Chapter 14. 14 Reflecting on a Legacy: Dad's Enthusiasm Was Contagious

Leaning back against the noisy vinyl of the booth, I stretched my legs under the linoleum-clad table and waited for my Dad. Meeting at either the Windemere or the Market House in Zanesville on Fridays after work was quickly becoming our tradition. Sometimes other staff members would join us and Dad would buy a round. Other times, it was just him and me sipping away our cares together.

That night, my Dad blew in through the door and found me by the window nursing a glass of red wine. He located our server and ordered his standard Crown Royal and Coke. Plasticky seats gave way as he bounced over to a comfortable position, exhaling loudly and smiling broadly.

"What a week, huh?" he said, clapping his hands together with a happy mix of relief and excitement.

It was the mid-1980s, and Dad and I were trying valiantly to work out our personal relationship and keep the business afloat. We had bills to pay, and we were not yet profitable. We couldn't figure out how to keep all the balls in the air; it left us trying desperately to master a delicate juggling act while maintaining cool veneers of reassurance and confidence. We nearly went bankrupt more than once during those years. It was a very taxing, demanding time that exacted an emotional and mental toll on us all.

Dad and I bantered and ate dinner, laughing and reliving the crazy moments of Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. We rehashed the events of Friday and talked ...

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