I wrote this story 10+ years ago. I read it often. Harold was like a Father.
Flying around the country, I have met people who have never seen a lot of America, and I wouldn’t have either if it were not for my chosen profession. I have friends today; I would have never known if it hadn’t been for a flight from here to there.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I have driven down back roads as the sun sets with the best view of heaven’s doors opening, just like the song, Fly Over States, says.
If you’ve never been through Indiana…….Fly over States reminds me of all those beautiful people I’ve met along the way. I have been up and down my favorite Interstate 65. When I see the Interstate 65 sign in Northern Indiana, I feel like I am being pulled south….I think to myself, why not just go south…..do something unpredictable, like end up in Nashville…done that too.
We are alot more alike than we are different
In my travels, I’ve learned that we are all a lot more alike than we are different. Our core values and our love for family, freedom, and country are quite similar.
There was a man by the name of Harold, how I met him I cannot recall, I am not sure if I found him or he found me. But shed a little tear when I think of him. His sweetness and compassion, I have greatly missed. He was from southern Indiana and had a stronger southern accent than most people in South Alabama.
Harold was my father’s age and had adult children around my age. I had an Internet business selling tankless water heaters, and it was something like 1997. Harold had the rights to sell an electric tankless water heater brand in several states, and Ohio was one of the states. That is how I was fortunate to begin a simple business friendship with a man from Shelbyville, Indiana.
Where has Harold put it, “Out there it is 1997, but here in Shelbyville, it’s 1947”. That said it all.
Early on and on a visit to Ohio, Harold met my husband, Andy. Sometime later, Harold and I were on a trip to Louisville, Kentucky, to work with the Kentucky utility company and an employee of the water heater manufacturer.
At the end of the day, while in the hotel elevator, the employee of the water heater manufacturer thought he would share his hotel room number with me, “just in case I had something I wanted to talk with him about,” and rocking back and forth on his feet…. Harold said in a very high-pitched southern voice, “Ann’s husband is REALLY big” That’s what I loved about Harold; he was real.
Harold said about his 2nd divorce, “She got the car and the house with the swimming pool, and I got the dog and the cat.” It was those little things—his sweet stories of life and business.
In a few short years, Harold died of a heart attack and a massive stroke. My friend was gone. We shared hours of windshield time talking about family and life, and he shared so much about his personal and business life with me. Above all, he loved his children.
It doesn’t matter if you are in Indiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, Wisconsin, or California. When you meet the people who live in small-town America, you begin to realize there is so much more to this beautiful life. Good people are good people no matter where they are.
Recently a new friend told me when he was young; his Grandmother told him that after you pass, you will live on until the last person says your name.
I plan to say Harold’s name for as long as I live.
Harold (1935 – 2001)
What to write about?
- Someone who stayed with you when others would not?
- Someone who shared their life stories with you
- Someone who taught you something
Now, the Back Story
I was being discriminated (and it wouldn’t be the last time) by a couple of key people from a U.S. manufacturing company….. more than anything for being a woman in a male industry.
Harold knew it and shared a few things with me that he probably should not have, from a legal standpoint. I appreciated his honesty.
It wasn’t a surprise to me, but I sold a lot of his tankless water heaters, and he knew it.
We had a lot of windshield time and great conversation.
As I travel, I meet people who have never spent time in “middle America” their perception is quite often incorrect about the great Americans’ who work the soil. These great Americans live happy and simple lives loving their families and enjoying the beautiful sunrise and sunsets. We could all learn a lot from Middle America.
I hesitate to write Harold’s last name, so I will end with Harold was born on October 6, 1935, died on May 5, 2001, at the age of 65.
God, please always bless Harold and his family. He was a good man.