A great read

Reflections of a Business Nomad: stories and poems from the road: Pascal Dennis Author



The world is a vast place and often we travel through places with one goal, which is to get to our next destination. Do you ever stop and check out the scenery, talk to a cab driver on the way to the airport, or even see the places you are visiting or pass through as they really are and accept and embrace the beauty of the world?


Businessmen travel all over the world trying to adhere to their preset schedules, adhering to limited time constraints and trying to learn or deal with the customs of the people in other countries and hoping to try and visit or sightsee in these places filled with so much history and culture. This book is as our narrator, travel guide and author relates will take not only the reader but this reviewer along on the planes he flies on, the car or cabs he rides in to visit places we might never see in our lifetime and share his amazing experiences with us.


So, pack your bags, get your passport ready to be stamped and be brave and get any required shots needed and let’s take a trip to Europe, across both North and South America, Africa and how about Asia and open your eyes, heart and mind to the beauty of the world and the people, culture, wonders and surprises and learn about humanity and maybe become not just more enlightened but a more tolerant and understanding person whose life will be enriched by these new experiences. The author relates in his short press release that came with this book that these stories, poems and experiences are based on his life on the road told in his voice in his own words based on a journal that he kept filled with pieces of writing completed in airports, restaurants and even hotel bars. This is his personal travelogue.

So, let’s begin our journey in Fort Worth. I will take you along some of the trips and others you will have to buy your own ticket or shall I say “ the book,” to learn more, visit the places and experience the excitement of the world.


Part One: Fortitude: Where we learn more about one of our famous Astronauts Buzz Aldrin. The author describes his physical attributes starting with his byes that remind him of “solar flares.” He tells us he was a fighter pilot in Korea and the struggles he endured with a mother who committed suicide and having gone through two divorces. His love of space exploration, the reasons no one lives on the moon or on Mars which in order to appreciate you have to read it for yourself. Finally, his assessment of our astronaut: He’s not as tall as I thought he’d be.”


Let’s meet Misha the taxi driver who definitely has an opinion about kids, their actions and gets to know him as a person rather than stereotyping him for where he comes from and what he does. Telling him about what happened to a cabbie that was killed, the conversation moves to where he comes from and that his name is Misha. Explaining why he is in Canada, why he does not like Israel and interestingly comparing living in Canada with the Soviet State, which is much worse. Enlightening him to the fact that his children are bright and that he you begin to wonder what makes both men tick as the author or our narrator leaves the cab wondering about racists, the cabbie’s kids and his own. The next poem is titled True Vermonter followed by Greek Tragedy. Greek Tragedy is quite interesting as we visit this country and learn about a world-renowned medical researcher. The discussion is quite interesting after he describes the scenery. Imagine a doctor a researcher having to fight with a lab to get an x-ray done. Explaining about his practice, his treatments for different illnesses as the author I feel brilliantly states: I have to agree: If you really want to be in good health EXERCSE: That will definitely lower your pressure, cholestrol and maybe rid you of hypertension and save you the cost at the pharmacy. Well said!


Discussing his opinions on the youth today, their problems and even honing in on important issues that many do not reflect on such as smoking and playing computer games all day. You get a really interesting perspective on what thins man’s opinion of the Middle East Country is in his eyes. But, yet when asked on simple question you get an answer that sums it up: Why does this man stay? He loves Greece. Simple enough.


Anthracite is the next poem followed by the Angel’s Share and my favorite Byzantium. Each poem relates its own story about an experience and a person that the author encounters. The poems or the stories they tell relate a many things that life throws at different people, the struggles they endure and their views on life and their surroundings. Byzantium relates to the Byzantine Empire that ruled for 11 centuries and fell along with Constantinople its capital in 1453. The picture on page 19 depicts how it looked the architecture is amazing. But, what the author relates is deeper and far more reaching than what happened in 1453. As you read the poem on pages 18-19 you can hear the frustration of two steelworkers watching the old structures collapse, their health failing and going back to work before completely healed. Why people continue to work and allow it to consume them is a question that might be answered when you read this poem. Do you want what is new or do we stick with the old? What finally happens to Bill and Tom and where their lives are now? Read the poem to learn more.


Kamal, Summer Regular and round out the section called Fortitude followed by Study Questions that can be answered by the reader, the student or used as a basis for a discussion group. Fortitude: defined as Strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage. Each poem in this section focuses on how each of those the narrator meets and their stories defines the pain and courage they each endured to live their lives with courage. We have gone to Fort Worth, Vermont, Greece, Pennsylvania, Canada and Kamal hope you are reading for Chicago, Michigan, Shanghai, Mexico just to name a few more places your passport might be needed for and others you just might enjoy seeing. Get them camera out!


Sunny Side Up is the next section as we being with a story called Tomas-“No H.” We meet our narrator or author leaving a strategy session and passing the Chicago Botanical Garden and meeting a cab driver named Tomas no H. This interesting driver assesses the surroundings, his requirements for being in his cab and enlightens our author about his homeland, Lithuania, places left behind, the reasons he came and stayed in Chicago and explaining that the availability of work in his country was better and even though there were rules they had time to enjoy life. Then, he discussed the hazards of drinking and getting caught by the police. Reflecting on his ride and Tomas the author relates that he finds cabbie’s quite interesting and that Tomas was truly different. Next, he tells the author and shares with the reader about his life in his old country, the fact that they always had bread and cheese and it sounds like this man just appreciated everything he had and still has. The best part of the story is how the Russians handled crime and what he relates caused our author to double over laughing. Want to know why? Read pages 31-32. Next we go to Michigan and a poem titled Yoopers. Reality and Fantasy of Old Beijing as he describes flying to Shanghai in November and we meet another drive who is really quite colorful and unique. Mr. Zhang drives a tour bus. For three days can you imagine he smoked and drank moonshine took him to the Great Wall and then to the Forbidden City where the author vividly describes what he sees in detail. But, our author really is quite amazing as he invites his driver and his family to dinner, toasting to China and Greece and just learning about other people and appreciating our differences.


Next let’s take out our passports and fly to Italy and the story that tells about his trip to Pescara, Abruzzi, Italy and the story Temperanza. Seattle in the Rain and then we visit and take a closer look at Japan. Takaoka Days is quite interesting. The wonders of Japan, the reasons for the visit and the factory that evens too pristine as he relates what he learns from the businessmen he meets, the factories and compares them to ours here in the west. The hospitality and the graciousness is what makes this even more special. Aspen, New England and then everyone’s favorite nightmare: Physical. You sit in the waiting room and anticipate what might happen. You meet this stark, brisk man and he reviews your tests and then proceeds. His diagnosis: Priceless: You have to read it to appreciate it! Just what the doctor says is no big deal! You have to smile.  Make sure you read the study questions. The next Section is called Ass End and has poems title Heavy Industry, Postcard from A Black Hole and Heavy Metal and Leadership. This section definitely deals with businesses, leaders, how companies and unions are run, the prospective of a Union Manager, Executive and Production Manager plus A Chief Financial Officer who appears to be the most unhappy man in the world and read what he writes to learn why. Section III it titled the Blues, which has one poem, titled Blues for Bobby Fischer, stories about sadness and the final one Light Blue that tells about the interior of a plane and his assessment about how blue affects his life. Postcards, which everyone loves to send and bring back houses the final section of stories and poems so let’s, visit a Korean Palace Restaurant, then Port Said Egypt, the Suez Canal, and finally Meeting An Old Friend at the Airport. The final story is titled Alpha and Omega, which tells about his wife’s visit to the skin doctor, which tests your endurance. An appointment scheduled for 10:30 and booked a year in advance is never honored on time. Why would anyone almost two hours for a doctor who takes five minutes to complete the exam and expects you to wait another hour or more to rebook? But, fear not the fast food restaurant filled their order in record time and guess what: NO MISTAKES!


Each story and poem has its own voice, its own message. Read this book and take the journey with the author to the many places around the globe and meet the fascinating people he met along the way. Make sure you read the study questions. Just how many stamps did you get on your passport? Did you send some postcards? A great book to use as a basis for discussions in colleges business classes, book discussion groups and study groups.

Fran Lewis: reviewer