||I have been requested to write a Foreword for an autobiography by Charles Roland August Johnson AKA Pleto, and my composure and aplomb have been shot to hell. I scarcely know the man! Oh, we have been casual acquaintances for about seventy four years (give or take a few) and I seem to recall that we had, on numerous occasions, been mutually engaged in various nefarious enterprises where Pleto skillfully arranged for me to be President while he humbly accepted the office of Treasurer. This probably explains why he is, today, an extremely wealthy mogul, owner of vast estates, while I eked out a bare existence, delivering papers and shoveling snow for the neighbors and exist on cold oatmeal mush and other tasty viands.
Bitter gall, you say? Perhaps, yet I consider myself privileged to have a remote, but treasured, nodding acquaintance with this man whose very presence lights up a room as he enters with his traditional greeting of "Yikes!" or, even on very special occasions, "Holy Toledo!" Verily, the man has a silver tongue!
All in all, I have found Pleto to be reasonably well balanced, even today where he has become somewhat top-heavy (perhaps, bottom-heavy would be more accurate) except for one mysterious obsession with some obscure date on the calendar May 2nd. Those who know him best believe that this has some pagan significance, closely related to the alignment of various planets by the mighty pillars of Stonehenge. This aberrant behavior is usually exemplified by the subject baying at the moon with wild dis-chords which he rationalizes as "singing" an old tribal chant, "Helän Göre." This continues to defy explanation by modern scientists.
History will, no doubt, ensure that he will take his place among the leading entrepreneurs of this century Marshall Field, Bill Gates, Ronald McDonald, Famous Amos and others. Anyone who can successfully parlay such divergent merchandise as hair nets and barrel pumps certainly deserved to be honored, or at least, recognized.
In the old days, Pleto was a little exuberant. His arrival at any function or gathering was made with all the stealth of a Shriner's Parade...and maturity hasn't dimmed the impact one iota. Yet, we old friends who still clutter up the landscape, often wonder what wonders he could have achieved had he been able to overcome his shyness and reticence.
Yes, I guess I know him a little. I think he's a good kid and he's coming along pretty well under my constant tutelage. Now, if I can only get to teach him how to use silverware at mealtimes, I will consider it worth all the effort I have put into 74 years of coaching. (Give or take a few!)
Albert Leon Canfield, April 1999