Over the course of the years, dare I say over the course of my life, I have had countless conversations with a friend and mentor. As kids we used to spend holidays together. Sometimes at his house, other times at mine. His father was a teacher. My father was a preacher. He followed in his father’s footsteps. I did not. After high school we actually ended up in business together. We ran a construction company. Details will not be shared as they are probably sketchy at best and open to wrong interpretations at worst. Although we were only a year apart in age our maturity levels were significantly different. Due to varying factors in our lives he decided, in all his wisdom, and maturity, to get married at an early age. Me not so much.
I recall so vividly the day we decided to go into business together. We were sitting at G. Willikers in Winnipeg. We had actually gone for tux measurements that day. After all he was getting married and I had the distinct privilege of being the best man. Over some drinks, and I suspect they were Singapore Slings, we decided to go into business together. We were young. We were naïve. But our plans were grandiose. Perhaps we can blame it on the Slings.
We did go into business together. We did complete some projects. There were certain challenges on the way. I could tell you about the guy that wanted to pay us with pot. Might have made the journey more pleasant. I could tell you about the expertise that I brought to the company. Some worked, some did not. Through all of this my friend and colleague stuck with the program. Only now do I understand the difficulties that this arrangement created for him.
I will share a story with you, without his permission, because I know he will go with it or he will forgive me. That is just who he is. Earlier this summer he and his significant other joined us on our deck on PEI. They had ventured out for our daughter’s wedding. Tells you how close we are. Over drinks and pizza that night my wife asked him what had happened to the construction company that started so many years ago. His answer was quick. His answer was short. His answer answered the question. An answer that still elicits a chuckle.
You see, he was sick for a week that fall. Had a bad cold. The good news is he quit smoking. The bad news is he was not happy with the work that was done while he was sick. When my wife asked him about that he said he realized it was a lost cause when all I had accomplished that week was putting up two sheets of plywood. I now get it.
He has moved on. Good for him. He pursued a higher education and has become a teacher that is helping kids find their potential. He has written a book and I had the privilege to attend a book launch recently. It made me proud to be associated with him. Knowing he had influenced me in so many ways. In a weird way I was also happy I had only put up two sheets of plywood way back when. In some small way my ineptness helped him find a different career path, much more suited to his expertise. His wisdom.
A number of years ago, as we were sharing stories after a round of golf, I asked him about teaching. He shared with me the fact that he did not necessarily teach the kids; rather he helped them discover the knowledge within. That resonated with me. And through the years, as I have continued on a journey of recovery and discovery, I have come to realize that I have the knowledge in me to grow, to recover, and to learn. That knowledge comes from talking to others, sharing experiences and discovering anew, on a regular basis, that I know this stuff. I just need guidance to discover it and make it part of my life. He has helped me. You have helped me. And for that I am thankful. Make it a good one.