good… but she had, and unmistakenly, that mixture of age, chic, dress sense, allure and brass that forces one involuntarily to look back and be sad that vision is rushing to be with someone else. But this time, perhaps for the first time, this woman with a Past was going to influence my future… and I was ready to hear whatever she said.

The conversation turned to life… it always does in the French Quarter with such people as Yvette. With each drink (and there were many) came another piquant observation that convinced me “real” life and I had only a nodding acquaintance. Yvette knew the vicissitudes of life inside and out… and I was bright enough to pay close attention to her observations, often as diamond sharp as Madame de Sevigne (1626-1696). This one completely arrested my attention:

“Darlin’, everybody hustles. It’s just a question of how, when and where.” It instantly occurred to me that this is precisely the element missing from far too many of my business students and people starting and running businesses generally. They are running businesses; they are not hustling for success as if their very lives were dependant on it… and that was the reason so many of them were barely getting by and wondering why, when they were such good and proper folk.

It’s because they were missing what Yvette had to spare: hustle. In short they wanted success, but they wanted it on their terms… which just ain’t gonna happen.
YOU say you want success, but (for whatever reason) you are not willing to work all the necessary hours it takes to achieve success. SUCCESS says, “You will work as many hours as it takes to capture me… not merely the hours you wish to work.”

YOU say you want success, but are not willing to work evenings, week-ends, even standard holidays. SUCCESS says, “If you want me, you must be willing to sacrifice time you’d like to use for other things. Choose!”

YOU say you want success, but you’ll only do jobs that make you such-and-such amount. SUCCESS says, “If you want the money, stoop to conquer. When you’ve got the money you want, then you can afford to be so picky. But that day hasn’t dawned yet.”

YOU say you want success, but your spouse is doing everything but put you in a cage to make sure you can’t achieve it. SUCCESS says “Sugarbabe, there are more good women and men in the sea than those who’ve come out. Dig my meaning?”

YOU say you want success, but you’ll only look at business opportunities that cost you nothing. SUCCESS says “Lambikins, ain’t nothin’ ever come from nothin’. You’ve gotta invest to get a return on that investment.”

Still more…

YOU say you want success, but you are not willing to do the necessary homework and due diligence to ensure that what you do delivers the substantial rewards you want. SUCCESS says, “Quit trying to beat the system. People who make money are constant, never-ceasing students of success. They review each and every thing to understand how it works… then follow the directions EXACTLY to achieve success. They are not trying to cut corners, because they know that doesn’t work.”

YOU say you want success but once you get some, you don’t gun it to get more. SUCCESS says, “Every successful person on earth has a success system. They know that if they do X, they will get Y results. Thus, as soon as they are successful and can prove their system delivers the desired results (or even better), they arrange their time and resources so they can replicate their successful system over and over again, each time reaping the expected (and ever increasing) benefits.”

YOU say you will study successful people to see how they do and how they work because you understand that the achievement of success is inextricably linked to studying the successful and making a point of then doing what they do. SUCCESS says, “Well, are you studying the successful? I certainly haven’t seen you around anyone but your low-down worthless friends. The only time they’ll appear in the media is for robbing a convenience store! Dump ’em.”

YOU say you want success on the Internet. Good for you; it’s where lots of people nowadays get big bucks and worldwide, too. SUCCESS says, “You’re all talk and no action You don’t have anyone to help you. You don’t have the necessary tools you need; you don’t have the training. And, as for your traffic, that’s a joke that you don’t know how to fix. Moreover, you have no way to profit 24 hours a day in this demanding 24-hour-a-day environment.

And what of Yvette?…

Let’s just say my appreciation for Yvette and what she taught me did not flag as the hours advanced. And as for her profound insight into the sustained hustling all true success seekers must engage in?… why that has now gone from just Yvette to me… and now from me to you… for my next adventure… and, by grasping this article and its recommendations, for your faster, greater, truly impressive success.

Musical Note: I have selected as music for this article, “When I Die, You Better Second Line” played by Kermit Ruffins, founder of the hellzapoppin band Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers. Founded in 1992, this is one New Orleans tradition that rode out #Katrina with style and bravado. Don’t hold yourself back!


About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant has taught marketing and related subjects at over 40 US Colleges including Harvard. He is the author of over 1000 articles and more than 60 books. To see his work go

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Howard Martell is the Owner of“. Check us out anytime for marketing tips and a free subscription to our cutting edge newsletter. Check out CashBlurbs ->