“Her beauty cut just like a knife.” – Waylon Jennings
Those are some of the iconic lyrics sung by the late, great Waylon Jennings, and a beautiful view of Boulder, Colorado from Flagstaff Mountain.
“He was a banker from Macon.”
Not only is the song one of my favorite Waylon songs, but I would argue it’s possibly the most famous song featuring a banker. “Penny Lane,” by the Beatles also comes to mind, and “Only in America” by Brooks and Dunn as well. There are other songs (not many) featuring bankers, but none quite like the banker in Waylon’s song.
I chose this 1987 country classic for this post because my day job is that of a banker. I know, I know. How cliche’, right? Mild-mannered banker by day, vigilante, world-changing writer by night and on weekends! What an exciting life I lead!
“Last I heard, she had moved to Boulder…” – Garth Brooks
(You know sometimes 90’s lyrics from Garth Brooks can be fitting)
I recently spent two weeks in Boulder on the CU campus for Graduate School of Banking (GSBC). Yes, this is a real thing, and it lasts two weeks every summer for three years. And it is fantastic.
Sure, the eight classes, guest speakers and panels, and one interactive case study I had in that span were a little overwhelming with information, and I was inside the majority of the day, but what a beautiful setting to be in while you learn.
Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of about 5,400 feet, this was my first visit to this unique city. With a population somewhere north of 100,000, Boulder is not unlike many cities with major universities. There are young people and students everywhere. There are bookstores and coffee shops. There is shopping and dining and the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall downtown.
And then there are numerous local breweries and of course, a few dive bars that are a requisite of any good college town. One particular bar features tricycle racing on Tuesday nights which in itself is quite the spectacle. Grown individuals racing against the clock in two-person teams peddling as fast as they can around a makeshift track in the center of the bar with patrons lining the way.
I told one of my banker friends that it reminded me a little of watching the Tour de France when the riders race through heavily populated towns along the way and the people crowd onto the road cheering the riders on to the finish.
Speaking of wheels, what I wasn’t prepared for in Boulder were the amount of two wheeled vehicles. Bicycles and bicyclists are everywhere. There are paths and there are bicycle lanes on the streets, and I’m almost positive every individual in Boulder owns one. I was nervous half the time just driving around the city trying to be wary of all the two-wheeled vehicles.
“Now the banker is an old man…”
There were 500+ bankers and bank examiners on campus, around town, and of course enjoying a cold beverage of choice, and trike racing. They were of all ages and origins. I met individuals from New Hampshire and California and North Dakota and Florida, and everywhere in between. Most are community bankers from smaller banks that don’t exceed about $1 billion in assets. There are some exceptions, but for the most part these are community bankers representing their banks from smaller communities and rural areas.
We played golf, went whitewater rafting, and attended a Colorado Rockies baseball game. There were planned dinners and a battle of events between classes (the first year class was victorious).
There were people to meet and have lunch with in the C4C (Center for Community) on campus. Most of all there was knowledge to be gained and skills to learn and information to take back home to make us better at our profession and to make our banks better in our communities.
Continuing education is important regardless of what profession you are in be it an officer of the law, a systems programmer, or just a boring, mild-mannered banker. You should never stop learning and re-learning the things that make you a better person, a better worker, and a better pillar in the community.
“I would walk through Hell on Sunday, to keep my Rose in Paradise.”
Written by Jim McBride and Stewart Harris, this song was one Waylon’s sixteen #1 hits at the time of its release in 1987. Singing about a rich, jealous, possibly murderous banker, and the banker’s wife named Rose, here is Waylon Jennings with “Rose in Paradise.”
Thanks for reading.