About fifty years ago, when I was in New York, I shared a client with a couple of entrepreneurs who sold area rugs. They were two ruthless hustlers and would fit the definition of con artists.
We would often find each other attending sales meetings and dinners. After a while, we became friends, and as our businesses grew, we would see ourselves dealing with more mutual clientele. They were like Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. Once I got to know them, I would often meet them for lunch to collaborate on sales campaigns.
They were pretty good guys, and we started to hang out socially. They were both single guys, and Peter was the more colorful of the two. He possessed all the accouterments of a very eligible bachelor. The woman loved him. He was a product of Brooks Brothers, always impeccably dressed and as preppy as could be. He also drove a green Mercedes and owned a cabin cruiser. H came from Brookline, Mass., and was a Dartmouth graduate.
Eddie on the other hand was very conservative and on balance dull. Although he was a decent guy, he wasn’t my cup of tea socially. Pete and I would often go bar hopping together and occasionally play golf. We were birds of a feather.
As often happens careers lead to changes in one’s life. Peter and Eddy relocated and modified their business. They both moved to Jasper, Ga. My guess they were one step ahead of the sheriff. They became yarn processors.
We had little contact with each other for several years, although I would see them at trade shows in Atlanta. Occasionally we’d go for a bite and catch up.
Then it came my time to move south to Dalton. Ga. Simultaneously Pete and Eddy relocated to Atlanta. Their customers centered in the Dalton area, so now and then, Peter would stop by my office, or we played some golf at my club. It was always good to see him, but we didn’t hang as we did in NY.
When I retired, Carole and I moved to Atlanta. One day Pete contacted me and invited me to play some golf at his club in Kennesaw. We started to hang out together. As a matter of fact we’d play three or four times a week except when we were traveling. Eventually, I joined his club.
He became a regular fixture in my home and Carole loved the guy. We considered him as family. Sometimes we would catch him napping on a couch. He felt very comfortable with us.
After golf we would almost always go out for dinner. There were always three or four of us. The fourth being Alex McKenzie an ex Atlanta Falcon full back.
We became so close that Pete would always refer to me as his closest friend. Sometimes he would refer to me as his brother.
Pete had tremendously close ties to Dartmouth. He was very active in Alumni affairs. Everything with him was Dartmouth. Every year he would take his mom to homecoming, and they would march in the homecoming parade. When we played golf he would always wear a Darmouth cap. He even drove a green car.
Pete would call his mother, Tootsie on a daily basis and if we were together when he called I was always invited to chat with her for a few minutes. When she would lay over in Atlanta on her way to Florida we would always greet her at the airport. We even had Tootsie as a house guest in Hilton Head.
When Carole and I decided to move to Hilton Head, Pete went into a spell of depression. He pleaded with us not to go. In one of our discussions Pete created an excuse for us not to relocate. His logic was we couldn’t possibly move to Hilton Head because Hilton Head had no professional athletic teams. That was his last card to play. We all had a big laugh but it was really kind of sad.
After we moved, Pete would visit every month or so and stay for at least five days at a clip. We would play golf every day regardless of the weather.
Through it all, Pete continued to be a lady’s man. He always had a girlfriend or two but usually lived with one. The only time I would see them would be around Christmas when we would visit Pete on our way to see family in Dalton. For some reason, he kept us away from them. They always lived in lovely homes. I thought it strange but what the hell.
Pete never met someone he didn’t now. He was an exceptional conversationalist and people would take to him immediately and he was well known and liked throughout the the floor covering industry. He was very friendly with the most prominent leaders of our industry. He ended up selling them all.
Pete died of cancer twelve years ago. We visited with him a few days before he died. He was embarrassed that he was so ill. He tried to walk and fell out of his bed. Carole and I picked him up from the floor. The strapping, ex-Dartmouth ballplayer had become a bag of bones: broke or hearts.
Peter, my dear friend and brother, we love and miss you.