Lifting a Tobacco Crate over a Ten Foot Wall in the Snow

1000279_797010446980456_282409935_nAh, but for the love of scotch! And therefore at this time, I must make you aware that what you are about to read may or may not make a bit of sense nor contain one hundred percent correct spelling and punctuation.

What a week has gone by, cold, snow, many long hours at work, some good and some very terrible indeed. And that was just Friday, which in all counts should be the best day of the week. I have always been one that had in my mind a firm schedule of events. That which begins on a Monday should conclude on a Friday, and no loose ends shall remain. When there are loose ends, I find myself all too often preoccupied by these tasks and very unable to enjoy the time of rest and duties at the home front. I can look back at this week and sum it up as simple as this – life happens while you’re waiting for the snow to melt. As I wake every morning, I am always looking at the weather and wishing and hoping for calm skies, high clouds, gentle winds, and moderate temperatures all to the point that would make aviating the most joyous of daily activities. Yet here I sit, another week gone, and Big Red sits calmly sedated in the hangar just waiting.

Like a good soldier, though, I march on into the battlefields of work. In my position, untitled and yet clearly understood, I have witnessed the best and worst of human behavior this week. I have seen an employee undergo a very severe heart attack, yet recover and with luck will find his way back to work in the near future. Visiting someone in the hospital is never fun, but as their boss and their friend, I go and stand by their side to reassure, laugh, smile, and let them know that it may just be a job to many, however it can be more of a family in the end.

And families have their issues – the black sheep, the disobedient, the vulgar. As this week ended, I was faced with dealing within a situation that I forever fear, loath, and honestly tremble. Termination of employees is one of the hardest parts of any management position, no matter whether the cause is justified or not. In this case, and forgive me for not putting out many details, the situation is of the most grievous between two individuals who could not see that life is too short to worry about the mundane and the petty. Our worst crime as managers has been allowing them opportunities in the past to improve, to get over their petty differences and “man up!” No, these two held the grudge and let it fester until it nearly came to blows.

So Friday comes and goes, and the documentation, the talk, the threats all come out. Escorts from the premises, and the closed door meetings. Friday. A long time ago, and yet so heavily on my mind. Yet, today, was a different day. Sunny, warmer, snow melting. Off on a modern archaeology expedition in the lovely red Subaru. My wife had plotted and planned and made arrangements for a quiet and secret pick. But we just didn’t know what we were getting into. Meeting Harley was an honest treat, and a distraction that I most certainly needed. He wowed us with stories that meandered about with no real beginning or end, but showed that this man had lived. He worked with some of the toughest groups of men imaginable, construction and forestry. And through all this, as we broached on the subject of my career and the week I had, he told me something that rang so true and yet so appreciated. “Anger, it blows out the lamp of the mind.”

Harley had discovered this little axiom in a book written by farmers so many years ago. As a boy, searching the local dump, he came across a pile of books which he gathered and took with him. Over time, he immersed himself in the words and stories. This book and this phrase though followed him all through life, and now I am just the latest recipient of this strong and powerful sentence. Such a simple phrase and a very deep and lasting meaning. I shall not forget these words, and will do my best to use them to help guide others. For the two that will lose their jobs because they didn’t understand this, I really can have very little empathy. Though I worry, and I hate to put someone off work, I cannot allow anger and ugliness to fester within our operation and organization. Disagreements shall happen and frustration is assured, but families are made for their forgiveness and understanding. Those that cannot, cannot sit at the table for supper.

On a ligher note, this “pick” today yielded some rather amusing moments. First was the fact that though my car can haul much, we ended up needing to rent a truck. Moving to the local U-Haul, I went to the counter to secure said truck, seeing that there were about 20 in the lot. When I asked to rent one for a couple hours was told they had none available. One glance through the window would make any logical person scratch their head, but thankfully we came to an agreement that I could have one as long as I returned is by 3:15. So I ended up with a truck much much larger than needed, leaving my car behind and off to reclaim our finds.

This house we were picking through had been built by Harley himself – an impressive feet. He had built a spiral staircase that was quite interesting and novel, but made moving furniture up quite nearly impossible. This caused me to have to dig a path from the back door in the snow and lift a 30 pound tobacco crate over my head and up top a ten foot black wall. From there, my wife secured it to a plastic sled and drug it to the truck. Four or five hauls later, we loaded all our goods into the truck and listened to a few more “Harley” stories, which to be frank, I was drawn to and could have sat down for hours if time had allowed us that privilege.

Time was important, though, as I didn’t want to be late returning the truck in the case that they may actually rent off the other 19 on the lot. So off to home we went, only to remember two miles from the house that I had left the garage door opener in my car and my lovely brilliant wife did not bring her keys. So we had two options, go back for the garage opener and make a second trip in this truck, or beg and plead for my kind father to come over with his key and let us in our own house! I am pleased to report that my retired and young at heart father was very close to the phone and our spare key, thereby not leaving us stranded in our own driveway for very long at all.

All in all, a very successful day and the truck was returned on time and without incident. Pretty sure there were twenty-one on the lot at the return.

From there we were off to our little booth at Antiques Village to stock up and rearrange Sam’s booth. I tell her that she will miss me much when the weather changes and flying season begins, but she just looked at me and said, “It’ll be a relief and I’ll finally have time to relax!”

I so love our adventures of the weekend, and though loose ends abound, mentally I am far better off now than twenty-four hours ago. Life is nothing more than a series of events that become memories, and in the end, we shall all be stronger for what we have endured.

Scotch also helps!

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