The sun was shining off the pristine snow in our woods behind our cottage and bouncing up through my big office window. The rays caught the tip of the wing of my prized pounded brass eagle I’d found in a window at a little store in sort of a little mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I was a speaker at their High Performance Leadership Conference, June 22 and 23, 1981. When I went inside and talked with the shop owner I soon discovered that I had met my match when it came to bargaining. He said the price was $100 U.S. and it was not negotiable. That is what they all say, but crafty Old Art, world traveler and master shopper, knew otherwise. At least he thought he did. I offered seventy and the man did not blink. He explained that in his store prices were fixed. He showed me the tag with the prices listed and the one with a dollar sign showed $100. I said to him that I collected eagles and I wasn’t even certain this was an eagle at all. Then I offered seventy-five and then eighty and he suddenly became busy with something in the back of his store and he did not come back to me. I did what every good negotiator must do. I left the store. A few hours later I returned and before I could even get fully inside the store he came up and smiled at me and gave me one finger (a nice one) and then two zeroes with his thumb and forefinger. “One hundred U.S. Dollars,” he said.
Early the next morning I returned to the shop. That same gentleman smiled and gave me the hundred dollar signal. I smiled and paid him. Fortunately this brass sculpture had been built for travel. The bird parted from it’s globe like stand and both wings came off. I carried it on my flight to Singapore and then a few days later from plane to plane on the trip back home. When I moved here to North Carolina from Michigan all of my eagles survived the move and I set them all around my office and my music room and the ladies who come in every two weeks keep them dusted. It wasn’t until we had this snow and the welcome sunshine that bounced their rays into my office shining as a spotlight on that eagle that I gave it much thought. I carefully brought it down from over the bookcase and cleaned it up some and my loving wife Jean took some photos for me as a Valentine gift and now I treasure it even more.