After the IDDBA in June of 1991, I managed to keep my weight off for almost 3 years. During this time, I started to have what most would call the wondering eye. Although I was married to Jane since I was 19 years old, I had never had compliments from the other sex before. I was always a husky kid and a very obese man most of my young adult life. I never received a compliment except to hear words like, ” Patrick, you have pretty eyes or I love the smell of your cologne. This was the first time I actually had ladies compliment me on my clothes or say something nice about how much weight I lost and how good I looked. It put a pep in my step. This didn’t go unnoticed by my wife Jane. She was always a very beautiful young lady whom received compliments all the time. It didn’t bother me one bit. I was proud to have such a lovely lady on my arm. As for me, this was something new and it made me feel really good about myself. Jane started to get somewhat jealous of others paying me compliments. I never thought this would bother her, but it did. We even argued about this more and more. I guess down deep, I really enjoyed the compliments and did some flirting back myself. During our 17 years of marriage, I was always faithful to Jane in the physical sense, but I was becoming a huge flirt. Jane was my first love and we got married at such a young age, I never had the opportunity to really date many other ladies before getting married. This is not an excuse for my flirtatious ways, but it’s the honest truth. As time went on, it became the norm for me. I found myself not only flirting with other women, but I started to have this false pride about who I was in my work life. I always felt I needed to be more than the just Pat Uli, the Director of Bakery Operations. I still had the drive to do more and advance my career. I had developed many friendships in my business. One in particular was a guy by the name of Joe D. He actually took me on my first plant tour of a company know as Maplehurst Bakery. Joe and I became very close over the years. I would even travel to his home in Atlanta, GA and spend long weekends without Jane. After a year or two, Joe left Maplehurst and joined a company known as the Quaker Oats Company. They had just gotten into the Retail In-Store Bakery division and Joe was heading up the South Eastern US, which his territory included New Orleans. Joe had been calling on me at Schwegmann for nearly 6 years now. At Quaker Oats, Joe sold bagels, biscuits, scones, and cornbread. Well needless to say, the next RBA, Retail Baker’s of America Convention, Joe invited me and my boss Roy Lacoste to be his guest of honor in St. Louis. The trip was fully funded by Quaker Oats. Joe had set up a dinner for us and we met the entire Bakery Team at the show. I sat next to Joe’s assistant, Rhett C. We hit if off very well. Rhett had been involved in the Bakery Arena for almost 15 years. She had known Joe and he hired her to be his Field Assistant. Rhett was married and lived in Charlotte, NC with her husband and 2 sons. She was 15 years older than I was, but we had so much in common. Rhett also played Piano. We had a fabulous time at the show and quickly became good friends. Of course if anyone knew me, I never met a stranger. There was something different about Rhett. I knew I was the customer, but she treated me like I was the only customer Quaker Oats had at the time. At first, I thought she was just doing her job being overly nice, but down deep, I think she really liked me for me. This was new feeling for me. I was so used to having to be more than I was. She seemed like one of the first ladies that didn’t say anything about my weight and never judged me for anything but who I was as a person. Yes, I still kept my weight off at the time, but I was always a big guy. I had put on a few pounds, but still managed to remain looking pretty handsome if I had to say so myself. Joe began to bring Rhett on meetings at Schwegmann. We became good friends over the next few years.
Will to Live – Gluttony w/ A Touch more Lust – Part 28