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Published:October 20th, 2011 11:25 EST
"gOld" Nuggets:  On Work and Career

"gOld" Nuggets: On Work and Career

By Harry J. Getzov

Ollie Gates (75) - Kansas City, Missouri

I`ve always enjoyed the vacation I`m on.

I love barbecue. And during the time I spent living in Kansas City, I enjoyed some of the best barbecue on the face of this earth. One of that city`s best known barbecue establishments is the world famous Gates Bar-B-Q and I had the pleasure of spending some time with its founder and owner, Mr. Ollie Gates. Ollie shared some thoughts about his relationship with his thriving family business when I visited him at the company`s main headquarters.

 "Major League baseball came to Kansas City in 1954 from Philadelphia," Ollie explained. It was Connie Mack`s team then," he added, smiling. "We`d take the meat up there to the park, the smokestacks would be going, and people would come to town and smell all these wonderful odors coming up. Pretty soon, Merle Harmon and those guys started talking about it on the radio, so it got to be a big deal,"  Ollie said, giving me the lowdown on the genesis of the world-renowned Kansas City barbecue industry. "At one time, before 1946, there were only about seven barbecue joints here. Now? There are more than 107. It`s a pretty fantastic story, when you think about it." 

In terms of his philosophy of work and career Ollie told me that it`s important to fall in love with what you`re doing for a living. "Whatever it is, you gotta love it, because then, you don`t mind doing it. Love what you`re doing, marry it if you can. I mean marry it; make that commitment to it. That`s what I did with my business. And like a good marriage, the more you`re into it and the more you grow with and love it, the tighter the situation becomes with you, so now it`s a part of you "it becomes a way of life." Ollie told me that people kid him about working all the time, about being a workaholic. "I`ve often been asked, `When are you gonna get away?` Get away? I`m trying to get to it. I don`t want to get away from it. I`m enjoying being here. As far as I`m concerned, I`ve always enjoyed the vacation I`m on. I guess I`ve always been retired."

Harry J. Getzov is the founder of Eldercation "an organization committed to changing the way our culture views aging and older people. He is also the author of the newly released best-selling book,  gOld - The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations, Available at