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  • John M. Campbell

I Am Curious, George

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

I was mystified when a former fighter pilot, retired Air Force Colonel George Watts, was selected as program manager of our contract with the Department of the Interior to support the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs maintaining their computer systems. I was accustomed to engineers with computer systems management skills filling those positions. In time, I learned that George was a leader who could establish a relationship with our customers and show them what services we could provide. He stated his philosophy in these few words, "I just want to do something good for my company, my customers, and my country." I wrote this poem for his retirement.

I am Curious, George

From the heights of the Academy, to the depths of Royal Gorge,

To his office in the Springs, the call went out for Colonel George.

Up in Lakewood was a customer that needed to be served,

And a former fighter pilot seemed like just what they deserved.

I could never comprehend just what it was Watts did all day.

He arrived, and then he stayed awhile, and then he went away.

He knew nothing of the BIA, and less of aliquots,

But this guy proved fascinating to the BLM big shots!

We could only just imagine what took place behind closed doors:

He was dreaming up new business, by the cadence of his snores.

But his job can't be too hard, unless I sorely misconstrue it,

Since they think that Tomashosky is the next dude that can do it.

George can't tell you that an object needs a method and a class.

He'd have trouble spelling GIS, if forced to save his ass.

But he let you do your job, and he was always on your side

When the wolves came howling, hungry for bite out of your hide.

So we're glad it was the Colonel who was answering the phone

When the caller was McPherson, or the dreaded Leslie Cone.

If you've flown the Mekong valley in a supersonic jet,

Dealing with the BLM sure ain't no cause to make you sweat.

But after eight years in the saddle, with your Levis wearing thin,

It gets harder every morning to get up and ride again.

So he's off to Oklahoma, no more working man routine:

Just his horses, and the prairie, and a jar of Vaseline.

It has been a privilege serving with you.

John M. Campbell

9 December 2004

Next Poem: The Eydie Edict

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