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Old 12-01-2011, 06:21 PM   #61
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The Africans


The drunk was a German Master chef---Sponsored by Berghofs (famous restaurant) and had drunk his way out of Chicagos best restaurants.

We were his last stop before deportation---He would fail to stay sober--we knew that --But what an opportunity to learn some tricks while we had him.

I ditched all duties and attached myself to him---God that man could cook---The half empty restaurant became waiting room only in days----How does that even happen?

I learned a lot in the two weeks that he remained sober----But that was it---the restaurant was to close----

About the last shindig was the rehearsal dinner for Chuck and Donnas wedding.(My older brother)

They had a guitarist for the wedding---nice voice --and she played a set after dinner.

She said," This is a nice place. Why don't you have some music down here?"

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:18 PM   #62
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I patiently explained that there were no customers to entertain and no income to pay a musician--

After a chat I suggested a meal and all you can drink and whatever tips she got was the best I could offer.

She went for it --that only lasted a couple of weekends---Her did bring in her own crowd and a few straggles accidentally wandered in---

Her pay was the problem--the free booze---after carrying her out of the place twice ---driving her home--then carrying her passed out carcass into her place--I was done.

a few months later I heard a familiar line from a fellow helping me paint the building.

"Gee, This is a nice place. Why don't you have some music down here?"
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:51 AM   #63
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That idea went well----I had no idea how the music business worked at that time---

It seem that if you have an 'open stage' night the musicians come on over--play a set and jamb with others--Possibly the most fun night of the week--

We were now open only three nights a week---Thursday for open stage --Friday and Saturday for booked musicians---

I believe it only worked well because we didn't have a plan---I listened to the ideas tossed out by the musicians and customers----tempered those with common sense --and just let things happen.

We had a few rubs with the law---I think the mayor had a personal bug about us--

Fortunately the police force was staffed by some much more reasonable and friendly people---

I finally ended the war with the mayor by inviting the head Sargent down for an evening of entertainment.

He and his wife had a nice evening --and he declined my offer to pick up his tab---

The club and the shop were sold 2 years later----Many people still remember the shop---during those days----

The business was still running 20 years later when my brothers and I decided to sell the building--

Those experiences were better than the college I missed to save the place---



And pot plants sprouted up around the parking lot for many years after we were gone----Mike---
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:00 AM   #64
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Bravo

A very interesting life indeed!
Thanks for sharing
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:05 AM   #65
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Ah, The Africans----

I was bitten by the entrepreneur bug--I opened another business within a year---

I set my woodworking aside and played business man for the next 18 years or so---always dreaming of the Importing --and how much more fun that would be than the work I was doing--

I sold that place to a competitor and made plans to start yet another business--
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:07 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper View Post
Bravo

A very interesting life indeed!
Thanks for sharing
Thanks Creeper--this one was written for you----thanks for pushing me----Mike--
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:15 AM   #67
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Thank-you kindly ......I'm looking forward to the next chapter in the book of Mike
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:26 AM   #68
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All I have are life stories---the best ones are either 'not appropriate for younger audiences'

or rather private---Some day --if I am in the right frame of mind---I'll type in a few more lines.
---Mike----
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:24 AM   #69
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Thanks for sharing with us Mike!

Do you keep in touch with the Africans? Are they still living in the U.S.?
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:48 AM   #70
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I went to work for them for a short time after I sold the business in 1993---

They hired me to get them into a new warehouse and set up a proper computer system---
I was there for about a year--the sales were up to a little over four million a year---when the project was complete I did see them occasionally for the next few years---but not recently--

Last time I drove past the ware house it had a new owner--so I just don't know----

I learned a lot while there---nothing like seeing the inner workings of an operation to get an idea how it works.

They were making it up as they went along--so I felt right at home.---Mike---
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:12 AM   #71
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"... over four million a year". I can't help but wonder how their lives would be different had they not pulled up in front of your shop that night.... if you and your family hadn't helped them get started.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:04 AM   #72
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Man, that was great Mike, can't wait til your next one, we appreciate it. What kind of products did the Africans make?
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:09 PM   #73
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They had items from-
Kenya -Tanzania--Uganda--Ethiopia--Madagascar--South Africa--Mali--Ivory Coast--Senigal--Ghana--Berkina Faso-(Nicest people there)--Benin--Cameroon--(I've got a friend there)--and Nigeria

I can list items but the dinner is ready---

Cameroon is a place with lots of good stuff and the 'Man' there is Ali Nikum--warm and sincere --and he will sneak int Nigeria through the frontier and bring our the most exquisite cast bronze Jaguars and other soon to be lost arts.

I was planning a trip there when life got complicated---and I never made that one happen---Mike---
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:29 PM   #74
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So far, so good!
Could you get on with it!?!

RF

(Don't mean to be a "critic" - sort of a "Ho-hum" ending - we've grown to expect more!!)


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