Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Much More Than My Dad's Boss

As a 5-year-old child, which is the age I believe my father began working for him; I jumped at the chance I had to go to “the dock”. That place was a wonderland for a young-curious minded child such as I was. The sounds, smells and sights were all very intriguing to me, but what really kept me wanting to visit that place was Koby. These are just a few memories I have of him.

            I remember that he always had time for my siblings and me. On our arrival, as if on cue, out of the office would stroll the familiar figure. Dressed  in starched white shirt, blue slacks,  boots, slicked back raven -black hair and sporting metal framed glasses on his face, he was the epitome of “cool”!" Even then I marveled at the fact that he could keep his shirts so white with all that axle grease! My Dad's typical dress was blue t-shirt, blue jeans and boots and the sweet smell of axle grease still conjures up a warm fuzzy feeling in my soul. It permeated everything!    

I remember how he supported our education by buying everything we were peddling for school or clubs but not before we gave him our sales pitch! Something tells me if we were selling mud pies he would have bought them from us!  

I remember how he let us explore the dock. It was fascinating, with all its boxes, tools, nooks and crannies. It was a perfect place for kids to explore, and explore we did! I can recall his cautious gaze, and his presence wherever we roamed. Ever present; watching out for us. I loved dancing on that dock. It was like a huge stage with  rows of 18 wheelers as my captive audience. The wood was polished to a dark patina from years of loading and unloading cargo and did I ever love running on that thing, bare-footed, wild haired and free! On the occasion of getting a splinter...oh well he didn't have band-aids. Yeowch!!! 

 I remember "finding" the soda pop machine behind his office! What a treat. It was one of those wide free standing Coke machines that smelled of metal shavings when you opened it. It held tiny Coke bottles and it kept them so very icy cold. He took out his roll of dimes and showed us how it worked. He popped the tops off and flicked the cap with his thumb. How cool was that! And to this day whenever I see those tiny "vintage" Coke bottles I just say, yum!

I remember finally getting the chance of entering the inner-sanctum of his trucking business.  I opened the door and entered a room no larger than a small closet with a large calendar on the wall directly in front of me and stopped awestruck, wide mouthed at the sight of  the mountains of ledgers piled  in that tiny office! He smiled, I'm sure stifling a giggle at the look on my face, and he was patient and explained what they were all for. I was a nosy child, what can I say, I really wanted to be the boss of my own trucking business after that experience. That never happened, but I can admit that my own classroom at times has piles similar to that. It's a sign of true genius, I'm sure!

I remember his very cool signature. It was one of those spiky, quick handed signatures. I traced the letters of it one day. I even tried to copy it. It was like a celebrities signature. One that makes a statement all by itself and says," I am proud of my heritage, of who I am, and what I do."  Everyone should have a signature like that!

I remember the sound of his voice when he answered the phone to his company and the sound of his laughter when was caught by surprise at hearing a recorded greeting, leaving a jumbled message and after hanging up hoping and praying that it didn't record. But it did and he called right back to our house. He knew exactly who it was and I think he got rid of it after that! I've gotten better at messages.
I remember listening to him tell my mother that being in music would help me in math.She respected his opinion and she enrolled me in band. At the time I didn't know it, but that decision would end up opening so many doors of opportunity for me.  Giving me lifelong friendships and the love of the arts.

I remember how quickly the tone of his voice could change from boss mode to something much softer when he saw us coming.  I was surprised the first time I heard the booming directness of his voice as he called out orders. He wasn't a large man, a giant to me at that time, but not a large man at all. That voice meant business it said, " you don't have to be physically large to command attention". 
People don't realize they make an impact on your life. Unfortunately I never got to tell him he made one on mine. But I would like to thank him for teaching me some lessons. Thank you for valuing education. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for showing me kindness. Thank you for advising my parents.  
Thank you especially for being so much more than just a boss to my father. You were also a mentor and you didn't even know it. However, after writing that, somehow, I think you do.
Teacher Mom



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