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Fading framework of America

FIRST-PERSON

Posted: October 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.

 

I’ve been a long-time, part-time customer of Newhall Lumber. A redwood deck in my back yard, a fence for my mom, and a cedar arbor for my brother are some recent projects.

I’m no professional, just an avid DIY’er and as such, a few times a year I’d stop by and see Bill, give him my parts list, and schedule a delivery.

I never haggled prices, we’d already done that once a few years ago, and it was then I learned he was a good and honest man whom I enjoyed doing business with. Business, heck...I liked the old guy.

The last trip was about 6 months ago and I brought my 3 year old daughter with me for a small lumber run. I warned him she was our quality inspector and he sure turned on the charm for that little lady.

His business model is a fading framework of what this country was founded on. A handshake, a smile and integrity.

There is a good chance I could have shaved a few bucks off some of the projects buying lumber at a big warehouse, but it’s not just the lumber. It’s the companionship, the community, the conversation you have over a cup of coffee in a dusty old shop.

Based on my praise, my wife had the company she works for start using Newhall lumber for odds and ends jobs needing wood. Unfortunately she doesn’t work for Tutor-Saliba, but they enjoyed Bill’s prompt and honest service just as well.

It saddened me early last week when she sent me a text, “Looks like Bill retired. Newhall Lumber’s number is disconnected.”

I was a little surprised, but was happy at the same time. “I hope he is doing well,” I thought to myself.

My heart absolutely sank today when I came across the ad in The Signal (Oct. 13) paper: “Former Lumber Yard Auction, Owner Deceased.”

I searched the Internet, no articles. I searched The Signal, no obituary that I could find.

So sad, I would have sent flowers, or said a few kind words, or simply wished him Rest In Peace . . . this all assuming that I am correct in my understanding that Bill really was the owner, and it is he that has died and not his brother who drove the delivery truck, or some other private matter never discussed over that cup of coffee in an dusty old shop.

So, I am writing The-Signal today for clarification. See, I never even knew Bill’s last name. If he did indeed pass, I wish him peace. I also will say a prayer for the remaining family or loved ones he left behind.

God Bless him and those like him that are the fading framework of America. He is one of the last of the “greatest generation” who seems to have worked until the day he died.

I’m only 38, yet feel that there are a lot of us that could learn something from people like him.

 

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