February 12, 2009  
Rolling With Tyndall


I was exhibiting new designs at the Dallas Gift Show, and my friend Tyndall, from Tennessee, was exhibiting in the booth next to me.  At close of day we’d invite other exhibitors to join us for dinner.  

I remember this one so well; there were eight of us, and as we exited the exhibit hall Tyndall shouted, “Ya’ll wait here, while I get my van”.  I knew we’d all have to pile into the body of the van, and sit on the floor. There were no seats.  He used the van for business; taking orders, and delivering his product to customers. 

The Dallas Market Center provided van transportation back, and forth to local hotels. We didn’t use them because we’d go out to eat after doing business each day. Crowds of people lined up in front of the Market Center, and were bustling around us while others looked for the van that would take them to their hotel.  Tyndall arrived at the curb, and as we were about to climb into the van, two people, whom we did not know, pushed ahead of us.  I watched as they crawled towards the back of Tyndall’s seatless van.  When the last one was in, Tyndall ran around, and closed the door.  “Where to tonight?” he asked.  A voice from the rear of the van yelled “The Anatole hotel”.  There was dead silence.  Tyndall turned around and, then started driving, realizing that those two people had been waiting for the Market Center van. He stopped at the Anatole, and as they exited the van he said to them “Compliments of the Dallas Market Center.”  Once the door was closed we all started belly laughing.  We’d continue laughing the entire evening as someone would say “Compliments of the Dallas Market Center.”  At the end of the evening my whole body tingled from laughing so much.  I shared a room with Tyndall, and remember that saying “Compliments of the Dallas Market Center” would get us laughing every time!

All you can eat

Tyndall knows every AYCE (all you can eat) restaurant from Atlanta to L.A.  So when he suggested an “all you can eat” steak house, we all jumped at the idea. There were lines in front of the restaurant, so when we finally got seated we were very hungry.  We all placed our orders, and as the waitress was serving the first portion Tyndall said “Ma’m, can you bring another order of that steak, please”.  She looked at him, and replied, “When you’re finished with the first order I’ll bring you a second one, and not until then”.  Well, I knew what I was going to be listening to for the next three weeks- Tyndall talking about how ignorant, and rude the waitress had been.  So between that, and the “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, we don’t know them” joke, I knew I’d be in for a long haul. 

Years later we were eating breakfast at a Howard Johnson’s, and the same gal from the steak house was our waitress.  I told Tyndall to order only one item at a time, and laughed.  It seems that the steak house went out of business.  “Well, with her as their waitress I can believe it,” Tyndall replied.

One time in Atlanta, Tyndall rounded up about 10 people to eat at an AYCE restaurant.  For 45 minutes he boasted that this was the best “all you can eat” restaurant in all of Atlanta.  When we arrived at the restaurant it was closed  Hmmm, I guess he was not the only one who ate them out of business.


Tyndall, and I were working a winter show in Gatlinburg.  Earlier that week he drove up from Tennessee to pick up the inventory from a German importing company, which I had purchased. He had rented a large U Haul trailer, and attached it to his Maxi Van.  We decided we’d split the sales proceeds 50/50.  He drove to Gatlinburg, and I flew into Knoxville, and as I got off the aircraft I saw Tyndall standing, and waving to me.  That’s the kind of guy he is; he always goes the extra mile.  Tyndall’s a Christian, and lives his life, as best he can, by the teachings in the Bible. He doesn’t try to sell you on it; he does good things, and prays for many people. I always admired his strong ethics. He sets a good example.  We unloaded the van, and unpacked the imported line in our room.  The next day he’d bring interested buyers to the room, and allow them to pick out items, and then he’d load up their vehicle after receiving payment.  I worked the booth with my pewter sculpture on display. 

That evening we attended the exhibitor/buyer party.  Tyndall does not drink, so he became the designated driver.  After the party we asked a few exhibitors, and buyers to join us for a lite dinner.  A few of the State Park buyers had joined us, and asked if they could drive.  They had been drinking, and I suggested Tyndall drive; he was the designated driver.   Somehow Tyndall missed the exit, noticed an opening in the pavement, and decided to exit that way.  The van went crashing over the curb onto the road.  With no damage done, he proceeded towards the restaurant.  There was total silence in the van when Pat yelled out “This guy is dangerous sober; put a drunk behind the wheel”…ba da boom. 

The Hotel

We were all registered at the same hotel, so Tyndall insisted that he’d take everyone back in his van. As we entered the lobby, we noticed a huge wood burning fireplace with full flame burning logs.  Standing in front of the fire someone remarked, “We were in such a rush to sign in, and go directly to our rooms that we didn’t take the time to look around, and missed seeing this beautiful fireplace.”  Another person said, “Wow, there’s really nice furniture in the hotel, look at the couches”.  Then Tyndall looked up, and said, “I never noticed the balcony”.  Silence followed, and then an eruption of laughter. One by one each of us started laughing.  There were eight people, in almost perfect unison, laughing at once.  “Alright, alright, so we’re in the wrong hotel” Tyndall said.  “Next time we'll let the drunken guy drive,” and the laughter continued until we got to the van.

At one show Tyndall entered my booth to tell me that an exhibitor’s brother had died, and he was packing up, and leaving that night. “We’ll help him pack up”, he said.  I nodded my head yes, and watched as he went from booth to booth asking exhibitors to stay late to help the guy pack up his exhibit.  That’s Tyndall….always walking the walk of his faith. I’m proud that we’re friends.

It was laughter that sustained us at the Trade Shows.  Some were so bad that we said we’d never return, and of course the same group of exhibitors complained, and returned time, and time again, always complaining how bad business was.  It’s amazing how we all stayed in business with things being so bad.  The reasons for a bad show were-- it snowed, it was too hot, too cold, it rained, it snowed, it was on super bowl Sunday, if it were a week earlier we could have cashed in, and on and on.  Miraculously, at the end of every show, we all would make a profit, and still complain that it could have been more.  I would tell others, when asked how much I sold, “I only did under $100,000.00.”  I never revealed how much under.  Sometimes exhibitors would introduce me to their friends by saying, “This is Mel, the guy I told you about. He did under $100,000.00 at the last show”.  If Tyndall were around he’d say, “He always does under $100,000.00,” and laugh. This past November I received a call from Tyndall that he and Joyce, his wife, were in the neighborhood, and would enjoy stopping by.  “Where are you”, I asked. “Atlanta”, he replied.  “That’s six hours away”, I responded. 

Six hours later they arrived and we spent three enjoyable days together talking about the “good old days,” and catching up on the present.   I’m blessed to have a friend like Tyndall.

Shalom and Eat Kosher,

Mel the Fat Guy

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