Yesterday marked the fifth year Tracie and I have been muddling through without Dad.
Kinda blue day for both of us, and mine was punctuated by a flurry of meetings to try to generate some freelance work. Through the day, I kept hearing the advice Dad used to give when I’d kvetch about my latest workplace aggravations.
“The only boss you want is you,” he’d tell me. “Tell ’em all to shove it and go do your own thing.”
The year he died is the year I ended up taking his advice. It’s been a heck of a ride, and not always easy or fun, but it meant I could spend a lot of time with my sister in the first years after Dad passed. It meant I didn’t have to worry about daily trips across the Howard Frankland bridge that took almost an hour on a good day. And it meant I didn’t have to contend with workplace personality disorders.
So today, while I thank Dad for the advice and mourn the reason I had to take it, I want to share one of the Sal stories with you, the one I “loving dedicated to my father, Richard O. Noakes, for pointing out that the best boss to have … is yourself!”
Here we go (it’s a story-poem; think little kid):
Sal and the Entrepreneurial Spirits
(c) 1995, 1999, and 2013 by Billie S. Noakes. All rights reserved.
My friend Sal could dream all day
Of things she’d like to be:
She’d like to be a super-sleuth
She’d like to go to sea!
She’d like to find the Missing Link
Or dig for ancient lore.
She’d like to glide on icy rinks.
She’d like to … run a store!
But Sal won’t run just any store!
No nuts, or bolts, or string.
No groceries, gas, or candles … NO!
She’d stock important things.
She’d fill her shelves with wishing stones
So dreams could all come true!
She’d have a clutch of dragon’s eggs,
A snipe! (or, maybe, two!)
But since she’s only six years old
She can’t do much at all.
Sal figures till she’s all grown up,
She’ll practice, starting small.
Sal thought she’d try a paper route,
But then decided, “no.”
She thought she’d find it difficult
To ride her bike and throw!
And since she wants to run a store
She ought to work the trade
And build up working capital
By selling … lemonade!
She asked her dad to help her out
In setting up her stand
But first he asked if he could see
Her written Business Plan!
This caused my friend to be confused:
“It’s only lemonade!
“It doesn’t need an essay, DAD!”
But he would not be swayed.
So Sal went off to write her plan
Then sat back with a frown.
She realized one fatal flaw
Could bring her business down!
Some kids already had a stand!
Before hers! (What a nerve!)
So there’d be competition for
The customers she’d serve.
She thought she’d learn from their mistakes
In learning how to sell
But first, she’d need a business spy
In case they wouldn’t tell.
Sal thought her friend, young J.J. Bond,
(‘though only four years old)
Could infiltrate the other stand
And send her notes in code!
But J.J. is no business spy
Sal found to her dismay:
He told the other kids her plan!
And stayed with them to play!
Sal thought some bad publicity
Could maybe save the day:
Some lemon mud to sling around
So folks would stay away.
So Sal began a smear campaign
She said their lemon drink
Was overpriced, and watered down
And much too weak to drink.
This made the other kids decide
To mark their prices down
And give away the first cup FREE
To everyone in town!
And people liked their lemon drink,
And since the price was low,
Why, people drank up of more of it!
And stayed, and wouldn’t go.
My friend grew cranky while she watched.
Her head hurt from the sun.
She left her post and went inside.
This business wasn’t fun!
Sal thought if she could just lie down
And close her eyes and think
She’d come up with the perfect plan
For marketing her drink!
But just as Sal was dozing off,
She saw a hazy shape!
It held a glass of lemonade!
It wore … her mother’s drapes!
It said, “I am the Spirit, Sal,
“Of Competition, and
“I’ve come to show you how you’ve erred.
“Come with me, little friend.”
The Spirit took her down the street
Where J.J. was at play
Where lemonade was selling fast
To cool the long, hot day.
“Just look, Sal,” said the Spirit,
“They’re selling every cup
“For just two bits! One quarter!
“Just look! They’re cleaning up!
“And you, Sal,” said the Spirit,
“Weren’t trying to compete.
“You tried to lie about the stand
“That opened up the street!”
And then the Spirit said, “My friend,
“The Spirit of Fair Play,
“Is not impressed with you at all!
“You need to change your ways!”
Well, Sal got so embarrassed
And so ashamed and sad,
She asked the Spirit what to do
To balance being bad.
“I’m sure you’ll think of something, Sal,
“If only you will try,
“Cuz lemons make a lot of things …
“So find one, Sal! Good-bye!”
The Spirit vanished. Sal just blinked
And POOF! was back in bed.
She tried real hard to keep in mind
The things the Spirit said.
She passed the kitchen on her way
To find a better plan.
Her mother held a cookie out
And put it in Sal’s hand.
“Here, Sal,” her mother said to her,
“I made some lemon snaps.
“About twelve dozen, I should think.
“I made them while you napped.”
Sal’s eyes grew wide! She had a plan!
The kids from up the street
Could sell their lemonade while Sal
Sold cookies! What a treat!
“Why, Sal, I think I like that plan,”
Her mother said and then,
She put the whole batch in a box.
Sal took them to the stand.
And Sal, and Paul, and Mary Ann,
And J.J., four years old,
Had fun all Sunday afternon
And all their stock was sold.
And that was how the Spirit of
And introduced herself to Sal
And helped, with lemon “aid”!
And yes! The Sal books are for sale! Visit here to order for an autographed copy and submit your favorite little reader’s name for a customized message:Share on Facebook