My Father Would Approve

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

In July of 1989 I got a phone call from my closest friend at that time, John Hellings.


I would have had to walk to the kitchen of my one-bedroom apartment to answer the call: The Trimline corded phone which hung on my kitchen wall would have been the only phone I owned at the time.


Stretching the cord from the kitchen to the couch, I sat back and listened while John shared his plans for a two-week European vacation he had scheduled to begin the following week.


John actually didn’t have much in the way of plans. He had an airline ticket from New York to Rome on day-one, and a return flight from Geneva, Switzerland to New York 14-days later.


The details in the middle, he would figure out as he went.


But that sounded like a great plan to a 26-year-old who had never been to Europe. Eighteen-months before he was the best man at my wedding, I told John that he was going to have company.



Having just finished my first year behind the counter at Tremont Paint, I was ready for the break! At the time Tremont Paint’s hours were 6:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Saturday.


And the store’s owner (my father!), expected me to work each of those hours. I was ready for a vacation.


A year earlier, before I left my job as a stockbroker to join my family's (at the time) 81-year old paint business, I never thought it necessary to ask my father, “How many weeks of vacation do I get?”


Which I regretted by 6:15 the next morning!


“Lipton’s do not take w