Volume 49, Issue 4 - April 2014


I Knew This Day Would Come!
by Lyle R. Hill

It arrived by e-mail and as I quickly skimmed through it, I was truly disappointed. How impersonal. Didn’t I at least deserve a phone call … especially after all these years? But I guess deep down inside, I always knew this day would come, and now it had. That’s the way it is in business these days. People are viewed like machines. If they break down or can be replaced by someone cheaper or quicker, no additional consideration is given, or needed. The deal is done. But I wasn’t going down this easy. I picked up the phone and called … the BOSS.

“Good morning, this is Deb Levy and how can I help you?”

Sure she has a pleasant voice but that wasn’t going to sway me.

“Deb, it’s Lyle Hill and I just got your e-mail memo regarding my column and I think we need to talk.”

“Oh good, Lyle. I’m glad you called.”

I’ll bet she’s glad I called. Like she’d be glad if she had a toothache.

“Deb, I’m a little disappointed. I mean after all, don’t you think I at least deserved a phone call to discuss this?”

“Well Lyle, as I said in my e-mail, I tried calling you a couple of times but when you didn’t answer or return my voicemail messages, I thought I’d better shoot you an e-mail so you could make deadline. You know, sometimes you have a problem with deadlines.”

Oh she’s good. Trying to turn the tables on me here by bringing up the deadline thing.

“Okay, Deb, you’re right about the phone calls but I thought we had a deal. I mean, now all of a sudden you’re telling me what I have to write about and while I have never argued with you when you guys decided something wasn’t magazine-worthy, you have never dictated what I had to write about. So maybe I’m thinking this is your way of getting rid of me. You know how important my independence is to me.”

“I know that, Lyle, but I think the word I used in the e-mail was suggestion and that would hardly qualify as dictating your topic.”

“Okay, so maybe you’re right about the words you used, but what if I don’t want to write about what you are suggesting?”

“Lyle, it’s totally up to you. My suggestion was just that you could help us out a bit by writing about a couple of things we are getting questions on—as mentioned in my e-mail—and we thought it would be best if you provided the answers instead of us speaking for you.”

“But Deb, I’ve covered this stuff regularly in my Wednesday blogs.” (http://lyleblog.usglassmag.com)

“Yes you have Lyle, but your blogs reach hundreds of people whereas USGlass has over 40,000 readers and we regularly get calls about this. So hey, help us out here, okay? And we’re not trying to get rid of you.”

Yes, she has a pleasant voice—and in the end, she won. So here goes and this was not my idea!

Health Matters – On March 11, I was officially told that I am now cancer-free. The stem cell transplant procedure worked and I am getting stronger every day. I do have a long way to go before I am all the way back to normal, whatever that might mean. The last seven months have been an adventure to say the least. Five rounds of chemotherapy, four straight days of twice-a-day radiation treatments and finally the cell transplant. The cell transplant procedure was started on December 24 and finished the next morning … Christmas Day, 2013. Quite a Christmas gift!

I was amazed and truly humbled by the cards and e-mails I received throughout the ordeal. I saved each one and tried my best to answer each one also. Several people who made contact shared their cancer stories and I came to realize that others have had it worse than me and the stories were really encouraging. Often the correspondence would begin with “You don’t know me but because of USGlass I feel like I know you,” and off they would go. I have a large shopping bag full of these and I’m not sure I will ever be able to throw them away. Probably not ever.

I was also quite amazed by the number of people who said they were praying for me. In a number of cases I was told that my name had been added to a group’s prayer chain or that entire church groups were including me in their prayer efforts. As a believer … and I absolutely consider myself one … this meant a great deal to me. I was so touched by this.

I learned a great deal from all of this and in some ways, I have been changed by it forever. Okay, probably more than you wanted to hear, so I’ll stop now and just say one last “thank you” to one and all for the support and encouragement I received.

The Book – One of the positives, and there weren’t too many, that came out of the cancer ordeal was that it provided me with enough down time to finish editing the book that probably would never have gotten finished otherwise. My grandkids were the motivation for the book and I was so afraid that I might not make it through the treatment procedure that I worked hard to get the book done. And by golly, the thing is out and to my complete surprise, people are actually buying it. If you have any interest, it is titled “The Broken Tomato” and is available at amazon.com or through USGlass. All income I receive from the book goes to charity.

Last Thing - if you were one of the people whom I have probably never met but who wrote to me during these last several months, if the opportunity arises, at an industry event or other gathering, please track me down. I owe you a hug!

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. Hill has more than 40 years experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at lhill@glass.com. You can read his blog on Wednesdays at lyleblog.usglassmag.com. You can order his new book, “The Broken Tomato” at amazon.com.


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