Someone You Should Know

Filed in Living by on August 28, 2014 0 Comments

Gar-1I am going to begin an occasional series of posts on people I greatly admire. I hope you find these unique people as interesting and inspiring as I do.

The first subject in this series is my father-in-law, Gar Ward. At first glance, he would seem quite the unlikely match with me. He didn’t go to college, doesn’t exercise (he does golf and bowl), and, of all things, is both a union member and a Democrat. Yikes!

Yet Gar is someone who I really love and genuinely admire. I’ll help you understand why by recounting a couple of stories of my experiences with him.

Gar and I were at Taste of Chicago with our wives several years ago and I was standing in line with him to purchase some food. At the Taste you use tickets to pay for food, and the particular items I was buying required 16 tickets. So I started to count them out one by one: 1, 2, 3, etc. Gar stopped me and said, “You have a book of 20 tickets, so just remove four and give them the rest.” Being an accountant and CPA, I was a bit embarrassed, and said, “Oh, yeah, that’s a great idea.” Gar didn’t go to college, but he’s no dummy.

Our family was celebrating a birthday at a restaurant and I was sitting next to Gar. About halfway through eating my meal I decided to stop and remarked to Gar, “I’m going to save this for tomorrow—it’s going to taste great then!” Gar replied, “Mine tastes great right now.” Gar lives in and fully enjoys the present, and for some reason, I have always struggled with that.

My wife and I like to celebrate holidays, so one mid-December evening we decided to go out to dinner and celebrate the Christmas season early. The next day, in an effort to impress him, I told Gar that Elaine and I had gone to a fancy restaurant and had a “Christmas dinner.” He replied, “What, did you have reindeer steaks?” He didn’t say it in a negative way, but in more of a funny and instructive way. Gar is a humble person, and he realizes that I can occasionally use a dose of humility.

I like those stories about Gar, but this last one really captures what he is all about. One day Gar and I went golfing along with his two sons, John and Curt. Gar and I shared a golf cart, as did his sons. Before going on to play the back nine holes, we pulled up to the snack shop and Gar went in to get something to eat. I wasn’t hungry, so I just stayed in the cart. Now, bear in mind, when I eat, I usually just devour whatever it is as though I’m headed to the electric chair. It’s just how I’ve always eaten. Gar returned with a small package of cheese-filled crackers. I noticed that there were only four crackers in the package. He then asked me, “Would you like a cracker?” I was surprised, because, again, I would have just inhaled all of the crackers right in front of him without a moment’s thought. I said, “No, I’m good, but thanks.” Then what did he do? He stepped out of the cart and walked up to the cart in front of us with John and Curt. I’m thinking, what is he doing? And then I heard him ask them, “Would either of you like a cracker?”

Well, that’s Gar, in a nutshell. He is more thoughtful and kind than I can ever hope to be, and is someone to be admired.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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