I was a sales representative for several companies involved in man’s wear for over fifty years. The last 25 years, I had an agency that enabled me to select and represent companies, calling on independent men’s wear retailers in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.
During my fifty years I have encountered many tragic situations related to alcohol. Sales reps who became alcoholics, lost their employment and, in some cases, their families. Unfortunately, I can recall two alcoholics in my family and two in my wife’s family.
My wife and I decided thirty years ago to give up drinking any form of alcohol. When I would attend weddings, parties and company sales meetings, I would always have a soft drink in my hand. This habit deterred anyone from coaxing me to have a drink.
One situation that ‘made my day’, as the saying goes, was at one of the company’s sales meeting that I attended many years ago. During the ‘Happy Hour’ each day I would pour myself a ginger ale drink. One particular sales rep, Bert, approached me and said, “I notice that you are only drinking soft drinks”. I replied in the affirmative that I did not drink alcohol. His next statement has been with me all these years.
“Good. I am an alcoholic, Ernie, and I have been dry for two years and I will spend my time at these ‘Happy Hours’ with you. I was so pleased to know that I was able to encourage Bert. We always spent time together during the sales meetings over the years.
One year he told me that he, his wife and children had reunited.