We lost a dear friend late last week. It has been extremely difficult for me, Richard, and our entire staff to digest this loss. Monty was truly an amazing person. Those of you who also know him, will absolutely agree with me on that. His joyful laugh was infectious and he brought a lively nature into every conversation.
Monty has been a significant part of our team for the last few years. Monty’s work ethic, and life experiences was a model that other staff members noticed and worked to exemplify his success. Monty had the heart of a true entrepreneur. He was willing to take risks, try anything new, and discuss the potential and possibilities of “the what ifs”.
I’ve tried to wrap in my mind the impact he has left upon all of us… mentor, friend, and most definitely “hardware store dad” and dear friend to all of our staff. As a good dad model, Monty always had a kind heart, offering food those who were hungry, and even advice when you needed it. I’m not sure that I can fully grasp, and vocalize everything Monty has done for us. His daily life impact will be long lasting. Monty’s actions demonstrated that he truly cared for all of us and wanted only the BEST for every single staff member at Wilkes County Hardware and everyone he encountered in the surrounding community.
Grief is hard. I ask that y’all send prayers to Monty’s family, as the journey of grief is beginning. Monty loved his family. We also covet your prayers as we grieve and try to transition to life without him inside our store. Monty will remain a key part of our heart inside Wilkes County Hardware and we will carry his love with us forever.
I realized a few weeks ago that I had never really vocalized the importance of the wooden rocker in our family. It has always been a central part of our 27 years of married life. I hope y’all enjoy the Wooden Rocker a little bit more each time you visit us. Happy reading & rocking y’all!
Many people who stop by to shop with us will often say, “oh my goodness, you are sitting in Harry’s chair! “ True, HG loved that rocking chair but did y’all realize that chair has not always been a fixture at Wilkes County Hardware???
The rocking chair actually appeared at Wilkes County Hardware after we purchased the store. The wooden rocker was actually one of the first furniture purchases that we made as a young married couple at Gray Brothers Furniture. I rocked my son as a tiny baby to soothe him into blissful slumber in that same wooden rocking chair.
The rocking chair carried memories of our home to our new business. One of the things we wanted to bring to our new existing business was a more “homey”, welcoming, hardware store experience. Over time, the locals and staff became accustomed to the wooden rocking chair. It was now a “fixture” and a new portion of our store legacy. Harry loved that chair but he also sat down wherever there was an empty spot. He was never picky about where he was going to dwell for his daily visit.
For those of you who may not have been blessed to know Harry, he was an amazing individual. Harry loved life, each and every day. Harry was a dear husband to his sweet wife, a great family man, and cared deeply for his surrounding community.
Harry spent a lot of time with us at Wilkes County Hardware. He was our resident advisor, & he greeted all of our customers with a smile. Harry would sit and talk with those who would take time to sit down with him while he rocked in the rocking chair. Harry loved people, engaging conversations, and in general terms, living a simple life.
Harry gave Richard & I love each and every day. I know in my heart in the first year of ownership of Wilkes County Hardware, he gave Richard confidence to keep going, pressing on to do what needed to be done, changing the layout of the hardware store, & adjusting to running a small business. Harry was one of our biggest supporters and we are eternally grateful for his love and friendship.
In the second and third years of ownership, he became an honorary family member. He was never far from our minds or hearts. His sudden parting left a huge hole in our hearts.
The plaque of remembrance on the wooden rocker was a great and powerful way to honor such an amazing man who brought so much love, new hardware store life memories, and blessings upon us. His lasting impact on our lives are ever changed. We have wonderful friendships formed as a result of his influence. One person truly can make a difference in the lives of many people.
I was standing in my kitchen Thursday morning before leaving to go to the hardware store, listening to Hoda and Jenna in the background on the television.
Hoda began to discuss a feature she had recently saw on Warren Buffett. He had revealed a bit of life advice.
The life advice conversation Hoda was retelling focused on the people in your inner circle, those who you could call upon in times of crisis or need. Buffett had spoken about a dear friend who survived Auschwitz. Every time they would meet someone new, they make a mental note, “would they have hid me”?
Wow… those type of friends or family are the people you need in your inner circle of life. Definitely those who you can count on in times of laughter and crisis….Right???
It was always an an “Aha moment”, when my middle students realized that Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr were born in the same year, 1929.
This interview piece brought several things to the forefront of my mind. I recalled that, Holocaust Remembrance Day was earlier this past week.
One of things we discussed in class was how different their experiences were, but the history of the times bonded them together, they were in the “same life boat of history “.
As I heard the interview from my kitchen, it all came to me…my grandparents were born in 1928. This was not a revolutionary insight, but more of a full circle moment for me.
I have lost two people from my inner circle that loved me dearly. The events from the interview and real life combined into my daily existence…
My grandparents would have been there for me if I needed them.
My inner circle may have grown smaller, but those who are inside that circle, are there because they would do anything they could for me or my family.
Grief is hard…
AND Life is short y’all. Find & keep those who are in your inner circle, those who would have “hid” you.
My grandparents witnessed a tremendous amount of history in their lifetime. Just like Anne Frank & MLK, they “arrived in different ships” but they ended up in the same “historical boat”.
Is your “boat” full ??? Who’s in your inner circle of care??? Do you have room for more on board???
February brings me full circle in 2021. This time last year, my grandmother took a huge downturn in health. I spent many hours at my grandparents house and a few hours in between at the hardware store.
With both of my grandparents now gone, I have more time to focus work, another huge part of my life journey, Another chapter…
Perspective. Chapters do come to an end, & things change. Sometimes life is hard. As another chapter begins to unfold, another one concludes.
I realize that these chapters should not dictate my life story, and I know they are an important part of my story.
So I’m ready this February to greet the circle of change, coming full circle.
As a retired history teacher, this day many years ago, was a watershed event in American history. Famously stated now by our former President, Franklin Roosevelt, “December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy-the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
How Americans lived and worked simply turned on a dime after this tragic day. America quickly entered into World War II and wartime life began.
The significance of history sometimes makes me consider the present day… in 2020, our world has experienced one of those unique watershed events, fighting a pandemic.
No, we may not have sent troops into full combat across the globe to fight against tyranny. But for many folks, 2020 will be a year that will go down in “infamy “.
Those like my grandparents who were part of the Great Depression/WWII Era, were called the Greatest Generation, rightfully so, in my opinion.
The “Greatest Generation” was given the name by news anchor, Tom Brokaw. These folks contributed to war effort, fought in war, & helped however they could because it was the right thing to do. They also worked in war production plants, & rationed… yes, they sacrificed… they didn’t have the basic necessities so the troops could have them during the war. Meatless days, Wheatless days, no sugar, coffee, & gas rationing. What an amazing group of people who made our nation stronger! If you still have these folks in your life, hold them dearly in your heart & prayers each day.
What will history reveal about life in 2020 Pandemic Life??? Will it be a “Greatest Generation Scenario” where folks did everything they could??? Or will it be a more muddled view???
My mind goes back to the old Thomas Paine passage from the American Crisis, “ These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer solider and sunshine patriot will in times of crisis shrink, from the service of their country…”
2020 has brought trying times. No need to elaborate. People are struggling everywhere, sickness, quarantine, economic struggles, business closings… the list is long.
Thomas Paine wrote these words during the American Revolution. By the way, the word revolution, it is a synonym for change…. we talked a lot about this in history. It doesn’t have to be a “change” in governmental structure. Case in point, The Industrial Revolution- so much change occurred in our world during this time.
Think about how our lives have changed in 2020… new ways to teach students, working from home, zoom, curbside business, to go orders only at restaurants, the list is long and still changing daily. Life in 2020 has been revolutionary whether we realize it or not.
I must admit, at times, I wanted to shrink away and just go hide. The difficulties of 2020 have been relentless in my world. I would bet that we all have had those days… but 2020 experiences have made me a stronger person. I’m still here, working through different situations as they arise, one at a time, using friends & family and prayer as my anchors.
The revolutionary quote by Thomas Paine continues, “ but he who stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”. In other words, we need to have strength to continue on.
Stay strong. Be safe. Practice social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands. Follow the science. Do all the right things, like our grandparents did during WWII.
We are now experiencing some of the darkest times of the pandemic, our numbers seem to continue to rise more and more each day. Let’s end 2020 with Hope…. Such a small word, HOPE. The power it holds is mind boggling.
I leave you today with more words from the World War II Era, just like I began this blog post… Winston Churchill’s famous line from WWII, “we shall never surrender”. In the speech he gave, he told the people of his nation, “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields…” in other words, he told them, we are not giving up. We will press on… The “Greatest Generation”.
So I guess that could be a significant lesson for us today in 2020. Not giving up, always seeking answers, finding solutions to difficult problems. “Never surrender”. Go find your hope today.
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