Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Centennial marks celebration of life

My father turned 100 on Sunday.

Well, at least I could celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth above the sod.

Ben C. died 13 years ago after an outstanding career as father, post office worker, draftsman, and hardware salesman.

No, he didn't pedal monitors, component towers, keyboards or those pesky external drives.

He dealt with real hardware, stuff such as carriage bolts, hammers, light switches, drill bits, and allen wrenches, that real people used to keep their homes and businesses humming in top repair.

There was no one better at puttying a new glass window into a wooden sash or repairing an alumnium screen door -- services that are nearly impossible to find in a throw-it-away-and-just-buy-it-new culture.

Picasso had nothing on a guy who could free-hand paint a sign (Trash Cans: $2.98) that could stop traffic cold on Davison East. And, of course, he served customers cordially and faithfully with knowledgable advice while asking "Was there anything else today?"

Ben C. probably would have been an outstanding aeronautical engineer if only he could have finished his second two years of college instead of having to survive the First Great Depression of the early 1930s. But he chose to pilot a better course for all of us as Dad.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Long-term love affair continues unbridled

She's still wears a smart, designer, coffee-cream coat, likes a good party, maintains a great wine cellar, and welcomes family and friends with warmth and love.

She's my house. I celebrate my silver anniversary with her this week.

It does seem like only yesterday that my dear departed and I trampled in the cold to a savings-and-loan in a north Detroit suburb to sign the mortgage papers and close the deal. This imporant real estate transaction really felt good, underscored by the prospect of a recovering economy and a new job for me at the-company-formerly-known-as-The-General at world headquarters.

So, 25 years later, how has it turned out?

The high-curb-appeal beige ranch on the commons is still standing tall, continuing to earn raves from first-time visitors. It has provided an anchor for life and career ups-and-downs, celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries, Belgian visitors, and Stanley Cups, and barbequed burgers. The company, on the other hand, has died stone-cold through bankruptcy.

While the real estate market has tanked, my personal palace delivers peace and comfort that some folks in newer mini-mansions can't hope to enjoy...especially hampered by underwater, interest-fueled mortgages. I'll be looking for brand-new digs some day but, in the current environment, there's nothing like living with the one you love.