The ultimate proof that you have arrived in life, I verily tell to thee, – is having your own Vegabond rock
What pray, might you ask, is a Vegabond Rock? At this point I adopt a solemn wise look and tell you a brief history behind the philosophy …er… philasaphee
For several years before and after 1920, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs participated in a series of motor camping caravans, which have been described as the first notable linking of the automobile with outdoor recreation.
...But the party did not exactly rough it. No one slept on a bed of boughs or subsisted on fish caught in the stream. Separate sleeping tents, each with the occupant's name on it, were provided … A dining tent about twenty feet square, set up convenient to the sleeping tents … A basic supply of food staples was carried in the kitchen truck … Frequently local people dropped by the camp with gifts.
...As the group moved along, headlines blazoned, "Henry Ford Demonstrates He's Not Afraid of Work; Repairs His Damaged Car," "Millions of Dollars worth of Brains Off on a Vacation," "Genius to Sleep Under Stars," and "Kings of Industry and Inventor Paid City Visit." Columns were filled with stories and trivia about the famous quartet … The Vagabonds were accompanied by newsmen and photographers who reported each man's every move and hung on his every utterance. Almost all of the newspapers in the country reported and theaters showed Ford, Edison, and Burroughs engaging in high-kicking, stair-jumping, sprinting, tree-chopping, and tree-climbing contests.
...Sometimes in August 1919, the four people carved their initials in a piece of rock which was named the vagabond rock … became the cornerstone of Ford's manufacturing plant at
... Green Island, New York
Jim recently saw a replica of that stone preserved in the ford estate museum in
[… Adapted from the following sites http://www.henryfordestate.org/vagabonds.htm and http://www.hfha.org/HenryFord.htm ]
Sooo…? You sport a bemused look. These rich and famous guys etched their initials on a stone but so what? Can I not etch more than just the initial but my name and that of my whole family-n-friends on a piece of rock – and not just any rock mind you – in pucca white marble! That way not just moi world arrive, but my whole family-n-friends would arrive (as they are always expected to in marriages and naming ceremonies – but that’s a different story! Thankfully!!!)
My solemn wise look starts to appear significantly more solemner at this. In fact it now bears a definite wise owlish resemblance as I utter the following pearls of wisdom –
Etch, no doubt you can, I daresay as well as the next person. Why, people are etching away entire mountains for the metal ores. Our esteemed politicians get their name etched every time even a Sulabh facility gets inaugurated. But is that the same thing as the Vegabond rock?
The matter is not of etching, my young Padawan, (Jedi apprentice, not chi-chi) - it is the love with which the etching is received by people – of your time and the future – which determines the degree of your arrivalhood.
Vegabond stone, not only made to be the cornerstone of a manufacturing plant with a replica of the stone being available even today in the Ford Estate Museum in Detroit; but also at the time this stone was etched – in a seemingly inane act - it was widely celebrated by people - the media and the general Janta literally followed these people around where they went and hung onto their words and deeds. Not because they were rich themselves – but because they had the capability of making a difference to others lives – they truly were Geniuses. The same way, if Big B or Tendulkar, etched something I believe it would be equally revered – because of the amount of Joy they give to us. There can be no doubt that Big B has truly arrived. Just see the fan he has. Same goes for our little master blaster.
Coming back to the Vegabond rock – I feel it symbolizes the love of people of a bunch of geniuses who truly had etched their names in people’s hearts. No doubt, it was also an well orchestrated PR exercise by these world-wise people. But the PR worked because they were celebrated on the first place. The piece of gray rock – the replica which I regarded reverently in the ford museum a few weeks back at
represent a combination of all that. Detroit
Etch that well, my Padawan, and you shall have arrived…