Story Submitted by Julie Ravelo
Glenn was a cute baby. He was a good baby too. When Glenn was a teenager, he loved to play baseball. He was a catcher. That skill followed him all the way to college. He played as a catcher for Spring Hill College during his freshman year. Although he was a good baby, he became a little bit more adventurous as he got older. One day, during practice at Spring Hill, he was carrying on with some of his friends on the field. His coach came up to him and said, in the good ole Southern accent, “Boy, do you know why you’re here?” Glenn’s cocky self said, “Because I’m a good baseball player?” His coach roared a belly laugh and said, “Boy, the only reason you are here is because you are the only minority I could find.” That put Glenn right back in his place, behind the plate.
Glenn and I go back a long way. We met on a blind date when he was a freshman in college and I was a senior in high school. I knew right away what a nice guy he was when he agreed to take my mother with us as a chaperone on all of our dates. He simply said, “She seems nice enough, we’ll just bring her along.” That’s where our journey begins. Several months later, I received a call from my mother. She was working at the airport at the time. She said, “You know that guy that has been taking us out to dinner?” Well, I just saw him walking across the airport, in handcuffs!” It turns out that Glenn and a couple of friends were headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. One of the guys was running late and when he just barely made it to check in, he said, “All we need now is for a bomb to go off.” Well, even pre-911, that is not something you say at an airport. And that, my friends, is how Glenn ended up walking across the airport in handcuffs. Air piracy with attempt to commit murder was the charge. The charges were dropped once the FBI realized that they were just a bunch of kids messing around. We married 2 years later AND the adventure began.
In our 20’s, we thought it might be fun to have our family of 3 kids WHILE we went to college. Picture this, Glenn would go to school in the morning, work his part time job at Gayfer’s Department store selling ladies shoes in the evening and study late into the night. Only to start over the next day. He would ask me to meet him for dinner. So, Nikki and I would stroll around the mall until his break. Then we would eat at the only place we could afford, The Gayfer’s cafeteria……you know, employee discount.
While it might sound monotonous to some, we interjected some craziness here and there. Like that one road trip we took to Miami to visit family. It would be a 10-12 hour drive, but Glenn wanted to make it in 9. He made sure to tell everyone to go to the bathroom because he WAS NOT stopping for pee-breaks! We didn’t get but 1 hour down the road when guess who needed a pee-break? Not me!
We were staying a t Glenn’s parent’s house. The house was located under a landing path at the Miami International Airport. The family would gather in the tiny Florida Room, with tile floors, where the 2 birds lived, and watch the 52 inch TV. This is how it went……Baseball was on the TV, the family was telling stories and laughing, the kids were arguing, and the birds were saying “Nikki, Chris, Ryan”. Then an airplane would fly over the house. The TV volume was increased, the family’s inside voices became their outside voices, and the birds would scream louder to accommodate for the noise level. And so it went, plane after plane after plane. As you can see, family has always been the most important thing for Glenn.
About 5 years ago, Glenn’s mother became very ill. His parents were still living in Miami without any support. Glenn made the decision to move them up to Tampa so that he could care for them properly. Sadly, his mother passed away a few years ago, but Glenn continues to look after his dad. When he is not traveling, Glenn works upstairs in his office into the evening most days. If anyone calls for him or tries to ask him a question, he always says, “Can’t you see I am working?” Unless his 2 year old grandson stands at the foot of the stairs and yells, “ Gramps, come ere”. Then, Glenn becomes a bowl full of mush and he’s downstairs in a split second. He is crazy about that boy and it is clear, that the feeling is mutual. So as our adventure continues, I wish Glenn a very happy father’s day!