Sharing knowledge, passion this Father’s Day
By LISA KATSMAN
Mercer Island Reporter Columnist
June 13, 2012 · Updated 11:33 AM
Sitting in the Delta Lounge in the Atlanta airport with my mother and father, we were enjoying each other’s company for the last few moments before we departed to different corners of America.
My father, mother and I were deep in conversation over the upcoming presidential election, stock market and world affairs. Of course, the conversation is generally one-way, except for the fact that my father, Marshall, will listen and respect most points of view.
I could tell that Marshall was in deep thought about something when the couple next to us came up to Marshall and stated, “My girlfriend and I are placing a bet.”
Marshall said, “I’m a gambling man; what are we betting?” The man said, we are trying to guess your age. Marshall said, I double your odds. Each laid down a dollar bill. The man guessed 82 years of age. The woman guessed 75 years. Marshall said, “I am 74,” and asked, “What made you wonder how old I am?”
The man said that the look in my father’s eyes is of a man who has a world of knowledge and wisdom from life’s experiences. He continued and asked, apologetically, “What are you in thought about?”
Marshall said, “I am so excited to go to work on Monday; I have so much to do.”
This is amazing. If you can remember my Father’s Day article last year, I spoke fondly of how my father is a self-made man, working 70-hour work weeks since the age of 14 or 15. My brothers each joined him in the work force at the age of 6 or 7, feeding cattle and baling hay. When most men are looking at retirement, Marshall is looking at how he can hire more local employees, educate more of his employees’ children, and his most recent mitzvah is helping one man financially afford to adopt his niece before she is orphaned to the state.
Marshall was deep in thought about how to reformulate the formulas of production in his factory to obtain the highest yield and proﬁt margin. He does this all in his head. Nothing is written down or sent via computer technology. He relies on his right-hand people, my brothers, to get him through the daily tasks of running a business. He lives for the days when he goes out into the field to check on cattle, or to the sale barn to purchase cattle, when he sits in my brother Alex’s chair at a sale barn. People will stop him and say, “Sir, do you know whose chair you are in? You can’t sit there.” All unknowing that Marshall taught Alex everything that he knows about buying cattle.
Marshall will reply, “I know whose seat this is. It belongs to my son, Alex.” At the sales barns across the southeast and Midwest, they talk of Marshall as a legend in the cattle industry, not knowing that he is a real person. Adam, my younger brother, handles the government contracts. While government contracts have passed Marshall by a long time ago, Marshall will rely on Adam’s expertise and knowledge to set any government official correct when they are wrong. Adam is called upon very frequently to rally for the company on numerous occasions.
Father’s Day is about sharing and giving. It is about passing knowledge on to your child without having to use textbooks or computers. It is about showing shear determination to succeed when others were counting on you to fail. It is about never letting go of your passion and dreams, all while being able to put food on the family table.
This month’s recipe is the easiest, greatest flank steak recipe.
Herb Crusted Flank Steak with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh tarragon
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
2 - 1½ pound flank steaks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Place steaks in a large glass baking dish. Brush steaks with olive oil, rub herb mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to 8 hours.
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives or other brined black olives
¼ cup chopped, pitted brine cured green olives
¼ cup chopped, fresh basil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Season tomatoes to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to two hours ahead.) Let stand at room temperature. Prepare barbecue (medium high). Grill steaks until cooked to desired doneness, about four minutes per side for medium. Transfer to cutting board. Cover with foil. Let stand five minutes. Cut steak across the grain into ½-inch thick slices. Arrange steak on platter.
Spoon tomatoes/olives with juices over steaks and serve.
Contact Mercer Island Reporter Columnist Lisa Katsman at email@example.com.