Last night I returned a call to Tucker Childers who lives here in Knoxville and with whom I used to work at Behavioral Systems, Inc., back in the 1970’s. Tucker is a former guard on the University of Georgia football team, circa 1960, and an associate of Fran Tarkenton, who was famous for having to scramble to make a living after he got out of college. Tucker and I talked for about 20 minutes about old friends and associates at BSI. Tarkenton and Aubrey Daniels had teamed to form BSI in 1972, and I was the first consultant with that organization. They split up in 1978, and Aubrey formed his own company, Aubrey Daniels and Associates, that has since become Aubrey Daniels International.
The reason that Tucker had called me originally is that he had heard from the folks at Aubrey Daniels International that they had been in conversation with me about an invitation to a retirement celebration for another former fellow-associate, John O’Connell, that is occurring today at noon at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Atlanta. Neither Tucker nor I are going to be able to attend the fete, but it was good to hear from him and catch up on the news about old friends. As Tucker brought me up to date, I learned that one friend, Jesse Watson, had been killed a few years ago in an auto accident and that another who shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons, had done some hard time for income tax evasion. Tucker has always been a good, down-home teller of tales, and our conversation last night proved that he still is.
Up until about 10 or 12 years ago, Tucker and I would occasionally cross paths on flights to or from Knoxville as each of us was traveling to or from consulting assignments, but when I stopped flying around that time, we lost track of each other. I learned in our talk last night that he, too, had stopped flying about a year or two ago when he retired, so even if I were still “on the circuit” we wouldn’t be seeing each other at McGhee-Tyson any more.
That chance to reminisce with Tucker about old times reminds me that when you are a part of a group, you seldom realize and appreciate what an extraordinary collection of talent and skills that work group is until after you have been away from it for a while. I have been privileged to be a part of a number of very unique such groups in my working career, and I enjoy remembering them when such occasions arise.
So to wrap this up, let me say publicly here to John O’Connell, who today ends his 26-year association with Aubrey Daniels International, that I hope you have a wonderful celebration with your friends and that your retirement proves to be all you have hoped it will be.