Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
In times past, I’ve worked my butt off to keep the EastWing gardens looking good. By the time I finished mowing all that grass, I was too tired to enjoy all the grass. This year not so much so. Every other Sunday Morning, B&C Mowing of North Judson comes out and mows all the EastWing, head to toe so to speak. Now all I have to do is sit and look at the pretty manicured gardens. WOW! Should have done this 20 years ago.
As many of you know, my oldest son, R.J. operates a BBQ business in Demotte IN. He has now opened his second BBQ business in Renesslear IN. Renesslear is the home of Bub’s BBQ2, it’s also the home of St. Joseph College. A couple weeks ago Bub’s BBQ2 was contacted to feed a football team from Kansas coming to Renesslear Indiana to play a football game with the St. Joseph Team in November of this year.
Wow! Is my boy ever excited to be able to find himself in a position to display his BBQ skills to people from Kansas. Kansas City style BBQ is recognized worldwide as one of the standards in the BBQ business. And that’s what RJ does best, Kansas City style BBQ. His approach to feeding that football team from Kansas is “Bring ‘em on, and they’ll go back home still talking about Bubs”. I too am excited for my number one son. It’s killer BBQ presented by BUB’s BBQ2 there in downtown Renesslear IN. Proud Papa talking here.
It’s left only to those who’ve operated a successful small business. It’s only they who can know the pleasure, joy, and the difficulty of doing such. There are no amount of words that can convey the overall experience of the small business owner, the erontropiouner. The person who’s willing to stake their future on their own ability to produce a product or service desirable to the public. Many want to try. Few have the courage to start. For those who have taken that leap of faith and found the magic formula of success, it’s a special kinda joy. A joy reserved only for those who have walked in the shadow of the valley, only for those who have succeeded, It’s sunshine on your pillow. It makes you happy. And it’s really tuff, really tuff.
Even those who’ve tried and did not succeed, they’ve gained a life experience unmatched by most of society. On the business consulting side of RHCO INC. I’ve said many times, to many different clients,” I’d rather see you try and fail than never see you try at all”.
I’m a firm believer that if you have a desire to operate your own business, yet never have enough of the enterprising spirit to start the process, there will be a time in your life, sometime before you die, that you’ll say “Damn, I wish I’d tried”. To me, nothing could be more devastating than reach the end game of life and have a “Damn I wish I’d tried” to deal with. I’d much rather have a “That didn’t work out the way I expected”, than a “Damn, I wish I’d tried”. I’ve had both, and learned from both. I’m glad I tried, both.
In the world of entrepreneurship, there is no such thing as success and failure. There is only success and learning yet another approach to success that does not work. For the true erontropiouner there’s never failure. It’s just the elimination of just another way.
One thing I’ve observed from the consulting work into startup businesses over the years is that people who do have the courage to start such endeavors, tend to be the most conservative in their political point of view. They tend to be very independent thinking people. While those who do not venture into such uncharted waters of life, tend to reflect a much more liberal political point of view. They tend to be people who rely on others to make decisions which affects their lives.
Those willing to take that leap of faith, want nothing from, or expect anything from the government, other than to maintain law and order, and “don’t let people from outside my country come into the United States and kill me”. While most of those in our society unwilling to take the same leap into entrepreneurship, they both want and expect the government to provide, housing, healthcare, education, food, transportation, communication, entertainment, job training, even paid job training, and relaxation. Do these demands from the government comprise “My Fair Share”? Just asking.
Another interesting thought to ponder this warm summer evening is the fact that a school nurse cannot administer a single aspirin to a child without parental consent. Yet an abortionist can perform their unholy works of Satan without any consent from any parent. Does that seem right to you? Now don’t give me that Bull Shit about a woman’s right to choose. We’re talking about a 12 year old child here. Think about that before you answer again. Then if you have the same answer, shame on you, you’re part of the problem.
Come the summer, come the lighting bugs. Gotta love them little fellers, glowing tails looking for girlfriends and all. It was the summer of 1955 when I caught 2500 lighting bugs. Got paid $1.00 per hundred bugs for the effort.
Now for the really good part of this story. I didn’t have to catch most of the lighting bugs. Two years before 1955 I’d learned about sub-contracting work out to other people as a result of me holding the exclusive contract to build the fires in the Tip Top School Corporations two heating systems. Which were pot bellied stoves, one in each of the two room schoolhouse, up there on the hill.
The contract called for two fires lit by 7:30 AM each morning when the weather got cold, Monday thru Friday, during the school year. For this service I would receive 25¢ per week, a whole quarter. At a time in my life where most everybody I knew had no money, and never expected to ever get any money in their whole life, I was flush with cash. A quarter was a real lot of money, back in the day.
At Tip Top, I lived in the presence of lots of cousins. Right next to my house up there, above the store, lived 12 of my cousins. Maggie and Silas Cole had lots of babies, cousins all. When one of my cousins, Pino, real name Pilipino, found out I was getting 25¢ for building the fires at the school, he made the comment, “I’d have done ‘em for 10¢”. When I heard that, I said “Pino would you really build the fires for 10¢?” he said “Sure would everyday.”
I sub-contracted the fire building contract from the Tip Top School Corporation to Pino at 10¢ per week. 15¢ net profit and no work involved. Pino was happy. I was happy. The Tip Top School Building was warm on those cold November Mornings. I learned a lot about business management there at the Tip Top School. In some respects, I may have learned more at the Tip Top School Corporation than later on in life at the Ohio State University.
‘Course ya gotta keep in mind, I did study different lines of education at the two different school systems. It turned out to be Business Administration at the Tip Top Elementary School System and Hospital Administration at the Ohio State University. But basically it was the same approach to the two different fields of study. That being “whatever it takes to get ‘er done”.
And so it was with the business skills learned in the high mountains of eastern Kentucky that I found myself in a position to apply those skills into a completely different business venture. It was catching lighting bug at $1.00 per hundred.
The advertisement was on the back of a comic book. It said send your name and we’ll send you all the information on how to make $1.00. I sent my name, they sent me the stuff. It was a glass tube with a cork, and a box with a postage paid label. Catch 100 lighting bugs, they said. Put ’em in the bottle, they said. Put the bugs in the tube in the box and drop the box in the mail to the Sigma Chemical Corp. in St. Louis MO they said. And they said they’d send me $1.00. And so they did.
The first 100 bugs I caught myself. They sent me the $1.00 dollar bill. It looked brand new, a never been spent before, one dollar bill. I was on my way. I took that brand new $1.00 bill and bought 10 more comic books. Not for the stories, just for the application to get into the lighting bug catching business. Within a few days the 10 kits arrived.
It was not hard to find Toto Kids willing to catch lighting bugs at 10¢ for a penny. Not hard at all. Lighting bugs were many and very few Toto Kids had any pennies. It was a buyer’s market. I exploited that market. For every 100 lighting bugs I shipped to the Sigma Chemical Corporation, it cost me 10¢. I had everybody throw in one extra lighting bug per tube as a good will jester to the company.
It turned out that the Sigma Chemical Corp was doing the basic scientific research on artificial light. I’m sure you’ve seen the things called “glow sticks”. Ya bend ‘em and mix chemicals together inside a plastic tube and they glow in the dark for a long time. The basic science that made the glow sticks possible came from the Sigma Chemical Corp in St. Louis MO.
The 2,500 lighting bugs I sold to the Sigma Chemical Corp in 1955 at $1.00 per hundred contributed to that research that made the glow sticks possible. And for that alone, there’s sunshine on my pillow.
This lighting bug business operated during the time when I was the General of the Army of The Toto Volunteers, so there were no shortages of those willing to make an extra couple pennies whenever the opportunity presented its self. The lighting bug capture business presented such an opportunity to make some money. To make money for all, and so we did. Yes, those were the days.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From the EastWing, Mowing the Grass, R J & BUB’s BBQ, Proud Papa Talking, The Tip Top MBA & The Ohio State University PhD, Lighting Bugs, Toto Volunteers & Glow Sticks.
I wish you well,