Today is National Bosses Day and yours truly, in his “meanderings” through life, has encountered quite a few head honchos. I suppose it all started with dear old dad. He started giving me orders almost from the day I was born. Did I say orders? Now that I think back, it was advice, and pretty good advice.
Talking of dear, thanks to Uncle Sam in late 1967 I found myself at Ft. Lewis, Wash., with ears pinned back listening to Drill Sergeant Deer, and trust me, there was nothing endearing about this guy.
Home by 1971, I was too proud to work for my father-in-law, Ted Sanderson, and landed a job at the winery. In the champagne bottling section Don Pruett was a cool guy as long as you did your work. Later it was Stelio (Stel) Manfredi bouncing around the bottling department making sure I too was on my toes. He knew my father, a frequent patron of Stel’s restaurant the Towne House. For many years afterward I would run into Stel. He was a faithful reader and always had a kind word for this “kid.” He even served me a few beers as a bartender at Lucca’s restaurant until 1994.
After two years I had seen enough of T.J. Swan wine and Cold Duck champagne. One morning in 1973, after a disagreement with the personnel department, I swallowed my pride and called my father-in-law to ask for a job. We met and he took me under his wing (sometimes almost in a headlock), to teach me auto body repair and painting skills. One day he suddenly announced he had quit smoking. “Yep, cold turkey,” he said. The next couple weeks I just kept my head down, kept quiet and did what I was told...