As the post title suggests this is a toast to my aunt Sue, but I’ve got some other things on my mind as well.
Separating business from pleasure is impossible.
I’d hardly call the death of my aunt Sue pleasure, but bear with me.
Sue’s husband Joe was a successful business man from Indiana, and like my great grandfather Gus, Joe became a Nashville business owner. His company was called Charter. They were predominately an investment company.
Sue and Joseph purchased 78 acres on Old Hickory Lake in the 60′s, and they affectionately called it Lay-O-Land. They owned stock in Pepsico, and Pepsico owns the Lays brand, hence Lay-O-Land. Needless to say we didn’t bring Coca-Cola products for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I was 12 when Joseph passed away, but it was obvious he took good care of our dear Sue.
Sue asked me frequently how business was going, and I could tell she was proud of the hard work I put into Tomlinson House Cleaning because I reminded her of her dad and husband. It made me feel really good when I shared with her details about the business.
My great grandfather Gus, Sue’s dad, owned and operated a grocery store on 8th Avenue South for many years, and they actually delivered goods to customer’s homes around south Nashville. I’ll post some pictures later of the company vehicles that delivered the groceries.
Dad told me about the time his dad, my pa, came home from the war, and with his Army issued duffel bag sat on the front step of the store. Pa was a handful for his parents growing up, and they even had to put him in Battle Ground Academy (BGA) when it was an all boy’s boarding school back in the 1930′s. Gus came from the back of the store from preparing some meat to welcome his son home. It was an odd welcome, but nonetheless, a “welcome home”. Pa was also drinking a Purity Chocolate Milk.
“When you finish with that I need help cutting this meat in here.” Gus commented.
Pa just turns and shakes his head. He spent almost two years in Germany and north Africa. His tommy gun jammed in a German alley, and he had to empty the magazine into thin air because there wasn’t a bloody German in sight to take out. He had his elbow blown off by a Messerschmitt missle as he hid in a fox hole, but his bravery won him a purple heart for saving two soldiers from a burning tank.
I know life happens, and conflict is inevitable, but it would be nice to let bygones be bygones, and may they both rest in peace, but could not my great grandfather have been more loving to his son, the soldier, just home from fighting Adolf Hitler?
Each one of us in our lives make mistakes, and it’s amazing to me that in God’s economy, every time we turn or return to Him, He makes our cup runneth over.
I know we shouldn’t empower another in bad behavior, but we need more mercy and love in the marketplace and in the home because of hurting and broken people.
Spielberg’s Schindler’s List chronicles a scene between Amon Goeth and Oskar Schindler. I don’t know if it actually happened, but the Nazi Captain is about to shoot a Jew in the head at point blank, and he asked Schindler why he shouldn’t do it.
“True power comes from one who knows he has the power to take life but doesn’t” Schindler responds.
That’s my paraphrase, but I think you get the jist of the scene Spielberg aptly directed.
I think that’s the biggest thing that stands out in my mind about my dear aunt Sue. She took business and pleasure, and she applied a love and mercy in both arenas that made everyone feel welcomed. A client of mine who visited Sue at Lakeshore had this to say about my dear aunt.
Such a warm and kind sweet lady. I walked by her room at Lakeshore and saw her sitting on her bedside. I felt moved to just stop and say hello! We talked and she made me feel welcomed. I made sure that I went back on my next trip to Lakeshore – to visit this special lady.
Yes, business and pleasure should be separate, but the hand of love is never removed from any human interaction whether that’s from Wall Street to your street.
Whether it’s business or pleasure try, albeit imperfectly, to extend the hand of grace even when others extend their worse. We live in hard times, but like my aunt Sue, let’s extend the hand of grace to others as well.
The marketplace and your place will become places we want to be if we do. Thank you for paving the way Sue.
We miss you.