Volume 34, Number 11,  November 1999



by Lyle Hill

I am amazed by the fact ... no, that’s not right ... I am deeply impressed with ... no, that’s not it either. OK, let’s try this. I am in awe of ... no, no, no. This isn’t working. You see, the trick to writing these articles is to come up with a catchy first sentence and a cute or zingy last sentence. The rest is usually much easier if you can get the beginning and ending nailed down early. Sometimes, the entire thing gets done but can’t be used until I get the start and ending figured out.
Occasionally, this gets pretty frustrating. Like now for instance. Well, for the moment at least, I’ll forget about cute and zingy and say what’s on my mind. Every now and then that works too.
It’s 4:15 a.m. on Friday, November 5th, 1999. A couple of hours ago as I laid awake thinking of the dozens of things I needed to try to get accomplished today, I began to think about Thanksgiving. It’s 20 days from now. And suddenly it dawned on me that this is the last Thanksgiving of the century. To me, this had a bit of an impact. In fact, my mind went in all kinds of directions. Finally, when I couldn’t take it any more, I got up, put on a pot of coffee and started writing. It’s what I do sometimes when I can’t sleep. In fact, hold it right here while I refill my cup.
Ahhh ... Maxwell House Deep Roast. Good stuff in the early, dark hours of the morning. I like this time of day. It’s peaceful and quiet. A great time to think. When I was a kid I used to deliver newspapers in the early morning. I loved mornings like this. I wonder who’s got that route now. In fact, if prices don’t start to improve, maybe I’ll have to check that out. OK, we’re losing focus here so let’s get back on track. As I was saying, I have been thinking about our special time in history and my need to express my thankfulness for all that I’ve been allowed to see and take part
in ...
• The freedoms that we have in this country. The freedom to worship as we believe. The freedom to not only have dreams and goals, but to actually pursue them with a belief that they are attainable.
• My wonderful family. Yeah, once in a while they can drive me a little wacky, but I think they’re great. And I think it’s pretty neat that all three of our kids, their spouses and our four grandkids all live within three miles of our home.
• Old friends, both in and out of the “business.” Most of them are a riot. And some of them are probably certifiably nuts. But what a treat to talk with guys like “Jungle Jim Bruney” who pound-for-pound might be the wittiest guy in America, or “Johnny the Mooch” when he’s allowed to make calls, or any number of other people that I genuinely like and admire.
• New friends. There’s not a year that goes by that I don’t meet someone that I am proud to call my friend. Our company has expanded a bit this past year and I’ve had the chance to meet so many talented people. An every now and then, friends are made in strange ways.
• For competitors, both good and bad. Yes, I’m thankful for both. The good competitors are good for the industry and keep us sharp. The bad ones, although frustrating to some extent, provide us with endless humor and almost daily examples of how not to run our businesses. I’ll actually miss some of them when they’re gone.
• For customers, both good and bad. You always need good customers. They’re what keep you alive. And you need bad ones too ... so your competitors can have someone to work for.
• For suppliers, both good and bad. You always need good suppliers. They’re your strength. And you need bad ones too ... so your competitors have someone to buy from.
And lastly ... because the sun’s starting to come up and I have a meeting with some of “my friends” in about another hour or so. I’m thankful for the people who helped me so much as I tried to make a career for myself in this industry. So thanks Bill and Pat, and especially you Coach Joe. I never would have made it through these past 30 years in this business if I hadn’t gotten started in it with you guys.
Happy Thanksgiving!  


Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.