Today I feel like reflecting more upon my father than I normally do. I often refer to my father as “The Mayor of the Break Room.” He had many facets but I think those he was friends with would recognize this one easily. He actually had many careers in his life. He owned two businesses at different times and was reasonably successful, his biggest problem was probably not recognizing when to move on from them. His other big problem, as far as business was concerned, was often being too nice and getting screwed.
Afterwards he gave up his second business which was collectibles, this had come by the way of staying too long in the coin business. He started working for a hardware store chain. He did not give up the collectibles easily and the ordeal until he did nearly cost him his marriage. It’s a memory I have chosen to learn from.
There were other things that happened during this time and i’m going to skip them, at least for now…Suffice it to say that when dad began working in a big box retail store he began to bloom. When a bigger big box competitor moved into the area he jumped ship on his own. This is really when he became The Mayor. After he passed away everyone my brother and I spoke to mentioned our father’s generosity and his ability to organize a work party. He was the break room greeter and often shared pies and other things he would bake with his co-workers. We knew he did these things, and speaking for myself I can say that I never realized how far reaching the positive effects were on the people he knew.
In recent years I wonder how I or any of us reach the people we know in a positive way. I don’t seek to be popular, I don’t think my father did either. I work in a big box auto parts retailer when I am not in graduate school. I reach out to the people I work with, I know everyone’s name and greet them personally when I see them. I respect them and perhaps they respect me back; I don’t feel it’s for me to say that they do. I am the same way with my classmates. I have brought extra cookies I have made into work and into school. I treat people fairly and equally. I take an interest in them, but try not to cross any lines. And I realize that this is really much of what my father did. When I think about my father and his way with people I sometimes see myself. Hopefully when I become a mental health counselor in a year I will be able to connect with clients as easily as with my varied peers.