There’s an often-quoted poem that describes how people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Mike Kelsey, Jr. was an exception to that rule. While it seemed as if he came into the lives of many in yachting for a season, his recent untimely death proves, ironically, that he actually came into our lives for a lifetime.
Many knew Mike first from his days as a broker for the famed American yacht builder Palmer Johnson, a job he started at the ripe age of 19. He took the helm of the shipyard in his early 40s, a job dominated by older, white-haired men. Mike was an anomaly. He was further an anomaly for his modesty, and for much preferring the shop-room floor, walking amid and talking with the welders, woodworkers, pipefitters, and other craftspeople who made the magic happen at Palmer Johnson. You’d be hard pressed to find Mike toasting with clients at a hotel bar late at night or out at a fancy shindig rubbing elbows with movers and shakers. Some people shook their heads over this. How could the head of one of the most prominent shipyards in the country, and in the world, not actively enjoy entertaining customers, or enjoy the social side of yachting, especially considering it’s such a social business?
In the process, they missed the point. Read this excerpt from the above-mentioned poem:
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Due to his short 57 years on this earth, Mike came into lives for a season, bringing joy to the lives of his clients and employees. He personally knew the families of his employees, too, proudly shopping in the same supermarkets as them and running errands in the same town of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. However, he taught them, and the rest of us, lifetime lessons. Lessons on how to treat people from all walks of life, regardless of economic status, with dignity and respect. Our job now is to accept this lesson, and put what we have learned into use in all our other relationships.
Thanks for the lesson, Mike. Godspeed.