I've had many things happen to me in life so far, many good, many bad, some down-right awful. The worst was losing my father 12 years ago, just shy of his 70th. It was a sudden, wrenching loss, that left me and my family scrambling to pick up the pieces. He was an entrepreneur, and like me, didn't like being told what to do. He also had a hard time letting go of the reins of his company, so taking over after his passing was somewhat stressful, to be polite. Worse was the fact that I'd planned on leaving the industry we both worked in (fashion/textile) as even back then I could see which way the tide was flowing (hint: (far) Eastward). It also wasn't my passion, wine was a budding interest and I was curious about the business opportunities there. In essence, there was no future in our side of the economy, and I wanted out.
Instead, I found myself running a factory that made fabrics with 50+ employees in an industry that depressed me to no end and yet had no exit. I had always wanted to impress him, so I kept the family business going for another grueling and difficult 8 years before giving way to the winds of destiny. There were other issues involved, of course, but I wanted to prove to him (and myself) that I could succeed and provide as good a life as he had. But it would be impossible in the textile business.
My father pushed me to be better, to work harder, to keep an open mind, and to not be lazy (well, on that last one, there's still some work to be done). While it's true I hated to work for grades in high school (college was better as I could choose what to study), I got up every Saturday (and some Sunday) mornings at 5am, no matter how hungover, to go work at the factory. He forced me to keep pushing on despite all the obstacles.
Thus, I am trying to follow in his footsteps with Vinotas Selections. Sure, I blather on a lot about the wines I drink, the food I eat, and the places I visit. Sure, life can be (and has been) worse, I am not complaining. But behind all that eating and drinking and travelling, there's a lot of work being done. It's difficult work too, especially as I am not a good salesman, I can only push things that I believe in.
And it certainly hasn't been easy. But everytime I hesitate, everytime I think that perhaps something else would be easier, everytime I doubt myself, I see him, his shirt-sleeves rolled up, clambering over a 16-ton lace machine, covered in grease and oil. Just because he was the boss didn't mean he couldn't get his hands dirty. "Come on," he'd say, "get back to work."
So I'd like to take a little pause and say "Thanks, Dad". You taught me to push on despite all the problems, road-blocks, and dark days. You taught me to believe in myself and follow my passion and do what I thought was right. It's been a while since I said thank you and so I thought it should be said out loud, in public, so you and everyone knows how much I appreciated what you did for me. You made me the man I am today. And I hope you're proud of what I've done so far.
I miss you, Dad. OK, back to work.