Thursday night was the last time that Chuck set the alarm.
Friday morning was the last time that Chuck left for work in the predawn light.
When I say it's the end of an era - I'm serious. In the late 50's and early 60's, Chuck was a punk. He modeled his hair like James Dean and rode a motorcycle, causing his Mom no end of worries.
Everything changed when he joined the Marines and began the 'adventure' of a lifetime... in Vietnam. By the time he came home again, the punk was gone forever. No punks survive boot camp!! He was 17.
Within just a few years, he married, and was working for the Custodis chimney/smokestack company that had existed in some form or other since the late 1800's. Most of the men in his family either were currently working for Custodis, or had, including his father and brother.
Just as in the Marines, Chuck's value as a leader, and a hard working sonofa*!^% set him apart and he was soon working as a foreman onsite at just about every powerplant in the midwest, and some as far east as West VA.
In the late 90's, he moved from the field to the office, becoming a salesman for the company.
Having worked for so many years onsite, he knew just about everything there was to know about the repair side of the business, and had personal relationships with plant foremen at most of the locations he'd worked. I'm not being biased when I say that Chuck has more in his head concerning how to inspect and repair chimneys, and fill out inspection reports/estimates than anyone in the world. He can look at a stack and come up with an accurate estimate on what's wrong and right with it! Custodis has been the best, and safest, smokestack company in the world (yes, they are an international company), and Chuck has been working in the repair side of the company for 40 yrs with an excellent record and reputation for loyalty, smart decision making, and hard work. (I remember all too well trying to talk him out of going to work on a winter day when a blizzard overnight had shut down EVERYTHING - but he's go anyway, only to find out that he was the only one who showed up.)
I'm publishing this blog the day after he comes home from work for good, and hopefully he won't see this right away, because:
Tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, I am hosting a Retirement Open House for Chuck, out back in the Gazebo. If you'd like to congratulate him, and wish him well in this new adventure, and especially if you'd like to talk to him about his impending TRIP OF A LIFETIME TO ALASKA - then please, take an hour to drop in and say hey, and eat a fluffy burger from Morgan's Meat Market. (You haven't tasted burger until you've had one of these!) If you can't come, give him a call on his cell phone. The number is... well, email me and I'll send it to you! He has a new number, not the old 630 number. He's tremendously excited about retirement, and fulfilling several of his traveling dreams, and I'm so proud of how well he's lived his life that I could just burst!