Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Person of Note

By Rob Watson

The following is an exchange between a dear friend and myself. I have permission to post this from that person. As is my usual the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

In my dream I had to go to Texas and see where this river from Wyoming flowed from Texas into Mexico. I got into the river in Mexico and swam a few yards into Texas. You, Husband, your father, and another man were swimming in the river. I explained to your father that the nice clear water had come all the way from Wyoming. (A considerable geographical feat if you think about it). At this point I woke up.

I was unable to go back to sleep and began to think about your dad. I really did not know him at all but I developed a great respect for him. Toward the end of our freshman year in high school I grew some chickens for the "Chicken of Tomorrow" contest. The final show and judging and auction were held in the Citizens Bank parking lot across from your father's office. I won the grand champion prize that year. Normally the bank bought the winning coop of 6 chickens. Normally the price was about $4 to $6 per chicken. Your dad bought my chickens for more than $8 each. It caused a lot of comment at the time because it was the most ever paid for chickens in that contest in that part of HomeState. There was even a write up and comment in the HomeTown Press. (For those not around in 1962. a four pound chicken would sell for 59 to 79 CENTS in the grocery store.)

At the time I overheard some conversations speculating on why your dad paid so much. Some said he thought he was bidding on the whole coop instead of per chicken. Others claimed he understood... anyway, I saved that money and it paid a good part of my expenses to go to the Boy Scout National Jamboree in 1964 and the New York Worlds Fair. Someday I will have to show you the movies I made of GoodBuddy and I foot loose and fancy free in the worlds largest city. As I write now, and remember those times, I have a huge smile on my face.

When I was ready to drive I went to your dad to buy my car insurance... He refused my money and directed me to go to my parents insurance agent. I was sad when he gave up that business. Having been a salesman and faced my own setbacks I sometimes try to identify with him... But I never had three kids to support. Good man!

How did Husband like his year as a substitute? I really hated mine. I did three long term BASS/Resource jobs, then for three months took over a metal shop when the teacher had a fight (verbal) with his principal and got suspended. I never had taken a shop class before and had to learn everything I tried to teach. I really did a poor job... but the innocence of youth prompted some of the students to go to the office and tell them what a great guy I was and they wanted me back next year.

It just goes to prove a recent theory of mine: No matter how bad you are some people will always love you; and no matter how good you are some people will always hate you. ( I believe you had an experience along these lines last summer.)

Have you taken your cruise to Portugal yet? When you told me about that last year I wondered what it would be like on the Atlantic in springtime. Have you been to England to visit with your son? Where is he?

Sorry it has been so long sense I have written.
Your friend, Rob.

I'm sitting her with tears in my eyes having read the wonderful words you wrote about my father. You made him come to life again for me today, and I see him in his office working away. He did love HomeTown and working with the people there. And it was his kindness that you wrote about that eventually ended up costing him his business. When the mill went on strike and so many of his customers, who were his friends, couldn't make their insurance payments, instead of canceling their insurance, he carried them... and in many cases, made the payments himself. So, you see that mill strike hurt more people than just the mill workers.

I never knew about the dad loved scouting so maybe he did pay the extra $$ to help you with your trip. Who knows....

I apologize for not writing you in ages, but my life has been very hectic. At first, I was depressed about my son moving SO far away so I focused on my work like a crazy person...working way too much for me. Then it was time to plan for our trip, then take our trip, and then recover from our trip!!

We had a cruise and trip to Spain...gone for 3 weeks. I'll have to send you some pictures that Husband took...they were great. Anyway, the weather was wonderful. The seas were very calm...we left from Miami, then to Nassau and had 5 straight days at sea before reaching the Azores, then went to Lisbon, Seville, Spain; Marcella and then to Barcelona. We stayed in Barcelona two nights, took a train to Madrid and were there 3 days before flying back to BigTown. We were exhausted! I caught a cold the last couple of days and ended up spending the first two weeks we were home in bed with bronchitis.

In fact, the end of last week was the first week I felt good since we got home on the 25th of May. I need my rest because I am flying out on the 20th to stay a week with my son in London. (Yes, I have become a jet setter!! Thank goodness for cheap European air fares!). Husband isn't going with me. We decided to go separately to see Son. That way, he would have more visits from home (for the same amount of money.) He is having ups and downs....and at one point I really thought he would be coming home...but then he discovered traveling! He spent Memorial Day weekend in Normandy at Omaha Beach and surrounding area. He went one weekend to Belgium to visit friends and he flies Thursday to Nuremberg for the day to a World Cup game where England plays. In fact, he and I will be meeting in the airport on Wednesday next week when I fly over. He'll be flying back from Sweden. Of course travel over there from country to country is like going from one state to another over here.

So, have you made the great move? If so, how do you like your new home? (Oh, and Husband loves substitute teaching...he signed up to be a 'stellar' sub at the local middle school...which means he will automatically go there every day and then be assigned a class. The man is crazy sometimes!!)

Take care...and thanks for the lovely story about my daddy (even your dream made me smile!)

I appreciate the kind words you shared about Nick (as I called him), my grandfather. To me, he was a tremendous man that was all about respect and something he taught me at a young age.  I hope you don't mind that my mother shared this memory with me.

I still think about him often and its great to hear some of his stories. He always taught me to think of others first and I'm happy to say that I'm about to be 30, living and working in London and what he taught me twenty or so years ago -- still lives on today.

Best wishes and thanks again.

Best, Son

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