A poignant memory of my Dad …
Recently I turned on my TV and up popped the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. I am not a golf enthusiast so that wasn’t what caught my attention. It was the fact that it was being held at “The Greenbrier” and the memory that it evoked.
In the mid 50’s my Dad was working for an Ad agency in Boston. He was the Production Manager and seldom called upon to make presentations or to interact with the public. That was the dubious honor given to the Promotion men of the company. Dad was a quiet man and perfectly happy to stay in the background.
One day, however, his boss informed him that he had booked three presentations to promote his agency and, due to circumstances beyond his control, they all fell on the same weekend. Because of his lack of personnel he advised Dad that he would have to do one of them.
Of course Dad couldn’t say “no” but he was extremely nervous. As it turned out he had good reason to be. Here’s what he told us when he got home …
“I took the train to “The Greenbrier” and was met at the station by a representative of the hotel. After we dropped my bag in the room he gave me a tour and showed me the banquet room where the meeting would be held the next day. I couldn’t believe how ornate it was. There were three huge windows on the back wall and a low platform with the speaker’s dais in front of the middle window.
Needless to say I got very little sleep that night but I managed to make it to the meeting on time and with my presentation memorized. After the introduction I made my way to the platform & before I had a chance to even give my name the audience broke into spasms of laughter. I was devastated and more than a little hurt. What had I done to provoke this?
I almost stormed off the stage in frustration but then I noticed that a lot of the people were pointing to the windows. I looked behind me and watched in fascination as a huge tree seemed to walk it’s way from window to window until it finally disappeared. Since the windows were above ground level all we could see was the “walking tree” and not the gardeners who were transplanting it. I guess it was hilarious seen from the audience’s viewpoint but it nearly killed this poor old production man. Luckily it broke the ice and my presentation went on without a hitch after that.”