Who is that person? You know the person who helped you get your life going. Gave you shelter when needed. Helped you heal—fed you. Other than Dad and Mom. Someone who inadvertently maybe paved the way for you. We’ve all had these people along the way. It is shameful to overlook them because your conscience hasn’t evolved with your success. Someone who opened his door and family life to you almost like you were family.
For me, when I needed help the most they were far from family, after my Father and Mother, it was two chefs and a restaurant owner. For some, it’s an older brother, an uncle, or maybe an older relative or neighbor. I built a ham radio at 15 with the expert guidance of a WW2 Veteran neighbor and a mail-order kit, sparking my lifelong interest in radio, film, and video
I always wanted to be a Chef, and when I had nothing and no one left in my life, it was a new dishwashing career and three complete strangers who rejuvenated my life. They gave me a job, shelter, knowledge, a voice, and most importantly, they gave me friendship. Plus, I was getting paid to attend culinary school across the street from my new apartment.
I was in a tent at this time. Not preferable, but very peaceful. It somehow made being penniless more palatable but living at the edges in this manner can be stressful if you allow it. I was in a somewhat desperate situation; no matter how much I enjoyed the stunning peacefulness, I could not escape my new reality’s harsh new reality.
My new boss/friend and restaurant owner loaned me the money to rent an apartment. He then refused to accept repayment. He said to me, “Frank, you are my friend first and coworker second, we can help each other here, it’s only money for God’s sake.” This is an 82-year-old man who works circles around the 20, 30, 40, and fifty-somethings.
He is one of the kindest people I’ve experienced in 62 years. Working for and with him was a palatable pleasure.
One thing I’ve learned; when you work with real professionals, it never really feels like work. Be it live network news, painting houses, splitting wood, or braising short ribs, through it all, the pros and elders made work a delight for me.
During this time my days consisted of cycling, working, and maintaining a safe warm campsite. Tent life is a dance. Best to be near a Recreation Center and 24-hour grocery store if possible. Starbucks and WIFI.
It’s something to consider on your next bicycle ride or aerobic meditation. No one got where they are by themselves.
So thanks to those unanticipayted rungs in my ladder, the blocks in my wall. Whoever they are, don’t climb any further without acknowledging those folks.
My fine friend and the Chef who taught me everything; I hugged him one day and said, “Thanks for saving and rejuvenating my life, Brother.” he responded, “We saved each other, Brother.”
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