Sunday, March 11, 2012

OLD is good. Specially when it comes to friends!

WHAT in the Hell is wrong with our society anyway?!@!?

Why do we think that something/one old is not worthwhile?

How easily we discard something that was once valuable to us, but now seemingly is worthless? 

It's true that technology moves forward, I wouldn't be writing this to you in the same manner, or maybe not at all, if it weren't for technology.  My first VCR cost me a whopping $750 when a car could be bought for 5 grand.  My first computer was nearly 5 large during the early eighties.  The laptop I am working on, I bought last year for 500 bucks.  It's quite a contrast to the Mac's sitting downstairs on the shelf.

I have a bunch of old motorcycles, no Z rated tires to be seen, no chip controlled fuel delivery, not a mag wheel or streamlined fairing among the lot.  Some of them even have points and condensers!

There's a cherished blue MGB under it's cover in my garage.  It has a single Stromberg CV carburetor under it's hood and a pushrod engine.  No EFI Double Overhead Cam 4 valve, flat/inline/V something or other to brag about to those that feel it's important to have such things.  Even the rag top  is operated not by the push of a button, but a confusing set of instructions to lift or store the thing.  Don't get me wrong... it's


Not that I despise Porches, or Beemers or Ferrari's... not at all, but if I had one of those, it would likely qualify for vintage insurance like the B out back.

I had a call today (by phone!) from John Metcalfe (not his real name... Okay, it's his real name but I'm intentionally mispronouncing it to mislead you and protect his identity.) 

John is one of my dearest and oldest friends.*  I first met him in 1977 while working in Fort Mac.  You see, John and some family members, did what I had wanted to do up there, open a Yamaha dealership. 

At first Four Season's RV was a pretty modest business, small confined space, selling snowmobiles (not ski-doos) and a line of campers and trailers, hence the RV in the title.  I was a machinist at the Oil sands and a motorcycle rider and racer.  When I was kick-starting a Canada Safety Council motorcycle program (that's a whole 'nother story)  I approached them to loan some bikes, which they gladly did.

Prior to my leaving for the East coast, I offered my services to John as a sales/parts/gopher/advertising guy.  He told me I 'd make a lousy salesman, and he was probably right.  If I had to make a living selling carpets and trinkets to tourists on a Baghdad street corner, I'd likely starve.  What I did have was passion, drive, enthusiasm (Dr. N. get it ) and a desire to learn the biz.  Being in a highly paid trade in those days, earning on average a couple grand a month (the equivalent today to 4-5 times that) I made John an offer he couldn't refuse, I'd work for $500 a month, the amount needed to cover my mortgage.

To my surprise and his credit, he agreed... but threw in some bonus money based on whatever machines, parts or accessories I sold.  Needless to say, my paycheck was substantially higher at year end to everyone's surprise.  I worked there for 3 years before heading east to start Freedom Cycle.

I may not be a salesman, but I know my stuff and what questions to ask...


Back to the phone call... we could easily have talked for several hours, laughing and reminiscing about what were truly, the "Good old days"  Unlike most, these really were.  Before hanging up the receiver or in my case the headset, we agreed that before I departed once again for parts east, I would make a trip to his Devon home, to where he has retired since selling the biz.


John is a man that has lived thru some tough times, economically, mentally and physically.  By his own account he's had 467 heart attacks and beaten the big "C" to boot.  Today he seems pretty content on the little acreage to putter about on the John Deere and chop wood.

His call certainly made my day, which began rather roughly.

You see, even though we haven't seen each other or talked much lately as is the case with many of my friends... the bond is still solid and evident.  So what if we're getting old?  Who gives a hoot, we're aging gracefully and no matter how much time passes, or distance between myself and my good friends,* they will always remain so. 

People in business often forget this Golden rule.  It's people that make the difference, not things.  We cherish things and technology, when a new Porsche can never be a best friend.  Only best friends can...

Dr. N.

* A short version of a long list:

Frenda, Rob, Rusty, Diane, Mike, Mike, and Mike, Barb, Karen, Bel, Donnie and Nora, Hance, Judy, Karen, Carole, Dianne, Tom, Deryl, Judy, Dennet, Mike, Ron and Ron, Lisa, John, Marylin, Connie and dozens more...

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