I have not one, but a raft of favorite quotes. But when asked to settle on one, I come back to time, and time again, it’s this one, “Luck is what you stumble upon in life. Providence is what God plans for you, and planning is how you thread your way between the two without getting crushed.” 

I often heard this bit of wisdom from first-class petty officer John O’Toole, Bosuns-mate USN. John worked hard to avoid becoming a chief petty officer and, in retirement, enjoyed telling tales of some sixteen years of a misspent Naval career. I first met John while I was in the Navy, and we became reacquainted in the years following. 

From John, I learned:

  •  the nuances of “gun decking” a report ( fixing them), 
  • how to successfully play Cheaters Monopoly, 
  • how to properly wear my sailor’s gob hat, 
  • and how to sew the thirteen buttons of my uniform pants so they could be rapidly undone if needed.

God bless you, John, where ever you may be.