The projects were overdue, all of them. No matter how busy our stained-glass studio was, it always seemed like a jolly good idea to take on another one. For the most part, it worked well enough, in that churches took a long time to get built, stained glass windows last a very long time, and our quality was extremely good. There is a penalty for that last item, which brought about the problem mentioned at the beginning. We only allowed skilled and experienced craftsmen and women to work on them, which narrowed the field of workers down to, well, pretty much, us. It is so hard to scale up that in which we were doing. Growing up in a home that shared walls with this studio, nothing seemed like rocket science to me, until, I would start to send a new hire to do it. That’s when the thud hits. I, and my cohorts, have a lot to do.
In life, a bit of philosophy should be considered and applied. The fires in front of you can so easily turn into the burning bush of Moses and the fifteen commandments, the flames continue, yet the bush is never consumed. The flames, one might find, are a symptom, and not the cause of one’s problems. The years start to go by awfully fast when one looks back. This is neither a complaint nor a warning. I liked my job, and to each his own. Some are quite fine putting all their time into a single endeavor, which is sometimes the road to great success. (he dropped a tablet, doesn’t like to talk about it)
While my career was foremost, I didn’t want it to be everything. I didn’t want my friends to be clients.
Among the many things in life, I took up sport: trail running, mountain biking, a land navigation sport called, Orienteering, which all lead nicely into the burgeoning team sport of Adventure Racing.
We trained hard. I made lots of friends. Even better, they were an eclectic group of friends. Then we started to get rather good, though it took many years. Being good always takes many years, no matter how awesome you might think that you are. Our team got ranked top in the nation in 2009 and became very close to that, second, in 2015.
Everything in moderation is good advice, advice that I respect. Everything in a big damn hurry is what I got. Again, I am not complaining as I enjoyed it a lot, and the friend groups are truly amazing.
Driving Miss Fran: Part Two
My mother, Frances, started to come down with Alzheimer’s disease many, many years ago. Her progression was somewhat slow, as is mine with ALS, although mine was later. Descriptions of both, in print, tend to start with, “a devastating disease.” Though not arguing, I’m not sure how helpful that is.
While I lose many things, my mother was slowly losing herself. Hard things in life just can’t be rated.
People with Alzheimer’s usually go through different emotional phases. There was a period, a good way in, where my mother was agitated, a lot. One thing that often calmed her down was taking her for a drive. She used to be an extremely good driver, rather liked it, and never a single accident. On rare occasions, I would clock out of work and take her for a drive. We didn’t talk much, as she seemed content and didn’t have a lot to say, at this phase of the disease, and this brings me to the point of this little story.
It was glorious. My life had become so busy, that things like driving, had become an annoying waste of time. Traffic was irritating. I’m running late. I need to get there. Now, I had nowhere in particular to go, no quickest route to consider, I could whimsically decide where I might turn at each intersection. “Oh, go ahead person waiting to cross the road, I’ll wait, no problem, sure, you’re welcome.” It sometimes amazes me how large an impact simple things can have.
Mother did throw me a conversational curveball one time. As we were going through a McDonald’s drive-thru to get ice-cream cones just before heading back, mom leaned over towards the pull up window and yelled, ” help, help, he’s kidnapping me!” Up till then, I had no idea that my conversation was that bad. I wished that she had brought this up before now! The poor girl handing me the ice cream, with increasing hesitation, was a deer caught in the headlights. I was at a bit of a loss for words myself. Is this a point one in my position can logically debate? Though some people have, I’m not those people. Knowing me, my protest would surely turn into a Monty Python skit. ‘Perhaps I should drive straight to the police station, it’s only a couple blocks’ I thought. ‘Maybe that might lessen the ruckus’. Nobody called, and we went home with our ice-cream. This in itself, is a bit concerning.
Little Blurbs and Extras:
One day, while being watched by a hired caretaker, Frances went missing. The caregiver was a slightly older lady, professional, and had a good heart. After some frantic searching, she rightfully called the police. As the kind lady was explaining the situation to the City of Kirkwood police officer, she started to cry. Then, the back door of the car they were standing next to opened up. Out comes mom, who started hugging the lady and saying, “there there, it’ll get better.”
This is the Obituary of the second generation of our company, and my Grandfather, as it appeared in the New York Times. This was recently found by my wife, Mary.
Wow David! I sure hope I would have called the police and put an end to your kidnapping ways. Also, I’d never seen Grandgathers obituary. For some reason I thought he’d died at a younger age
Well, I guess 71 is a younger age these days. What I did know, was that he died when I was three, and I just missed having a memory of him. A connection that I did have with him, was when my dad announced to him that mom was pregnant with me, Emil Jr. Said, “and you’re proud of that?” Dear to my heart. I will always cherish that. (Emil Frei, Jr. Was a constant kidder)
Great stories. As I was reading, my mind jumped anxiously to a different outcome to Driving Miss Fran, involving the police. I guess the McDonald’s worker didn’t think a hardened criminal would drive through McDonald’s with his prisoner. I’m glad that worked out.
I grew up in Des Peres, but spent my adult years in TX and CA until recent years. As a kid, Kirkwood was our shopping district. Because of your skilled craftsmanship, some of your family history is also Kirkwood/St. Louis history. Love it! As I’ve said many time but it bears repeating, I’m reminded of you and your family every time I step into our beautiful sanctuary.