The Legacies of a Key Life Lesson
Authored by David Militello
As another August “ground hog day” begins, the hustle of the phone attempts to throw the proverbial bag of flaming dung…The phone announces, “Dave, there’s no manager here yet… what should I do?” As the second phone line continues to ring in the background, and people seem to assault me in my office as if to flank me front and rear to avoid my escape, I hear in the background the inconspicuous yet persistent sound of my desktop email alert, followed by my obedient blackberry reminding me of the same new message…Although I don’t quite say it, I’m warming up to the idea that this may be a less than “typical” ground hog day.
I call my beautiful “bride to be” in hopes that she will help me locate my missing manager. She makes it happen almost immediately. As we are conversing about the events of the morning and the top priorities of the day I get the 3rd wave of soliciting soldiers flanking my office, the phone begins its squawking and email is accumulating, Natalie quickly runs out of the office to avoid the chaos and begin her day as the GM of Tello’s. She grabs the phone on the way out of the office only to transfer the call back to me with an almost antagonistic grin.
Today, I learned that two of my great friends and mentors had unexpectedly passed away over the weekend. As I pondered the day I started to notice similarities between them that I had never noticed before. Hell, they never even knew each other.
My flight instructor and 1st employer, John, was a true cowboy and his horse was an airplane A Piper Pawnee to be exact (crop-duster). And my dear brother Nathan, a missionary and visionary, grew up under apartheid rule during Namibia’s occupation by South Africa. Together, we started a World beat band playing a variety of Reggae, Soukous and Afro Cuban music.
This is not to write about their legacy or even to remind us of death. But to offer the lesson that they both offered me in my occasional waffling state. You see, both of these men taught me this thing… it lies somewhere in between forcefulness and indolence. That place that sits in between dancing and flying… dreamlike if you find it, but so grounded it could kill you.
John used to say things like “boy, you have to fly that airplane if you want to get anywhere” “If you want a ride in an airplane, jump in and hit the throttle, it will take you for a ride.”
Nathan, a little more subtle with his words would get that transcendental look in his eye when I would push the band to the edge of the music and keep them there until the whole room would come together.
Nathan and John were both decisive visionary people with the end in mind; they both added an optimistic almost impulsive attitude to their individual path. This place between magic and reality is where I live. It keeps me inspired, confident and passionate.
My point here is not to get philosophical or offer a right or wrong way, but an idea about how these men and I live(d) our lives.
David Militello is a multi-unit, multi-concept restaurant owner based in Southaven, Mich., www.lakeshoredining.com. Dave is a man of opportunity and music. If he wasn’t a restaurant owner, he’d probably be playing drums in a band touring the world. Dave is a part of the restaurant expert David Scott Peters’ coaching team. He offers expertise in managing multiple locations, catering, employee development and systems implementation.