Worst. Christmas. Ever.

I was having a cup of tea with a business associate and they told me this sad tale.

Back in the late 60's, three brothers took out a loan, bought some used equipment, and started a small company in the north metro. They did well, expanded, and upgraded their equipment. Around the turn of the century, the health of one of the brothers began to deteriorate so the other two bought him out. The ailing brother's family could now provide the kind of care he would need more and more of and the business could afford it. He passed away six expensive years later. 
Early in 2014, another of the brothers was diagnosed with the same illness. But the world is a different place now (post 9/11, the Great Recession, etc.) and the buyout offer was not so generous. Really not as generous.


The newly ailing brother wanted to accept the offer so as to not make waves. His family objected and questioned the terms, business valuation ... basically the whole deal.


They wanted to be able to provide the same care at the first brother received without wiping out their family.


But that's not what made for the worst Christmas ever.


There are several second generation players in the business and could soon be seeing the third generation in the business. Well, the son of the last of the three original owners has been peacocking around the front office and manufacturing floor. "The heir apparent" to the last man standing. And he's been making the kind of statements that will make you cringe. 


"Going to be a new sheriff in town." 
"Now we going to see how great this company can be." 
"I've been talking to my dad and we're going to make some big changes."


All while the family of the newly diagnosed brother are coming to terms with the hard road ahead.


Health issues. Money troubles. Either one is bad enough but taken together, they will bring you to your knees.


Christmas tradition is that the families of the three brothers gather over the holidays. In the past, it had been a time for family dispersements, bonuses, gifts, and much merry-making. This year it almost came to blows.