Natural Causes

So the phone rang ten days ago, and the caller had such an amazing tale that it would be hard for most people to believe—but not for those of us in the glass industry. Given that most of you know the caller quite well, you probably won’t have too much trouble believing it either:

Me: Deb Levy, may I help you?

Him: Deb, it’s Lyle, sorry to bother you, but I need to talk to you about the next deadline.

Now, all editors who have worked with writers and bloggers for a long time know that the phrase “I need to talk to you about the next deadline” usually means one of two things. If the call comes way in advance of the next deadline, it probably means that the author wants to discuss some ideas or go over some thoughts. Though this is a pretty rare occurrence, because our columnists and bloggers are extremely self-sufficient, it’s still a conversation I always enjoy. I also enjoy reading and learning from their writings as well. If the call comes close to aforementioned deadline, however, that usually means the writer is going to have trouble meeting it. I don’t enjoy those calls too much.

This call came in right before the deadline. I let out a long, deep sigh to myself. I knew what was coming.

Him: Yeah Deb. I need to talk to you about this week’s blog. I don’t think I will be able to get it done.

Me: Oh, sorry to hear that Lyle.

Lyle rarely, if ever, misses his deadlines. He may get an occasional extension, but he always makes them. Why, even when he was sick a few years ago, he managed to do his blog even while undergoing treatment. It’s one of the many things I have admired about him.

I thought if I distracted him a bit, he might forget why he was calling. I knew he sometimes helped out at his son’s company when they needed an extra hand, or had a particularly large lite to install.

Me: So I heard you were out setting some glass Friday, Lyle. How did that go?

Lyle: Oh great. I enjoyed it and it was fine. Reminded me of the old days–can’t wait to do it again … but Deb, like I said, I am going to have to miss my next blog.

Me: Well. Lyle, if you time to set glass, you have time to write your blog, now don’t you? I mean, your readers expect it.

Lyle: Well time is not the issue, but I just don’t think I will be able to do the next one.

I sat back and geared up for the excuse. I knew, at this late hour, it would be a doozy, and it was. Because with that, Lyle explained he had one of those “pesky near fatal things” and that he was having carotid artery surgery the next day and a quadruple bypass the day after that.

Me: Oh my goodness Lyle, of course, don’t worry about it for a minute. Just get well and come on back to us good as new.

Him: Oh I am working on it, Deb. They tell me I will be better than new when I get through this. I can’t wait to get back to setting glass …. Uh, I mean, writing articles.

Postscript: Lyle completed his surgeries last Thursday and came through them very well. He is home recuperating now, and he sounds great. If you want to send him good wishes, he can be reached at lhill@glass.com. I hope he starts writing his articles at least a few weeks before he starts setting glass again.

2 Responses to “Natural Causes”

  1. Dear Ms. Levy.

    Your column about Mr. Hill’s medical condition is distressing; this is perhaps an understatement for the more-seasoned industry vets who follow your teams’ musings. Otherwise known as “old guys”, we tend to be more skeptical and impressed with our fenestration wisdom. But folks like Mr. Hill have earned their wisdom…and, our respect. I, for one, am looking forward to his next column. May his surgery be successful & wit remain sharp!

    • Deb Levy says:

      Hello Mr. Tichenor,

      Thanks for writing. I agree there are a number of people, Lyle among them, who have earned their wisdom and our respect. Lyle actually had his surgeries before I wrote the blog and it was successful. He made his way home last week and is recovering well. If you wish to reach out, his email is lhill@glass.com.

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