"In preparation for landing, please be sure that your trays and seats are in an upright position and your seatbelts fastened."
I never realized how uncomfortable coach seats were, but one has to take what one can get on short notice. The plane's wheels touched the ground. The downshift of the engines thrust me forward in my seat. I looked out over the wings at Miami Airport, drenched in sunshine. My last memories of Miami were of sun, beautiful women, and night clubs. But that was before my father's death. The responsibility of running the business left no time for fun in the sun. It had been thirteen years.
We had controlling interest in the Regency Hotel, an elaborate, five-star hotel located right on Miami Beach. Don Defeo was the general manager and he ran the hotel until after my father's death. One day, Don and Angelo got into an argument over lobby furniture and Angelo demanded that he be terminated. Sol replaced him with Paul Carroll.
The airline attendant announced our arrival and reported the current temperature at eighty degrees. Suitcase in hand, I flung my coat over my shoulder and stepped out into the terminal. People dressed in flowered shirts and shorts embraced arriving friends and relatives. There'd be none of that for me. No beaming faces. No emotional embraces. Nowhere to go and no particular time to be there.
I had to get a place to stay. I should have had Penny make arrangements for me to stay at our condo, but it was too late now. I definitely didn't want to stay at the Regency. I'd feel like a stranger in my own house. It was too soon. I needed more time to get used to the fact that after all the years of owning it and all the memories, it now belonged to someone else.
Sentiment, trust, loyalty traits that had scant place in business. Business was assets and liabilities. Only the bottom line mattered. My father had those qualities though. It had worked for him. But it was a different world out there now. An every-man-for-himself world where the only trust or loyalty you had was to yourself. Christ, you couldn't even trust your own brothers.
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