Concrete memories: Zeke

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Back when Roberta and I were making enormous, multi-ton sculptures out of concrete and were trying to learn enough about our material to make it do what we wanted, someone referred us to Zeke at Action Concrete in Delaware County.

Zeke gave his wisdom and free samples of concrete additives–

–and plenty to eat. His concrete yard had an enormous kitchen and a table, always filled with freshly prepared food, from ziti to hoagies to roasted peppers, that he served up to the truckers and to anyone who came by, including us. Not to eat would have been an insult.

He was delighted to show off his operation to a pair of women. When we went to the lumber yard or the hardware store or the building supply warehouse, we never knew which treatment we’d get–respect or snarls of contempt. At Action, it was always respect and delight.

What Zeke liked was we gave him an opportunity to share his knowledge and his life’s work. He was an inventor of machinery, even designing beautiful toy concrete trucks with moving parts–replicas of the real things in his cement yard.

An Action Concrete truck passed me by, a couple of days ago. Painted on its side was “Zeke, 1923-2003.” He had died a year ago, January; I didn’t even know.

So this is my personal tribute to Zeke Forlini. Kristin Holmes’ nice obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer is also at the link above, if you scroll down the page a bit, past the death notice.

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