From the editor
On a cold Friday night in February of this year, I returned from the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas. It was in the Atlanta airport parking lot that I received the news from my dad over the phone: He had cancer.
On Sept. 6, we lost my dad. The cancer was too aggressive; the chemo did not work. I can’t say it’s totally set in yet, but I do know that life already is very different. We already miss him in so many ways, it is immeasurable. From another perspective, I can consider that Daddy no longer is suffering, and he is in a place that is far and away better than where I am left, here on Earth.
As president of South Georgia Brick Co., my dad was passionate about masonry and all its beauty and strength. Here are few things my dad taught me:
Honesty matters. The truth was all that anyone was going to get from my dad, period. Good or bad, he delivered it straight. In the good, there was rejoicing, and in the bad, there was a lesson.
Integrity matters. My dad was, by all accounts, a fair businessman. He paid his bills, and he expected others to pay theirs. He also helped a lot of people, not only on personal levels, but community wide.
Family matters. My Uncle Jack actually brought my dad on to work at South Georgia Brick in the late-'80s. My uncle later was able to retire and leave the business in my dad’s capable hands. Dad eventually brought my cousin, Donnie, into the fold, and I believe the business will continue to be family operated for years to come. On another note, my dad considered all of his employees to be family.
Conservatism matters. Dad liked to have nice things, but he never went overboard. Even when construction was really booming, and the brick company was doing quite well, he saved first, and then spent conservatively. In our gotta-have-it-now society, I respect that Dad understood and appreciated the value of a dollar.
Masonry matters. I learned at age 17 that a brick costs about $.19. Dad would drive me around and point out bricks on houses, telling me the name of the brick, the manufacturer, and the type and color of mortar. I worked at the brick store when I was 18, keeping the brick inventory books. The books weighed about 10 pounds each, and everything was recorded by hand, added and subtracted with a calculator, and subject to human error.
When I interviewed for and was offered a position as editor of Masonry Magazine, I couldn’t wait to tell my dad. What a fantastic coincidence that I’d work on a magazine representing my dad’s livelihood!
Cancer sucks. I hope that researchers eventually can learn to treat all forms of cancer. Until then, I pray for strength and healing for the families who will lose loved ones to it.
Here’s to you, Daddy, and thanks for all you taught me. I hope I can honor you by applying those lessons every day.
About the Author
Jennifer Morrell was the editor of Masonry magazine. She has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry as a writer and editor, covering such topics as real estate and construction, insurance, health care, relationships and sports. A graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in magazines and is an award-winning newspaper columnist.