Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Last Christmas With Santa Claus

Most of us have some special memories of Christmas from when we were young kids. I have many fond memories of Christmas but one particular Christmas sticks out in my memory.

I was seven years old and had (kinda) learned how to ride a bicycle the previous summer. I had a little bike with training wheels. When the training wheels came off, it wasn't much of a bike. So I had asked for a "big bike" for Christmas.

Our Christmas tradition was for Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) to come to our house to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. I remember that Santa Claus  (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) had a big bag that he would place under the Christmas tree. Then he would sit down and my sisters and I would take turns sitting on his lap (or sometimes we would all three pile on!).

That Christmas of 1967, I noticed for the first time that Santa Claus's  (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) hands looked just like my Grandpa's hands. I pointed that out to everyone when I got to sit on his lap. No one acknowledged that I had even spoken. In later years, both my Grandma Theresa and my mother would love to tell that story. Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) had forgotten his gloves so I got a good look at his hands.

It was painfully obvious to me that there was no bike in the bag that Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) had placed under the tree that Christmas Eve. After each of us had had our turn on Santa's lap, he got up to go, informing us of the busy night he still had ahead of him.

Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) bid each of us farewell - hugs and kisses for him from everyone. He then left out the front door of our home - the same door he came in.

Though I did not know it at the time, everyone's eyes fell on me to see if there was any disappointment on my face as I realized that there was no bike in the bag. I've been told (many, many, many times) that I was just about in tears.

Just then, the doorbell rang (again)! Why it was Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) and he had forgotten one present. He asked me to come outside and help him. I went out into the cold winter night, where I found a new bike sitting in the reflection of the headlights of a vehicle.

I really don't remember what happened after that. I can only guess there was some serious gratitude expressed to Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank). I know he came back into the house for a photograph with the new bike.

That was the last time I ever saw Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank). My Grandpa Frank died in April, just four months later and we never saw Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) again.

At the time, I thought it was a great Christmas because I got the bike I wanted. I remember so many of the details of that Christmas because of the gift. I don't recall if that bike came with snow tires but I'm certain it didn't matter. I'm sure I put some miles on it that winter.

That bicycle was my first bit of independence. I rode it everywhere - to school, to the swimming pool, to baseball, to my friends' homes, downtown, etc. My world grew that Christmas.

Now, as I look back, it was a special Christmas because it was the last one with Grandpa Frank. Santa Claus (who looked suspiciously like my Grandpa Frank) never came back to our house on Christmas eve. How could he? He had some big shoes to fill!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014 Knust Kronicle

2014 Knust Kronicle

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Knusts!

Click here to see the 2014 Knust Kronicle

You can find previous Knust Kronicles and Christmas letters here.

December 2014 SDADA Column

The votes were cast and the results tabulated. The control of the Senate has shifted and the Republicans have grasped tighter control of the House. The easy(!) part, the election, is done for the Republicans. Now for the difficult part - they have to govern.

I believe it would be a mistake for Republicans to assume that the electorate trusts  them more than Democrats. I think it would be fair to say that the voters disliked them less (for now!).

It seems Republicans must offer solutions for the issues of the day. They cannot just poke holes in the Obama policies. Whether healthcare, immigration, the economy or other matters, they must offer alternatives.

They must reel in the federal bureaucracy. A good place to start would be with the CFPB which, today, more than four years after its passage, is still writing rules. This agency is a perfect example of federal bureaucracy run amok.

A new study of more than 8.2 million loan records by Charles River Associates concludes that the method used by the CFPB to measure for discrimination in an auto lender’s portfolio is “conceptually flawed in its application and subject to significant bias and estimation error.”

Meanwhile, banks nationwide are spending millions of dollars trying to comply with the unfair and ever-changing rules that the CFPB continues to write. Those rules are then being forced down to businesses that transact business with the banks, costing even more money with no increased productivity.

Small businesses (not just automobile dealers) in our country need relief from the regulatory stranglehold of the federal government. Hopefully Republicans can give them some of the much-needed respite.

NADA Continues to Defend Franchise System

Last month I referred to NADA's arsenal of resources intended to get the dealers' story out. These resources can be found at . The videos found here make a great short presentation for your Kiwanis or Rotary meeting. Please consider spreading the word.

Additionally, NADA is asking local officials to sign an open letter supporting dealers and then send this letter to transportation policymakers. This campaign has generated more than 700 signatures, from officials in all 50 states. If you know of local officials who would want to voice their support for local dealers, they can sign the letter online at Take a look at this site.

Please remember, it is important that dealers are perceived as something other than a "middle man" and that we do add value to the system. If we don't tell our story, who will??!!

Get the most from your investment at the 2015 NADA Convention & Expo

The NADA Convention & Expo is the automotive industry event of the year and the world's largest international gathering place for franchised new-vehicle dealers. The convention offers dealers a rare chance to meet face-to-face with executives of major auto manufacturers and features hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the latest equipment, services and technologies and dozens of workshops with the industry's best trainers. The 2015 NADA Convention & Expo will take place Thursday, Jan. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.
Take advantage of myNADAplanner, a FREE service that provides smart tools for you to research exhibitors, email exhibitors, schedule meetings with exhibitors, search and schedule workshops, build your personalized planner guide, and syncs with the 2015 NADA mobile app which will be available in December.

Do this all before you travel to NADA 2015!

South Dakota Message Hits Chicago Where It Hurts

Apparently South Dakota has pointed out an ugly wart that Chicago would rather not be discussed. The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development ran a full-page in Sunday, December 7 edition of the Chicago Tribune pointing out the advantages of doing business in CNBC's 2013 top state for business, South Dakota, over Chicago.

But you have to love the ads South Dakota placed in O'Hare airport in conjunction with the recruiting campaign. "No Government Pat Downs," "Keep Your Change in Your Pockets" and "We're Hands Off When it Comes to Business" were just a bit too close to the truth for both Chicago and the Transportation Security Administration regulations.

Your silence is deafening Mayor Emanuel! In typical fashion, Chicago responds by kicking freedom of speech to the curb. "Chicago officials decided against allowing other states' tourism or economic development agencies to advertise in the airport," South Dakota Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello said.

That will fix the problem Mr. Mayor! That will fix it!

South Dakota's "newly approved" banners which read "Our Economy is First Class," "Prepare Your Business For Take Off" and "Build Your Business in South Dakota" — will go up at O'Hare next month.

Meanwhile, South Dakota's campaign has received significant free publicity nationwide as various other newspapers and other media have picked this story up.

As we say in South Dakota, "Our Sunsets Will Take Your Breath Away; Our Top-ranked Tax Climate Will Give It Back!"