Also known as Gar(prounced gare)-Bear
I kind of work with him. He foolishly put a substantial chunk of his life’s earnings on the line by investing in Iron Horse at my suggestion so naturally, he gets a say. I can only imagine two reasons why he would do that and they both boil down to the fact that he is my Father. Even if he thought it was a good idea, he would have only known that because of his 27 years of familiarity with me which informed his understanding that I had the skills and work ethic to make the brewery succeed. The other option is he was blinded by love, since he is my Father. That is the more likely option and yes I am a jerk for exploiting that, but let’s not forget that his investment has appreciated so does that absolve me of my previous naughty opportunism? I guess that’s up to him.
What’s it like? It’s pretty cool. As previously stated, The Bear has a decent sized chunk of cash tied up in what began as more or less my spirit quest. Any rational person would surmise that provides him outsized sway and authority where the brewery is concerned. I concur with that position. Gary probably does too. However, I can’t think of a single time he has ever insisted or demanded that any meaningful business decision was to be determined by him. Usually, he just makes the brewery buy him stuff like a kegerator and defers to my positions on the future of the business. Actually, now that I am finally writing this down and thinking about the real world implications of that stance, I am asking myself, is he crazy? What kind of a person does this?
Advice given, not taken, regretted. Gary is a pretty wise man in many regards and essentially a man-child in others but this is a father’s day blog so we’ll stick to the positive. Having been a business owner/operator for nearly 30 years, my dad has seen most of the pitfalls. What does he do when he sees one at Iron Horse? It usually starts like this. “Greg, I’ve been thinking about the brewery’s XYZ. My guess is in umpteen months XYZ is going to run out/be inadequate/will need expansion/financing will be required/employee should be promoted and trained etc. What do you think?” What I think is ‘for god’s sake Dad, you’ve been giving me bullshit advice for 30+/- years now and I’m tired of hearing it’ I will pause now for you to stop and consider what kind of a childish spoiled brat would even mentally treat the guy who funded his vision quest that way then I will gently remind you it’s more of a reaction than an intellectual thought because of the fact that, just like the rest of you, I am a child when in the presence of a parent or sibling. What I usually say and do is something to placate him. Then umpteen-minus-3 months I want to stab myself in the face for not taking his advice when he gave it to me because as per usual he ended up being right and now I am behind the eight ball. Sorry Dad. I’m trying to overcome my childish impulses and admitting I have a problem should be part of it. Also, thanks for the good advice.
Overshadowed by his great hair is his personality. If you’ve met Gary, I need not explain this. His hair is like a menage a trois between a cloud, a wave and kitten fur. Even from a very young age, I recognized his follicular greatness. (I have no idea if follicular is a word or if it’s appropriate but I’m leaving it in because I just now created my own favorite phrase). In fact, I do believe I coined his coif a ‘hair helmet’ before passing out of grade school. It’s that good. To this day. Underneath the dome that could possibly be the secret to world peace is a man who knows all the good jokes, tells them with a magical glimmer in his eye, thinks the best of literally everyone until given a reason not to and has loaned, given and worked on behalf of people who he feels could benefit from a leg up. I’m not saying he’s a philanthropist. I’m saying if you know Gary and you are a good person he will do just about anything for you. It’s pretty cool, except when those people let him down then it really pisses me off because he was dumb to think they were gonna do shit because people can’t change. See, that’s me vs. him. No wonder people have a hard time believing I’m actually Gary’s son. And how does he maintain such optimism, I thought people were supposed to get grouchy and cynical as they get older?
For all the petty and mostly sarcastic complaints I have about my dad, he has given me more than anyone could reasonably ask for and if he never gave me another penny, bit of advice, time of day, life lesson or any other valuable resource I would still have nothing but gratitude, respect and appreciation for him. Thanks dad. And, can I have some more money, this beer business is really expensive?