Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

October 18, 2012

My Summer Store

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Like most young boys of my generation, there were many chores to do . . . working the garden, feeding the chickens, pigs, and cows.  Now I don’t mean to imply that it was my personal job everyday because I was too young for such morning and evening responsibilities, but when told to do so . . . it was my job!  There were certain routine, daily jobs that were required of course.

I really didn’t mind hard work . . . most of the time.  I especially worked with a good attitude for those jobs that were related to a weekly allowance!  And once I realized there could be profit from work, I decided to be a ‘business’ man!  I would order spot remover and seek to sell it in town.  On Sunday mornings, because the Post Office was closed, I delivered Special Delivery letters.  I also had several ‘customers’ for whom I would clean their fire places or stoves . . . removing the ashes . . . laying a ‘ready-to-light’ fire for the family when they would come home . . . and filling their coal bins.

Summer time came, however, and suddenly my income was effected!  Not to be thwarted . . . I saw new opportunities!  Grass cutting was not a possibility because so few people had grass!  But I used some old cheese crates . . . planted tomato seeds, and then planned to sale the small tomato plants.  In a corner of the garden, I sowed mustard seeds so I could sale some mustard greens.  I was prepared . . . but then I asked myself how could I go door-to-door with my goods?

We lived at the top of the hill.  Most folks had to pass our house to go into the village.  We had a vacant lot next to our house.  Why not open up a summer store?  Let the people come to me!

I cannot recall all the arrangements that were made.  Probably my dad got involved and spoke to certain people.  But soon the Coca-Cola Bottling Company delivered a large Coke stand to that vacant lot.  It had a counter, large sign over it, and underneath a place to keep merchandise and/or a tub with ice to cool drinks.  They provided it free as long as I sold sufficient cokes that would be delivered twice a week.

Well, within a few days I was in business.  You could get a cold coke, or a six-pack of cokes (Cokes were five cents or a quarter for the six-pack) . . . plus now I had the candy man leaving candy for me to sale.  Then the bread man stopped one day and offered to leave bread for me to sale.  And don’t forget I had tomato plants and mustard greens!  Again, I cannot remember the details, but I doubt the products were on consignment . . . I have to believe my folks advanced the money!  I do know business was good — especially for a fourth or fifth grader!  Neighbors and friends were very  kind to shop with me!  I do know it was a profitable business . . . or was it?  Sometimes material profits are not as important as some others things in life.

I do recall vividly that this ‘business enterprise’ interfered with my usual summer activities.  I realized that I was missing some joyful and rewarding times with my friends.  I learned enough that year that when I closed the summer store . . . it closed forever.

Here are some things I learned:

(1)  I had to get up earlier than usual during those summer days.  Responsibility demanded  a discipline each day.  (2)  I could not be in business and play with my friends and just enjoy life.  I had to mind the store!  (3) You can’t eat or drink up the profits.  You recall my liking for Mounds!  Well, they were one of the candies I stocked!  And a Coke was needed each time to ‘wash’ it down!  You just cannot serve yourself!  (4) That store did not have a lock so I had to carry everything out in the mornings and back in the evenings. I was not really equipped for such an enterprise.  (5) You can’t bargain with friends. You have to hold your price.  The price is the price. No compromise.

I don’t know if those lessons have really influenced me . . . but perhaps in some ways I remember the experience well enough to think before I leap into some things!  I need to count the cost.  Is this really that important to me?  Does this need to take precedence over some other things?  But, childhood is for development and learning . . . and so I do cherish the memories and the experience of my summer store.

All of us, regardless of age, have to make a decision of what is really important in our lives.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness . . . .”  (Matthew 6:33)

Lawson

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