Friend


Just got this touching letter from Ruddy Adam.

Regarding Our Friend and Long-Time Accountant, Lou

I just had a long talk with Tee, and I found out for sure that our accountant Lou is not coming back. This is a brutal blow for his family, oodles of people in Carolina and elsewhere, and all of us he has helped, and those of us who have known him since he first started 50-years ago.

I first met Lou when he was coming around to the poker games that were all over our town back in the 1960s. Because I knew a lot of Greeks and he knew I was close to Sam, we hit it off immediately. He was such a tight poker player that it was difficult for him to win, however. I mean, you want to be judicious with the hands you play, just as you do with your investments. But you have to get in the action to do any good. You can’t just sit there. Lou missed that one!

Brains used to say to him after he lost his few bucks, “You have to play a hand before you can win, Lou.” Wise man that he was, Lou soon gave up poker and all forms of gambling. He had his nemesis in that area with brother Terry, who is the exact opposite of Lou. Amazing! I won my first VCRs in 1979 off Terry. Terry played every hand, but he never quit. And is still gambling, that is, giving his money away. Lou suffered through Terry’s many, many shenanigans!

Little did I know what this man would do for me over the next 50-years. As most of you know, my dad had a masters in accounting. I introduced those two in the 1970s, and they were immediate buddies and talked all the time for years. Two peas in a pod I always said. Man, they really liked each other. Dad especially liked Lou because there were so few people he could talk cash and accrual accounting with. Not Me! I would run out of the room. Worthless information! Stupid details!

Pay Lou and go about your business in life, as I would tell everyone. If you have a problem, he’ll be there for you. Don’t worry about it! Make the money! Lou will make sure you don’t get robbed after you make it.

Lou was the epitome of the true egghead. As I learned many years ago, and have tried to mimic this, the smartest people are never order freaks. Neither do they put things in lines. Rather, they use clusters. Well, Lou’s office was the picture of a cluster. Most people didn’t understand it and thought he was a sloppy goofball at first. But they learned that was not true. I told all of you ahead of time that he was a genius at his business. Over the years, all of you have agreed.

I don’t know how many of you called me with a question that I had no idea how to answer. My standard since I started sending Lou business: “Call Lou!” A lot of people persisted: “Call Lou!”

A lot of us (all now gone) used to kid about what a tight investor Lou was, and it was true. When he bit, there was a lot of juicy, red meat there!

But he gave tons to the Greek Church, and he never charged any of us (that I know of) a cent for the amazingly wonderful advice and help he gave us. I can’t begin to tell you how many problems he helped me out of, helped me with, and helped me stay out of, and I don’t know another accountant or friend who would have or could have done that. Lou knew the score, and that’s what he would ask me about people I sent to him. “They know the score, don’t they?”

A reassuring-positive-Lou knew how to placate us all. “Those guys? I’ll handle them; they’re the last of your worries,” he would say. And he did handle them for many of us.

It’s just been four-years ago that I was sitting in his office…

I couldn’t get away from him that day—not that I wasn’t enjoying our talk. It’s just that I always thought he had business he needed to take care of. We talked as we used to over the years about all the cats that we know and had known. He used to make my appointments back in the day and set aside two-hours. That was during tax time, now, let me remind you. But we both knew everybody, Greeks and others, and Lou loved talking about the old world that our town used to be and talking about the characters that made the town what it was. They’re all gone, too!

Never did you catch that man without a smile. Never did you hear a negative from him. Never did he not end every conversation with a positive and one of those great smiles of his. Never was he not concerned with your welfare and well-being! Never did he mention a one of his problems. He had them, though, I assure you of that.

I damned sure didn’t take Lou for granted either. I called him every Christmas and at least once a year just to chat a while and thank him for all he had done for me. He always said, “Come on in the office. We need to talk. I’ve got all the time in the world.”

After we finished talking the other year, he had one of his people (another dear friend) monitor the situation. She called this past summer and happily gave me the news that the mess was over and finished—“shut down and over,” she said. She wouldn’t take any payment. I asked Lou twice, and he was adamant that there was no charge. That’s Lou. I mean, what can you say about someone like that? And he knew this was one of my most serious problems ever!

Early on in my life, I had those type of problems every year. Lou took care of them—no charge!! Either by advice or by action. It didn’t matter; he took care of them. I only had one question that he could not answer over all those years. He said, “I’ll get back to you.” Less than an hour later he called me with the correct answer, which I would have never found out without paying someone a lot of money. He wouldn’t take a cent!!

When I would see him out somewhere over the years (and I did), it was never just, “Hey, how ya doin,” etc. You would have thought I had been away at war or something. El, too, Lou never, ever missed asking about her. He was sincere, too. No business was ever too important for him not to take the time to chat with a friend.

I mean, this was an unusual human being, folks! You just don’t find them like this, and I’ll surely miss the hell-out-of-him. But I’m glad I know exactly where he’s going and that he will be better off when he gets there, in perfect condition all the way `round!

All of you who knew him personally or who are out-of-state and have never done anything but talk to him know exactly what I’m talking about. We will miss this man!!!!!!!

My prayers are that the Lord will give him special treatment when he arrives home, and I know He will. If anybody deserves it, he does!

Alright, Ruddy Adam

Photo by Amanda C on Unsplash

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