Important people in my life—two who helped me transition from a craftsman in industrial plants to a manager of engineering services.

The year was 1988 and I had been working at this company for less than a week when I met him.   I was sitting at my work table, head down, checking an instrument drawing when I noticed him out of the corner of my eye. He entered the area and walked straight into L. D.’s office with an air of authority. Since no one was in there and I was the closest person to him, he turned to me and asked, “Do you know where he is?”

He didn’t fit the mold of managers or other engineers that I had met in my first week with Brown & Root in their Mobile, Alabama engineering office and his clothes didn’t say, “I am somebody important.” In fact, they didn’t say anything at all. His shirt was multicolored similar to those my mother had bought for me each August at the Fair Store in Prichard to wear for the following year, nice but not much different from the other 700 or so boys in my high school..

I responded, “No sir, I don’t but he should be back shortly.”

He said, “When he comes back, would you ask him to come see me?”

His wavy gray hair and his confident tone implied that he was somebody important to this office and to this project in particular.

“Yes sir, who may I say came by?”

The warm smile that broadened his face belied his words, “Tell him the old son-of-a-bitch came by.” He then turned and walked away.

Some may say, “You shouldn’t use that term in your writing,” and I am uncomfortable writing them. I hope that after you read this story, you will understand why it is important to state it the way it was and then please forgive me. Generally, people in professional offices don’t use such vulgar language.

My boss, L. D. Pee, soon returned and I called out to him as he turned to go into his office. “Someone came by to see you,” I said.

L. D. turned to me and asked, “Who was it?”

“He didn’t give me his name. He only said, ‘Tell him the old son-of-a-bitch came by.’”

L. D. smiled kind of chuckled and said, “I know who he is,” and quickly turned and headed in the direction of the SOB.

To be continued. . .

Wayne Brady 2/22/2015

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