When I was a kid, I wanted to be ... a mechanic or a barge pilot. I've always been a tinkerer (part of the John Awerkamp gene, it's been supposed) and loved to see how things work. Growing up on the river, the life of a barge pilot always held a certain mystique and appeal.
What would you rather be doing right now? Sitting on a boat with my wife.
Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that ... I'm a big softie. and I'm a complete "Modern Family" geek -- simply can't get enough.
Other than your wedding day and/or the birth of your children, what was your proudest moment? Seeing Brenda receive the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award. She is my compass, and continually leads by doing.
It really stinks when ... Can I have two? Cars hanging out in the left lane. And confusing there for they're or their.
What word in the dictionary would your face be next to? Nerd or dork. Take your pick.
I always laugh when ... Yes, and yes, inappropriate laughter has been a problem. I'm seeking help.
Invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? Mom, Dad and Brenda. You can never have too much time with family. It's gone far too soon, and there are so many things left unsaid.
At the end of a really long day at work, I like to ... come home. We are truly blessed, and our home is our sanctuary. No matter how crazy the day, pulling in the driveway helps to put all of it in perspective.
People who knew me in high school thought I was ... see "what word in the dictionary would your face be next to?"
My most unforgettable brush with greatness was ... a funny story. On our trip to Maine this summer, we had a chance encounter with Mike Myers of "Austin Powers" fame. At least my wife had a chance encounter; she spotted the Myers family while complimenting Mr. Myers' wife on how cute their daughter's princess dress was and then noticed who her dad was. I was skeptical to say the least, and it wasn't until after they had finished their meal and left that the wait staff confirmed Brenda's assertion. I'll be living that one down for a while.
I would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to ... usually easier said than done, but the Earth typically moves if it involves Karsyn.
If someone gave me a million dollars, there is STILL no way I would ... eat Chinese. Sorry, Brenda.
America should be more concerned about ... you don't have enough ink for that answer.
I'm OK if there's ever a national shortage of ... I'm fairly certain it's a sickness at this point, but we're pretty well set on boats and computers.
When I'm on the internet, I always go to ... whig.com. Seriously, you had to ask?
What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? There have actually been a couple of vital gems. "Do, don't say." Brenda and her father exemplify this credo. Actions are truly louder than words. And "always leave it better than you found it." This mantra was passed along to me from my dad and mom, and they absolutely lived their lives trying to make the world around them better.
When I'm cruising down the road, I'm likely listening to ... it's funny how the answer to that question has changed over the years. Today it's a fairly safe bet that, depending on the time of day, it's either Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard or Sirius Channel 90. My NASCAR brethren will understand that one.
I always get sentimental when ... those certain songs come on the radio. It's like a time machine with the magical power to take you back to that time in your life when you first heard the song and remember those moments.
The older I get, the more I realize ... time is finite. Life doesn't appear to come with a do-over button, so it's important to make the most of the time, the moments and the opportunities we have. And to tell the ones dear to you that you love them.
If I had one "do-over," I would ... (See answer above.) That's really the million-dollar question, isn't it? Jumping down that rabbit hole is impossible because the events of the past all conspired to create the present. And I wouldn't want to change the present.
My favorite item of clothing is ... the suitably worn-in pair of Levis, absolutely a go-to. The most notable, and I guess given the German lineage, obligatory, would be the various sets of lederhosen that have been foisted upon me over the years. The earliest pair can still be found in certain relatives' Christmas card collections. The most recent and copious version being gifted to me by my Godfather Arfie. Sorry, Uncle Hank; I told you I would get you back. I just didn't say when. Guess what.
If I've learned anything at all ... that I'll be paying for the above answer sooner, more likely, than later.
Max Middendorf, 52, is a vice president and Illinois office manager of MECO Engineering Co. Inc. He is married to Brenda Middendorf; has one stepson, Craig Lacy; daughter-in-law, Rachel; and granddaughter, Karsyn. Middendorf grew up in Quincy, graduated from Quincy High School and received a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla.