An email arrived the other day, it was a forward of a forward. You know the type as soon as you see FW. FW. FW. FW, some tag line everyone passes on to everyone on their contact list, by this time next week, it has circle the globe twice.
This one was different.
I watched my parents and in-laws go through this, with phone calls, not emails. Now, we are getting the notices, that someone we knew, is no longer amongst us. Sort of reminds me of the Army, stand in line look to your left, look to your right, one of you won’t be here tomorrow. This time it was Gus. I have certain images of Gus;
Gus, or Florian Gutzmer, was 82, when he died after this, his most recent heart attack. Gus worked as a school custodian, but we met him at church. He surely knew how to keep the floors waxed and the boilers running!
Gus had his rigid time line for getting to church. His was an important responsibility, focused strictly on time. The early church service was 8 to 8:30………this was the service for those wanting to do their “duty” and get out. Promptly at 8:30, the sanctuary doors opened and the line turned right, toward the donuts and coffee that Gus had ready and waiting on the table. So, in Gus’s time line he had to leave the house by 8:00. He’d sit in the car, and honk the horn, if Evodia wasn’t ready, or at least not in the door way, he would drive off without her….
We owned this American Motors Hornet Sportabout station wagon. (Def: station wagon, prequel to today’s Crossover.) It was a functional car, but problematic, rust, poor winter starting (not good living in Minnesota) and an all around good car that need to find a new home! Gus drove by and saw the for sale sign…he wanted that car!!! Agony!!! I have this rule, NEVER sell anything to a friend. I told him I didn’t want to sell it to him….not to someone I would see regularly. I begged Evodia, to talk him out of it. I told him all that had gone wrong with it, what was wrong with it and what I expected to go wrong it! Dissuaded, he would not be. He bought the car and never said any more about it.
Gus was “tight”. We visited them one evening, and Evodia had to warm something up on their apartment size stove, of which only 2 of the 4 burners worked. He had decided that since 2 burners still worked and there were only two of them at home, the stove was just fine.
One Saturday morning while Gus was cleaning out the garage, I stopped by. Evodia had come out to say Hi and then Gus asked if I wanted this carpet. Carpet? I don’t have any need for a carpet. It seems they had installed a new carpet……..10 years ago, and Gus had kept the old carpet rolled up in the garage for a future use! I didn’t need it or WANT it; sheesh, a 10-year-old rolled up, in the garage, carpet. But, there was Evodia, standing in the background, with pleading eyes….like, please help get something out of the garage. Ok, I took it home, in the back of my truck, with the rain coming down! I pulled into the drive, threw the carpet out of the truck onto the ground by the road. My wife asked what that was, “a present from Gus”, I said After two days rain, a guy stops asking if he can have the carpet…. He must have been related to Gus, they were both tight.
We were in the midst of a church controversy. Well, I guess I had started it, (what’s new) since all the rest of the leaders were too wimpy to get the ball rolling. We were hiring a new pastor, all the leaders thought it a good idea for us to help with some moving money, “in principle”. In principle means “it makes you feel good to say it, but nobody’s going to do it.” So I took up the challenge. Once the news was ou,t the leaders were perturbed that I was looking for money and called us all together for a big, angry, stomping meeting. Here’s what’s interesting, it was decided that the “official” leaders should be responsible for getting the money. So, I was officially excused but, within 30 minutes, half of the leaders were sticking money into my hands saying they would rather I take the money than give it to the church board. Gus, says check the floor of your car. There I found a sack with $150 in rolled up quarters! Gus even drove the pastors U-Haul.
Yep, I remember Gus. Your life if filled with characters, I’m glad I knew this one.