Julius Jermanok Enjoyed The Ride

I was out of the office all last week, dealing with the unexpected death of my 83 year-old father. Jules Jermanok was a brilliant man, graduating at the top of his college class at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point), before having an esteemed career at General Electric. He was my most trusted advisor, teaching me life lessons like “Enjoy the Ride.” Like him at one point of his working life, I was jumping from plateau to plateau, never satisfied with my current success. Highly ambitious, I was missing out on life, taking precious friendships and relationships for granted. So he taught me to chill out and enjoy the ride, to live life in the present. 

He was always open to new experiences, new adventures. Last winter, I had to write a story on the Everglades. My brother came down with me and we sea kayaked through mangroves, biked on abandoned dirt roads, and then partook in an unusual experience called a swamp walk. My father insisted on going, so we bought him Tevas and met our guide, thinking that we’d be wading in ankle-deep water. Wrong! We walked into murky water up to our waist trying to stand on the unsteady ground. The guide told us about all the exquisite orchids that bloomed in the swamp in June. Unfortunately, it was December. The only thing I was looking at was the water behind me, making sure there weren’t any alligators or pythons lurking. At one point, my father turns to me and says, “Is this worth it?”
My dad is already sorely missed, leaving a huge void in my life, but I’m thankful to have memories like this one to hold onto.