After word had gotten around the Boston Office that I was to be sent to Cincinnati, people would smile and look like they felt sorry for me. I, of course, had no idea what it was all about and didn’t really care, because I felt like I could take care of myself. I later found out what it was that amused those people so much. It was Al Kane. Al was one of the most honest, friendly, and likeable characters that a person could ever hope to know. When I say character, I do mean CHARACTER. He was crude and had the manners of a back woods hermit.
I arrived in Cincinnati an a Sunday afternoon, and after I had gotten established in my room at the Metropole Hotel, I thought it proper that I should call Al, at his home to let him know that I had arrived and find out what was expected of me, the next morning. I did that and he told me, in a very loud voice, to sit tight and he would be right down. In due time Al and his wife arrived and I could see, immediately, what all of the snickering and tongue-in-cheek remarks, in the Boston Office, were all about, they knew Al Kane.
I guess that after the contacts that I had made, with the people in the Home Office, I expected to meet a, more or less, dignified appearing Resident Engineer. That, however, was not to be. Al was wearing a sloppy Panama hat and what once had been a white summer suit. I am sure that he had worn that suit, continuously, day and night, since the first of June, and this was the middle of August. His hair looked like it had been combed with a food mixer running at high speed. He would sniff and snort and clear his throat constantly. He was a real mess, but as time went on, I discovered that most of the insureds respected him as an Engineer and got a big kick out of his idiosyncrasies.
I shouldn’t talk about Al, that way. because he was good to me and he has now been deceased for several years. One thing that you can be sure of is that where ever Al is now, he has a Boiler Inspector’s Test Hammer and is hitting everything that he can reach, with it.