June 11, 2007

It’s Father’s Day, Of Course

By Paul Bieber

Of course it is, it is the one day a year that Fathers don’t have ten thumbs, can dance smoothly and in the eyes of their kids are smart.

My Dad came home from four years in the Army in WWII, and suddenly my Brother and I were in the family. I cried a lot from colic, and my Dad used to say ‘Baby Boomers’ was created based on my voice. He was not home too much as we grew up because my Dad held a variety of traveling sales jobs.

My Dad, Lester, with his schedule, didn’t help me with homework, and really didn’t teach me business. He did better. His lessons to me were based on religion and caring about people, especially family. In all of his travelings around Ohio, he would always make it home for Friday night and Saturday morning synagogue services. To this day, I’m not sure that I agree with his firmness in the history of the Bible, but I share his beliefs that respect for all people is the number one goal of all people. My Dad respected all people, with the broad exception of our enemies in World War II. He was a medical corpsman in Africa and Italy and saw the killing and wounding of his friends. Up to his death four years ago, he would not buy a Japanese or German car.

The only business concept I remember from Him is: never lie to a customer. It is better to tell the truth, that something will be late, or broken, rather than wait and keep putting off the phone call. He said this practice kept his customers respecting him, even though he might have lost the sale.

The other life-long love I received from my Dad was his love of baseball. He didn’t like to tell war stories, so when we were together, he would tell me about baseball games he had gone to as a child. Ball games in Cleveland were never about championships, but about the champions that came to play in Cleveland. He told me of Ruth and Gehrig, Tris Speaker and Cy Young and many other greats now living in Cooperstown. What a wonderful education this was.

Our son is not going into the business world. He is a history and archeology student in college, and will go into teaching. Right now he is in Macedonia, one of the former Yugoslavian Republics, on an archaeological dig. He has done this for a couple of summers now and just loves it. When he was packing for this years trip he packed his baseball glove and a ball. I asked him about it. He said that he will find someone to play catch with. Philip said “that baseball was a universal language. You can play catch with anyone, you don’t have to speak any language, you don’t have to discuss politics, you just toss the ball. There is no hatred among people with a baseball in their hands. ”

I am proud that my Father taught me, and that this love of the game was passed through to my son.

On the USGlass Forum I am asking people to share a quick story about their Father. We’ll see you there.