My Reading - August
- THE JUDGE 1973
My wife joined me to attend the Soap and Detergent Manufacturers
Association (SDMA) meeting in Washington, DC. We met my boss and his
wife, Jim and Marylou Pacheco, at the hotel. It was a high activity
meeting that went from early morning until late at night. Our company
was promoting a newly developed dry chlorine bleach powder that had
many applications in the detergent industry. Jim, as product manager,
supervised a department that served the detergent and swimming pool
industries with dry chlorine products. I was responsible for managing
the chemical's detergent applications.
Dry chlorine powders can be a dangerous product. Powder with high
chlorine content can decompose and release toxic chlorine gas. The
uniqueness of the company's new product, CLEARON , was its stability.
It was exceptionally safe for use in household cleaners such as:
dishwasher detergent, scouring powders, laundry detergents,
sanitizers, etc. Swimming Pool applications of the chemical were the
responsibility of another manager (Bert Talbot); he also reported to
Jim. Swimming pool chemicals were the most difficult to manufacture
and their stability was always a concern.
It had been a long day. Jim and I attended the SDMA workshops during
the morning and afternoon. Our wives joined us in the evening to
entertain customers at a very nice Washington restaurant. Late that
night, we gathered with a group of company employees in the lounge
of our hotel. We sat around a large table and enjoyed a nightcap.
Ours was a jovial gathering with jokes and laughter emanating from
our long banquet style table in the darkened room. I noticed a man
sitting alone at a small table near us. He looked as if he was
bearing the world's burdens. He stared at our group, a mask of gloom
upon his face. I smiled at him and motioned for him to join us.
He pulled up a chair and I engaged him in conversation. He told me
that he had been subpoenaed to Washington, and would be testifying
before congress on the following morning. He said he worked for Suma
Corporation and was Howard Hughes's personal pilot. The Watergate
Committee was investigating the relationship between Suma Corporation
and the Nixon Administration. He offered that if he told the truth at
the hearings he would be crushed by Howard Hughes if he lied, the
Feds would throw him in jail.
I listened intently as he explained his dilemma, wondering whether I
should believe him. Glancing down our long table I could see my boss,
Jim Pacheco. He was sitting under a recessed ceiling floodlight that
cast a glow on his silver white hair. He appeared to be suffering
from indigestion, his hand was tucked inside his suit jacket and a
grimace dominated his face. A devilish scheme came to my mind!
This man had no idea who we were, and I was suspected that he was
putting me on. I asked him to look down the table to where Jim sat. I
told him that he was indeed fortunate to have come upon "Judge
Pacheco". I related that the Judge was renowned within the State of
New Jersey for his scholarly decisions, and that it would be in his
best interest to introduce himself to the Judge and seek his
guidance. The glow from Jim's white hair, coupled with his physical
countenance presented an aura that validated my description of
the "Brilliant Judge".
He thanked me and walked over to Jim. Soon the two were in serious
conversation. They talked for almost 30 minutes. Then the pilot stood
up, came down the table to me, and thanked me profusely for helping
him. As he was leaving, he turned back to me and said: "The Judge is
truly a learned man!"
I went over to Jim and asked him what had occurred. Jim smiled and
said: "I just told him: Speak the truth, and the truth will set you
We then went to our rooms. The second day at the conference was much
like the first day. We got back to the hotel late and prepared for
sessions on the final day of the meeting.
At about 2 AM the phone rang in my hotel room. It was Jim. There had
been a rapid decomposition at the plant; we had to return to our New
York office to handle the disaster. A Chlorine gas cloud had escaped
from the plant and had narrowly missed a residential area. The event
could have been a scene from World War I, as the gas cloud drifted
along the Kanawha River before dissipating near South Charleston in
West Virginia. Mary Lou and Ellen would have to check out of the
hotel and drive home together. We had to leave immediately.
As Jim drove north on the I-95, we listened on his car radio to
determine if the chlorine release had made the national news. There
was a driving rain; it was difficult to see the road. A network
newscast reported that the Watergate Hearings had resumed and a key
witness had been a corporate pilot from the Suma Corporation. He was
singing like a canary on truth serum; he told the committee
everything he knew! The Nixon Administration was in full defense mode.
"Judge" Pacheco looked at me in disbelief as the huge raindrops
thundered down on the car. He stammered: "That guy was for
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8: 32