Letters From Leton: Crabapples Can Be Dangerous!

As a young lad, we used to often roam the mountains and hollows, especially in the fall. The smells, the colors of the trees, the refreshing coolness of the day. Every fall these sensations take me back to a time of fun with my cousins.

On occasion during our days of fun, we would play a game of “hurl the crabapples”. 

Yes, you read that correctly – hurl the crabapples. 

We would gather up crabapples from some crabapple trees and find a bush or smallish tree from which we would cut a limber stick. Then, splitting up into teams, we would take the hill on one side of the farm or the other side – approximately a hundred yards away. Thus began the hurling of the crabapples, boosted in distance by the tree limb.

No harm came to us -outside of subsequent sword fights with the sticks- as the distance made accuracy difficult. However, we considered it a “moral” victory when one of the cousins had to dodge the projectile.

A couple weeks ago at the beach I was reminded of these times as I saw numerous dog-walkers playing fetch, using longish “sticks” with a scoop at the end to pick up the ball and hurl it greater distances than possible with a simple arm toss.

What an idea! Added strength against the constant winds of the oceans. Plus, you didn’t have to pick up a slobbery ball covered in sand. Playing with the dog from a distance.

Hmm, doing things from a distance. I could do that. I could check emails from the beach. Zoom in for meetings. Have Jason set up a VPN for me to access the Bank’s systems. 

On subsequent days as I watched the owners and their dogs, I noticed a strange thing. 

Folks with the long hurling sticks seldom interacted with their dogs beyond, well, hurling the ball. The dog brought the ball back, and it was eventually picked up and hurled again.

Dogs whose owners did not have the device tossed the ball or frisbee (couldn’t throw a frisbee with that stick) after first interacting with the dog. And they petted their dog often, which brought joy to the dog and, I think, to the owner as well.

I thought, if I were a dog, I would like to be with the owner who spent more “quality time” with me. Generally, those were the folks without the sticks.

As we have shared and stressed many times, technology and its usage will grow and grow. That’s just the way it is.

But as we progress down this path, we cannot let technology be the stick that distances us from the ones we care for in our business lives – our customers.

Interactions with customers are much less frequent today, which makes the time and interactions we do share more valuable than ever.

One lesson Covid taught us is that we still like being with people.

So, being reminded of how much everyone would miss interacting with me (and me with them), I put aside the notion of PVB from the Beach, packed up and headed back to the cool mountains. 

After all, just a couple of months until crabapple hurling time!

Stay safe.

– Leton


“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.