October 12, 2022
I recently celebrated my 33rd wedding anniversary and want to share a favorite story of my wonderful wife’s baptism into the trials of the gear business. Our wedding in December of 1982 had record setting warm weather, as in 65 degrees and sunny skies in southeastern Wisconsin. December of 1983, however, had one of the earliest cold snaps on record. We left Twin Lakes at 5 am in -20 degree temperatures and drove straight to Pittsburgh, where it was a balmy -15 degrees, for an anniversary dinner with her family. Notice that I didn’t say “non-stop” as “we” were pregnant and “we” needed to stop at every single rest area along the way. The car stayed running the entire time though lest it not restart because of the cold. I had been asked to check in with a hob supplier in Cleveland on the status of a cutter needed for a rush breakdown job and was pleasantly surprised when told the hob could be picked up on our drive home. It wasn’t much warmer [-5F] when we left Pittsburgh, or when we finally found the supplier’s shop in a not so welcoming part of Cleveland. The potty stop marathon continued across the Interstate to our shop in an even less welcoming part of Chicago. I assured my bride that things were pretty safe at 11 pm in the middle of a record setting cold snap. The hob was ready to make chips when she completed her potty stop and we continued the rest of our long drive thinking we had heroically gotten an important project back on track. Five hours after arriving home I was awakened by the ringing phone. A poorly set limit switch had allowed that precious hob to crash into a shaft shoulder and fragment itself into a bunch of pieces. Needless to say I was unhappy with this news; although I think my language might have been a bit more refined than that of my puking co-pilot. How could they have been so careless with “her hob?” We laugh about it today but it wasn’t funny at the time. Keep this in mind when you experience the occasional disaster. You will be able to laugh about it someday!