Last May saw the passing of a legend in the produce business. Lester Wishnatzki surely left his mark on Wish Farms. Of course, he is Uncle Lester to me.
My father and uncle ran the Florida division of Wishnatzki & Nathel, after the passing of my grandfather in 1955. Even though they were blood brothers born 1 year apart, they were polar opposites. To my father, things were black & white. With Uncle Lester, they was always grey. My Dad was decisive. Uncle Lester took a more cautious approach.
One of Uncle’s famous qualifiers to any statement of fact was “unless I’m wrong”. It went something like this; it is going to rain tomorrow, unless I’m wrong.
Lester loved to be right and this was his way of covering his bases. Uncle Lester had a reputation for repeating things. If he gave you instructions he always went over them multiple times. One day he was having a mostly one way conversation with my father, Joe. He was telling him something and Joe responded sharply with, “yeah”. A minute later Lester was still repeating the same things when he stopped and asked Joe, “did you hear me?” Joe responded in a raised tone this time, “LESTER, I said YEAH!”. Lester’s comeback was, “I know you did, but it was a ROUGH Yeah”.
On another occasion, my dad was rushing to get through so he could go to a matinee at the races. Lester was talking to him while Joe was trying to calculate out some loads. Joe had his head down working and Lester was talking at him. After a while, Lester said, “Joe, are you listening?’ Joe replies, “Lester, I am busy!” Lester responds in a raised voice, “You aren’t busy. YOU ARE IN A HURRY!”
These conversations were both comical and were so unique to the Lester & Joe relationship. In a crazy way they balanced each other. They prospered together, but separate I believe they would have both struggled.
Wish Farms is headed toward great things. I’m not wrong!
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