Sep 25

Those Crazy Scots!

Well, I gotta tell you – it feels pretty good. To be back in the saddle that is. Okay, it’s actually only a pretty worn-out swivel chair in front of the computer that sits atop a drafting table in my furnace room, but it still feels awfully good. Normal days are few and far between right now, so I am happy for this one which, thus far, is the closest to normal that I have had for some time now. More on that later. My goal in today’s blog is to just quickly cover a few items while my energy level permits me to do so and to also report in on some interesting Scottish stuff which was sent my way. Okay … here we go.

The Postal ThingAs promised, the much-anticipated analysis and recommendations on how to fix the U.S. Postal Service were published in the September issue of USGlass (page #120) and, while I received a fair amount of positive feedback, I did receive one pretty scathing retort which ended up with a couple of lengthy exchanges between me and the offended party. So I promised that I would make a bit of a conciliatory statement in my next blog (today) and here it is … I firmly believe that there are a large number of hardworking, honest and dedicated postal employees. The problem is not them. The problem is that our government cannot run or manage anything very efficiently. Its track record speaks for itself. So my hat is off to those loyal postal people who care and do the best they can every day to serve us, but the system is badly broken and in need of being fixed … not just for the rest of us, but for those good employees that work there as well!

The International Thing I was quite surprised by the number of international blog and article readers that reached out to me during these past few weeks (after my cancer problem was made public). I heard from several Canadians (whom I love dearly in spite of all the fun I make of them), some Aussies, the Swedes, a guy from Hungary, a few from the UK and even two from Scotland … yes, Scotland. For the record, I am Scottish on my mother’s side. Her name was Burns and her father, my grandpa Burns, was about as Scottish as you could get. At any rate, while I really appreciated all of this, I got an e-mail from Scotsman Jake Beatson, who wished me well and closed his e-mail with an old Scottish saying which I had not previously heard …

The Old Scottish Saying“Lang may your lum reek.”

Now I could guess at the meaning but after a few seconds, I decided that could be dangerous, so I sent an e-mail to my good friend Wayne Rethford, president emeritus of the Illinois St. Andrews Society, and asked him for an explanation. Wayne knows all things Scot and has written several books on Scottish history, lectures regularly on the subject and is both loved and respected in the Scottish community. Wayne came back with this …

The Quote Explained“Lang may your lum reek” is Scottish slang for “Long may your chimney smoke.” If your chimney is smoking it means you have warmth, coal and probably food to cook. It’s an indication that everything is good at your house. It is a way of saying “good luck”. This was especially important on the American frontier and was a way to keep track of your neighbors who may have lived miles away. If their chimney was smoking, things were well.

And My Response to Mr. Beatson … Thank you very much, Jake, and please know that I plan to keep reeking for as long as the good Lord allows me to do so!

Thank You So Much I don’t have words adequate enough to thank you for the cards, e-mails and phone calls of the past few weeks. The battle I am in kinda is all-consuming. It takes over your life and I spend large amounts of my waking hours in waiting rooms, getting blood tests or undergoing some form of treatment. In fact, I am at the clinic tomorrow and, if all of my tests go well, I go back into the hospital on Saturday for another four-day round of chemotherapy. Not complaining … just explaining and thanking you for the contacts and especially for the prayers. My goal (God willing) is to get back to the real world just as soon as possible!

Glass StuffI know this is a glass industry (and USGlass Magazine) related blog spot, but I’ll ask you to excuse me for not doing too much industry-wide commentary at the present time. I’ll get back into that arena as soon as I can though … I promise.

The Sports Thing Two quick things; has anyone noticed that my Chicago Bears are 3-0 to start the season? And secondly, the real NHL season starts in less than a week. Time to get excited, sports fans!!!

The Quotable Thing This week’s was sent in by Paul Trainor (Skyline Sky-Lites LLC) and it made me laugh and these days it feels particularly good to laugh. Credit for the quote goes to comedian Steven Wright. Thanks much, Paul.

“I installed a skylight in my apartment … the people who live above me are furious.”

“Have a Good Week Everybody”



  1. Craig Boller

    Hang in there Kyle…our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    I STILL have your Laws of Contract Glazing on my bulletin board and (sadly) the longer I am in this business the truer they become…

    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Craig … unfortunately for all, those laws do still stand. Thanks for reaching out. Lyle

  2. Naomi

    Hi Lyle,

    I’ve been reading your blog, and I just wanted to wish you and your family a lot of strength. We’re all thinking of you!

    Cheers from Korea

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