Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, March 12, 2018


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…

Bill Verrette is thoughtful, and he appreciates others who are thoughtful, even abstract, even esoteric. But he really appreciates the concrete. In fact, he has poured most of the concrete in the whole land.

Well, he didn’t pour much of it personally. He has peeps for that. He does not now, though, even oversee the pourers of the concrete. He has other peeps for that.

He still goes into his office each day, in Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, because he has an important job that no one else can really do. His business card notes that he is Champion Concrete’s “Keeper of the Culture.”

In his thinking, both abstract and concrete, Bill knows that every organization, even a business, has a culture. Somebody needs to be a living history for a family, a school, a club, a church… Otherwise, the organization loses its identity, its focus, its reason for being—and that leads quickly to failure.

One of the reasons Bill’s businesses have been so successful is that he has adapted to changing times. Keeping the culture does not mean never changing. It means continuity within change. Change will happen whether we want it or not. But in the midst of that change, we shall not remember who we are without someone to keep the culture, who knows and tells the story.

Old people sometimes struggle with irrelevancy. Who needs us? What are we good for? Well, old people can be keepers of the culture in ways that no one else can. That is a gift that God gives us, and one we can give to our culture.


Of course, I am reminded of the workman who chased a child out of his newly poured concrete and was admonished. “Don’t you like children?” He replied, “I like them fine in the abstract, just not in the concrete.”

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