Saturday, May 22, 2010

Joe and Me

We were all saddened by the passing of Joe Riggs last week. If my memory serves me correctly, I had just started Junior High School when Joe and his family moved into a house no more than a block away from me. We immediately became friends and about half way through the 7th grade we were almost inseparable. The glue that bonded Joe and me appeared in the form of two beautiful 7th grade girls!

They also lived within a block of each other, but unfortunately, nowhere near Joe and me. So we spent more time “walking” than we did “wooing.”

I never fail to think of those days every time I’m in Charlotte and find myself on Independence Blvd. Joe and I crossed that road just about every day, when it was no more than a cleared path of mud during its early days of construction. I recall hearing my Dad refer to that major highway as “The Country Club Blvd.” (The feeling among many back then was that Charlotte didn’t really need it….it was only built so that the local politicians could get to their country club quicker.)

Another insignificant thing I remember about those times was a “secret” that Joe told me. His dad worked for Coca Cola…..and Joe had heard his dad say something about his company….that HAD to remain a secret. But he was dying to tell me, so until NOW…….I have never uttered a word about what Joe told me.
But I guess it’s OK now to break that promise.

His Dad had told him that “Coca Cola would NOT be able to maintain their long held price of a nickel…. for much longer….and would have to raise the price to….oh…..7 cents or so very soon!”

We both tried out for the football team that summer before the 9th grade. Joe wore a RED shirt every day of the try outs…figuring that would get Coach Edelman’s attention, thereby increasing his chances of making the team. He didn’t make it, but he DID make Edelman’s basketball team….and performed very well.

The “red shirt tactic” convinced me that anyone with that much awareness of detail would be someone who would go far in the business world. So we both decided to start a business together. We weren’t sure what kind of business to start, but we had read somewhere that to be successful, you must LOVE what you’re doing.


Rest in Peace, Joe.     -Ed