Volume 36, Number 8, August 2001

 

ISSUE@HANDissueathand
a message from the publisher


                      Any Dream Will Do



When I wrote about my Dad’s love of hockey two months ago, I had no idea it would generate such a tremendous response. I received more than 100 e-mails and a number of thoughtful letters, including the one from Tom Thomas in this issue. One thing I learned: the glass industry loves hockey. I also learned that Red Wings fans are a particularly vociferous group, and their love of the game almost made me forgive the way they trounced the Washington Caps in the Stanley Cup finals a few years back.

And I was reminded of something I already knew: that Karen Welsh of PPG Industries is a very nice, thoughtful lady who does her employer and her job proud every day. “I just read your article, Deb,” she said in a phone call about three weeks ago. “You know, Bob Hartley and the Stanley Cup are coming to the PPG plant in Hawkesbury next week. How would you like to come up for it and bring your dad?”

Now I have to explain that unless he is watching hockey, my father is a very quiet, reserved guy. When I was 12, he drove himself to the hospital with his hand nearly cut in half because he didn’t want to bother anyone to drive him. (He did ask me to ride with him and told me that if he fainted, I should grab the wheel and aim for a curb.) So when I asked him if he wanted to go, he said simply, “I could do that.”

The weather was perfect July 31 and you could tell that everyone in Hawkesbury was excited that “The Cup” was visiting and being brought to town by a local boy to boot. Coach Bob Hartley of the Denver Avalanche had worked making windshields at PPG for four years before becoming a professional coach. Nearly 1,500 employees, their families and retirees turned out at the plant to meet Bob and “Stanley” (as Hartley called him).

Dad and I attended the press conference and then PPG was kind enough to have arranged for him to meet the coach and have his picture taken with him and The Cup. As we rushed up to meet Hartley, I was trying to think of a quick way to explain why we were being photographed with him. I’ll just say “I wrote this article in USGlass ...” But when we got up there, I couldn’t even form a coherent sentence. All I could muster was a single grunting sound.

But not Dad. He more than rose to the occasion. All of a sudden my quiet father transformed himself into Bob Costas. “Hi, Coach,” said Dad in a smooth-as-silk voice while shaking Hartley’s hand, “Congratulations. Great series, great season. You did some excellent coaching this year.” Hartley smiled and posed for the pictures. 

Then dad got to touch the Stanley Cup and have his photo taken with it, as you can see above. "I can't believe it, I actually got a lump in my throat when I saw it, " he said, in a moment that gave me a lump in mine. 

But through it all, he never forgot his roots. "Make sure you get the side with the Rangers' names," he said when I picked up the camera to get some pictures of The Cup.

In fact, PPG was so kind to Dad that one of the Canadian reporters later asked him if he was the president of the company.

So to paraphrase the Master Card commercials: Dinner for two in Hawkesbury: $40, round trip plane tickets there and back: a ton of frequent flier miles, the memory of seeing your hockey fanatic father with the Stanley Cup: priceless.

Thanks to Karen Welsh, Larry O'Reilly and PPG for a great memory.


USG

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