Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My good friend

I'm getting ready to fly up to OR. on Friday. Gare has been on my mind a lot lately. My friend Carin wrote to me when she found out I was going up there and here is out exchange:

Carin: "Who is going with you? Your husband? Susan? He has always had a soft spot for you because you never caved in to his sh@#, but still remained loyal."

My reply: "Me and Susan are going.

I'm not sure it was because I was loyal but because no matter what - we always had respect for each others opinion, no matter how different it was from our own. There is a lotta growth potential for that kind of perspective and he never shut me down because of our differences and vice versa.

I think we taught each other that opinions don't mean a thing, actions do. How you treat the other is the important piece.

Funny how the most intolerant, most conservative man I know gives me the most space and tolerance of anyone I know."

I worked with the man for many years.  He's been a rough and tough kind of guy, everyone who meets him thinks he's so crude (because he is) and rude (because he is) but he has this soft spot for the people he loves.  The people who take the time to get to know him.  He's never held back what he thinks that's for sure.  He's pissed off a lot of people in his day.  

Whenever someone left the organization he'd get a little belligernt with them.  When I left (to do other things) he was pretty kind to me.  He understood and didn't say terrible things to me, he wished me well.  

He has kindness in him, a lot of kindness.  Just sometimes it comes out in a rough way.  Not everyone understood that.  If you looked him in the eye and said, "Knock off the BS" he'd back down and grin at you.  (mostly).  It seemed like the stronger you were to his very strong personality, the more respect he had for you.  I was already a stong personality, dealing with him made me even more assertive.  LOL, sometimes a good thing, sometimes less good.  

Once I had to be in San Diego because my dad was terminally ill and had to visit a doc out there.  I also had to be at work at 6 or so.  I got my parents back home and drove like a bat out of hell to get to work on time.  I'd called earlier letting him know I might be late.  

When I got there, rehearsal was in full swing.  I was maybe 10 mins late.  (he was always on time, and ready to work).  There were probably 50 people on stage in the middle of a scene.  I opened the side door letting daylight into the theater and walked up to his spot (row I, center) where he was watching the rehearsal.  He saw me and yelled to everyone to "STOP".  The entire cast stopped what they were doing...sure he was going to yell at them for someone doing bad blocking or messing up the dance number.

He yelled out: "Listen up!  I have an announcement!"  I stood waiting for him, I was sure I was in trouble.  He said:

"This woman comes into rehearsal late.  10 mins late.  Let me tell you 7 years, 7 YEARS!  this woman has NEVER been late to work.  Ever.  Not once.  Today she is late.  I wanted everyone to know she gets a lot of credit for always being here, always ready to work...except for today.  She was late but she had a good reason and she called me to tell me she was going to be late...and it shows me she's human.  I'm happy she finally came in late, she puts a lot of pressure on me knowing she's never late so I can never be late.  Give her a round of applause for her always being here, always ready to work".

They gave me a round of applause, he turned to me and asked about my dad.  He hugged me.  Then we went to work, rehearsal resumed.

He gave me credit in front of the whole cast.   With Gare, he only gave praise to you if you really deserved it and when you really deserved it, he let everyone know.  

A few months later I was working up in the costume room.  I got a phone call, it was Gare.  He was very worked up.  He told me my mom called and my dad was on the way to the hospital, he was dying.  I'm not even sure how he understood my mom, she had a thick accent that almost everyone had trouble understanding but he understood every word and understood the urgency.  He told me to go, get to the hospital right now.

I didn't make it there before he died.  Even tho I raced down the freeway.  

Gare was kind to me, to my mom and gave me whatever time I needed with pay.  I still made it to opening night tho, a day or so after he died (although I didn't make the rest of the run).  He got someone else to fill my duties during the run.

I was appreciative that he was able to understand my mom on that one day and he was so filled with concern.  He broke whatever rules he wanted to break to give all of us space.  That's pretty powerful and shows a sense of loyalty and caring.   It was that sense of caring that helped me stay loyal to my job and my sense of place there.  

So now he is dying.  I only hope he stays alive long enough to know me and Susan were there.  He gave me a lot guidance, a lot of praise, a lot of friendship over the years.  He supported me in ways I didn't get from others.  He was a good friend.  

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