Volume 37, Issue 7, July 2002

theBUSINESS

The Letter 

        by Lyle R. Hill

ENVELOPE "Hi, Mr. Hill, this is Ellen from USGlass, and how are you today?"

I like Ellen. She's always been very easy to deal with and very, very pleasant.

"Ellen, it's good to hear your voice, and I understand that your last name isn't Giard anymore."

"You're right, Mr. Hill. As of May 4 it's been changed to Chilcoat."

She's so sweet. What a lucky guy this Chilcoat is to have the always-patient, gentle and friendly Ellen as his wife.

"Well congratulations, Ellen, and please, call me Lyle."

"OK … Lyle. But if I could, I need to follow up on something and I'm working with a bit of a deadline."

"Sure, Ellen. Not a problem, and what did you say your husband's first name is?"

"It's John, Mr. Hill … I mean Lyle."

"That's a nice name. John and Ellen Chilcoat. Has a certain ring to it. Did you have good weather for the wedding?"

"Yes. Yes we did."

"Did you have a big crowd, and where was your honeymoon?"

"Actually, Lyle, maybe we could talk about all of that at another time because I really called to follow up on a letter I sent to you. It was from Jordan. Did you get it?" 

Efficient, too … this Ellen Giard … I mean Chilcoat. I think Ellen's official title at USGlass magazine is managing editor. And I know she gets into all kinds of things as one of Deb Levy's trusted troopers so if she sent some kind of a letter to me, I knew it must be very, very important.

"Are we talking about a letter from Michael Jordan?" I asked.

"No, not Michael Jordan. The letter I sent to you was from a gentleman by the name of Maen Zaghloul, and he lives in Jordan. And we really need to discuss and answer it today." 

Naturally, I was now much less enthusiastic when I was told that the letter in question was not from Michael Jordan but from a guy who lives in a town by the name of Jordan. But then I wondered, where was this town anyway? And could the town have been named after Michael? And was it my imagination or did I detect a bit of agitation in Ellen's voice? And if she was in such a big hurry, why was she going on and on about her wedding and the weather and all that stuff? 

"To tell you the truth, Ellen, I have not as yet seen the letter. When did you mail it?"

"Actually, Lyle, I e-mailed it to you two weeks ago. And here's the problem. You know how Deb likes to promptly answer every letter that we receive so we really need to deal with this one right away." 

She was starting to sound a bit pushy to me. I mean after all, some guy named Zaghloul from Jordan … you know, I think there's a Jordan in Upstate Pennsylvania … writes them a letter and now it somehow becomes my responsibility to answer it. 

"Well listen, Ellen, why don't you re-send it and I'll take a look at it? Although I don't really see what it's got to do with me."

"Actually, Lyle, it has a lot to do with you. You see, Mr. Zaghloul thinks you should rename your column and maybe change places with Dez Farnady. Also, he thinks you should be given more specific topics to write about and not be allowed to ramble so much."

Ramble? Me ramble? You know, I think maybe it’s Ohio … yeah, that's it. Jordan is in Ohio … just up the river from Cincinnati. I have never been to Cincinnati. And who does this woman think she's talking to anyway? Accusing me of rambling. I think I liked it better when she called me Mr. Hill.
" Ellen … who's Dez Farnady?"

"Lyle," she gasped, "you must be kidding. Mr. Farnady writes one of our most popular columns. He's a recognized leader in the glass industry. I'm shocked that you don't know Dez Farnady."

Now I got it … Jordan is in the southeastern corner of Michigan. I think I went to school with a guy from there. I wonder if Ellen Giard knows how impatient she can sound … actually kinda pushy. 

"Listen, Ellen, I don't have any idea of who or what you're talking about so why don't you just read this letter to me and let's see if we can figure out what's going on."

"OK, Lyle, but please pay attention because I've got to get this thing answered."

Ya know, now that I think about it a little more, I am convinced that Jordan is in central Indiana. Yep, that's my final answer … central Indiana. But boy is this Giard or Chilcoat or whatever she's calling herself these days starting to bug me or what?

"Yeah, go ahead Ellen. I'm ready."

"Dear USGlass, I really enjoy your magazine and have learned a great deal from it. I particularly enjoy the writing of Dez Farnady ("The Farnady Files") and Bob Lawrence ("Lawrence Logic"). Sometimes I read Lyle Hill ("The Business"), but I think he rambles too much. While you easily have the best writers of any of the trade magazines, I think you should change the names of Farnady and Hill's columns so that they are "The Hill Files" and "The Business" for Farnady. I would also switch around the location of the Hill and Farnady columns and leave Lawrence alone. So, USGlass, what do you think? Sincerely, Maen Zaghloul of Amman, Jordan." 

"That's the letter, Lyle. Would you like to comment?"

"Ellen … who's Bob Lawrence?"

"You've got to be putting me on, Lyle. Bob Lawrence's columns get rave reviews and he is well-known and respected from coast to coast. Some people consider him to be one of the industry's finest representatives."

Did I hear correctly? Did she say Amman-Jordan? Yes, I think she did. And if so, I was right. It is indeed just up route 65 north of Indianapolis. I think Larry Bird once scored 72 points in a high-school basketball game in Amman-Jordan, Indiana. But who are these other people she's talking about? Farnady … Lawrence … where do they come from? And this Chilcoat woman … what planet is she from?

"Well, my dear Ellen, I do not know what to tell you. Why don't you just call Farnady and Lawrence and read the letter to them and see what they think. You hold them in such high esteem and all. Why not ask them what to do with the rambling Hill column?"

"I did call them, Lyle."

"And ………………. ?"

"Neither one of them has ever heard of you, Lyle."

"I see … and this Zaghloul guy … where did you say he was from?"

"Amman, Jordan, Lyle. That's in the Middle East … next to Syria. But you knew that didn't you, Lyle?"

Nasty woman this Ellen Giard … very nasty.

"Of course I knew that, Mrs. Ellen Giard Chilcoat! What did you think I thought … that it was in central Indiana???" 


USG

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