Contrary to popular opinion, old wives’ tales, ancient folklore, and to set the record straight, I am NOT retired! If someone tells you differently, don’t believe it, cause it ain't so...Joe. Believe it or not, I get this question thrown at me about once per week, "So, how's retirement?"
Yes, I have gotten a little longer in the tooth, grayer, weaker in the knees, and more gravitational when standing anywhere near a scale, but I still come to work daily. And I’ll give you that I might arrive a little later than the average person, possessing something irritatingly near sloth-like habits in the morning, but I still get there and more often than not, watch the other folks leave at quitting time, not daring to get in their way. I just don't move fast enough anymore to save myself.
Shortly before my father passed away last year he and I had been discussing the possibility of making my nephew the president of the trucking company. He is just about the same age I was when dad made me president and said nephew had reached a level where he was ready to handle the “load” I had been “hauling” around for the previous 31 years. We hadn’t discussed this situation with anybody else, and for reasons that I may never know, I blurted out said nephew’s promotion at dad’s funeral luncheon, much to the astonishment of my family, nearly everyone in the audience that day, and myself! I swear to you, dad made me do it, as I had given it virtually no forethought that day whatsoever. I almost sprinted to the restroom just to see if it was my mouth on my face.
But you see, when dad made me president of the company all the way back in 1985, he didn’t retire either. In fact, he had no intention of retiring…ever. That, ladies and gents, was not always a good thing. Every day from then on, we either met him in his office when he was here or he called me and my next-in-line at 3:30 when he wasn’t. If we were at work, so was he…in his head. Those discussions were not to discuss who to trade on the Cub’s or who had the cutest butt in the office either. They were serious meetings about transportation or the warehouse, and if you were in attendance, you had better have brought the right answers. Otherwise, and this may come as a surprise to some of you, pop had a tendency to express his displeasure, sometimes loudly and forcefully. too His last 3:30 phone call was three days before he passed away!
Dad never texted or emailed in his life. He read emails that had been printed out by my mother, and then discussed them in his office or on the phone. I became addicted to emails and reports from work, and to this day, check and answer emails from the time I drag my butt out of bed in the morning until I hit the hay at night. And I still did it, even after someone started that nasty little rumor that I had retired.
The point is, even if I am hiding out in AZ, in FL visiting ma, on my motor scooter (old coots on scoots – arthritis chapter), butchering a golf course, or more than adequately holding down the chair in dad’s old office, I am checking emails, reviewing reports, and having daily discussions with said nephew. Just like my father and I did, said nephew and I watch over this company as a team, making sure we are in agreement with important issues and decisions, and running the company in the same manner, often with the same people, and with the same positive results (knock on wood), that has been done for the past fifty-plus years when dad first drove a truck across the Illinois line. For the record, the company is 70 years old this year, but the first twenty years of hauling stone was strictly within the state of Illinois.
Now, I suspect said nephew is withholding some of the same information I withheld from dad all those years, so he’s not conning me there either. But, said nephew is doing a great job, which ultimately makes my life a little easier in what is considered a tough business. I just no longer have to get involved in the day-to-day grind of dealing with machinery and people trying to get freight safely and timely from point A to point B. While it might not be rocket science, it sometimes is tougher than one would think, particularly given the interference offered up regularly by our government, but that is a blog for another day. If you don't believe that, I suggest you get in the truck with a driver just one day and see. You will walk away with a whole new respect for a trucker.
So, when said nephew…ok, his name is Todd Perzee, starts out a conversation with, “You won’t believe this, but…” I just sit back, smile, and think to myself, "yes, I would, Todd – been going on now for seventy years and man am I glad I’m not involved in that part of it any longer." So far, he hasn’t hit me with one I hadn’t heard before, nor dad before me, but I suppose it’s lingering out there somewhere, just waiting for a chance to plop down on us.
I think I’ll just hang around some more to see if Todd can dig one up.