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Giving More than a Forecast on Channel 5

How Grandpa Became a Meterologistby Paul J. Pickett

I believe it’s better to give than to receive. Every time. No exceptions. And I have someone on my mind that embodies this concept.

Who comes to your mind?

Maybe it’s your mother, your brother, best friend or even a coach. Today I’m thinking of my grandpa. Charles A. Pickett is his name. I call him Pops. Some of you hard-core DIFFites may remember him as the The DIFF in his community.

If you do, it will come as no surprise that I’ve never heard him talk much about giving. But I have watched him live it all of my life. This is why I have to tell you about what happened on a recent Friday evening.

It was about 6:25 and Pops and I were in Cleveland, Ohio. I put my arm around him and asked him how he felt as he sat down next to me – his face glowing with a smile from ear-to-ear. He said "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

My Pops was a meteorologist for a day – live on the air. A few months earlier I had emailed News Channel 5 Chief Meteorologist Mark Johnson (that’s him on the left in the pic) to tell him that my grandpa was going to be celebrating his 85th birthday in July and I wanted him to help me with his present. And even though Mark didn’t know me and had never done this before for anyone else, his response was “consider it done.” Really this wasn’t about a birthday present, it was about making a childhood dream – 66 years in the making – come true.

Pops has been documenting the weather of Bellevue, Ohio (just down the road from Cedar Point) in his diary for over 50 years. If you watched the news on Channel 5 that night you saw Pops talk with Mark about that, but what you didn’t hear was the full story.

As a child in the 1920s and 1930s, before anyone talked about the weather on television, my Pops had plans of becoming a meteorologist. This was his dream. But just after Pops finished high school, his father, Harold Pickett, died. As the only boy out of three children, he responded like a man would: he took care of his mother, two sisters and a family cherry farm that was failing miserably. I know that sounds like a depressing story fitting of The Great Depression, but don’t feel bad for him. He doesn’t want anybody’s pity.

He never has.

He’s been too busy making the most of every day to feel bad about the past. His attitude is probably what enabled him to not only assume responsibility for the farm, but to eventually lead it to prosperity. At one point before retiring in 1995, he was a seasonal employer to over 300 workers, including me. Three generations of customers would drive to Bellevue, Ohio from surrounding states like Michigan and Indiana and from towns all over Ohio to get cherries at Pickett’s Cherry Farm. You could say he and my grandmother took sour cherries and made cherry pie!

But seriously, like I said in the beginning, I believe it’s better to give than to receive. This is because heartfelt giving causes others to receive and also inspires those who receive to give as well. This is why I also believe that the more you give, the more you get. It’s as simple as that. This is why Pops deserved to be a meteorologist, if only for a day.

This is why I will tell my grandchildren about the life of Charles A. Pickett. And I will also tell them of the generosity of Mark Johnson and the graciousness of other first-class people like Danita Harris, Leon Bibb and Jeff Mackel of News Channel 5 in Cleveland. I’ve seen firsthand that they not only talk good while the cameras are running, they do good while the cameras are turned off. When I was the only person watching, they all honored my Pops like a celebrity guest. And for that, not only is my Pops The DIFF, so are Mark Johnson and the classy people of News Channel 5. And that’s news you can trust.

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Today's Date:
Friday, January 19, 2018