Monday, October 31, 2011

Today - The Admiral Retires

Today isn't just Halloween, its also The Admiral's final day as a working stiff.

For a guy who started working before he was 16, I imagine its time to put up the feet and start relaxing a bit, and maybe coming over and washing my windows.  You know, if he has time.

I tip my hat for the The Old Man.  He's a credit to the sort of thing people talk about when they discuss opportunity, and while he hasn't got a particularly charming story, between he and The KareBear, I always knew where the bar was set, and how easy I'd had it when I put together his story.

My dad didn't actually finish high school.  He got a GED, joined the Air Force and somehow wound up in electronics, where he served a few years working on radios and electronics on the tarmac and in trailers in tropical locales half-way around the world.  He served in Vietnam during the early days of the conflict, and upon returning home wound up at a tiny airbase in Michigan where he met The KareBear.

Upon exiting the Air Force, he returned to Florida, enrolled in junior college while working, then enrolled at The University of Florida, continuing on to receive an MBA.  Somewhere in there, he married my mom.

He worked for companies like Martin-Marietta out of school, and eventually took jobs with Great Lakes Steel and Ford up in Michigan.

In the 1970's, he found work in Texas, and did a stint in Dallas.  In about 1981, he landed a job with a large corporation based out of Houston which made everything from hammers to spark plugs to oil tool equipment.

Eventually he wound up working in the finance arena within oil tool manufacturing, at different shops in Austin and Houston, lasting from 1984 until today.

Between he and KareBear, he managed to put us through school, put clothes on our backs and provide the sort of life you generally want for your kids and family.  And he managed to do it while showing up for games and plays, supporting my mother's extra-curricular activities as well (be that attending elementary school assemblies or the soccer games of kids he couldn't pick out of a line-up) but still managed to remain upwardly mobile within a multi-national corporation and travel the world, making the world safe for financial managers and accountants, I suppose.

The Admiral is a funny guy.  He does all of these things, and all with a sense of modesty utterly sincere and unaffected.  We do not talk about what we accomplish.  We talk about what needs to get done.  And we talk about the good things that happened yesterday and dwell on the mistakes of the past only to tell us how we can do better tomorrow.

Its a high bar, and were we all so lucky to just make it a matter of course.

As I grew up, school, work and geography conspired that it became rare I could visit his office.  However, it wasn't that many years ago that I had a chance to tour his then-office and get introduced to suites of colleagues that I knew reported to him or who were in his chain of command.  It was still great to see not just how he clearly was happy to show us where he spent his days between 8 and 5, and show such great pleasure in the place he worked and the people he worked with.  He'd never trumpet his own horn, but I know he was a VP of something-or-other.  A suit.  But he was still more or less the same guy you might see helping out at the Church bake-sale figuring out a better way to sell the pastries, and the one who merrily led my cub scout troop through making decorative eagles out of clothespins.

Anyway, here's a salute to The Admiral.  Captain of Industry.  Capitalist.  World Traveler.  Colleague.  Friend.  My Old Man.

The thing is - He's not going to slow down.  I know this guy.  Sure, the KareBear will have him running, but he's not one to just sit back.  He's going to have so many plates spinning in six months, I'm just nervous about what tasks I'll have assigned to me, and that's all right.  Its been a while since me and The Old Man were accidentally breaking something together.

Salut, Dad.

We'll see you in Austin.


Paul Toohey said...

Congrats to The Admiral on reaching this accomplishment!

J.S. said...

Happy retirement, Dad!