June 16, 2010

2003 Essay on D&E and the Prince Lawn Business

I found this file dated December 1, 2003 and thought it was pretty fun. I'm surprised how good my writing was--I think I've only digressed from this time, my senior year of high school:

Today
 Brought To You By Yesterday

            As I look back on life, it is full of people and places, happy times and difficult times, and probably a lot of things I just can’t remember.  Even still, I do remember the success of my first major business venture.  It all started a very long time ago, and I might not remember many of the details perfectly, but on the whole, I suppose the story remains at least mostly accurate.
            Before I begin, it would probably be helpful if I introduced the main characters.  Of course, there is me.  I was about nine years old when the story kicks off and was very ambitious.  My brother Eldon was equally ambitious and about twelve years old.  Joe was three years older than Eldon and won’t be mentioned until late in the story.  My little sister was about six years old and ambitious but not old enough to get much done.  My friend Daniel Walker lived about a thirty second run away in a red house and was pretty much willing to go along with anything.  Also, the story is blurred in my mind over several summers which are merged together in one long strand.
            D&E Lawn and Garden Service began as a very small private business.  It consisted of Eldon and me.  It was summer time and we were obviously hungry for something to do.  It also seems we were a little bit money hungry.  So, we thought of the perfect solution: D&E Lawn and Garden Service.  We first found employment in our own backyard.  Our mom had a small garden and we marketed our gardening services (apparently quite effectively) and our bid got the job.  We watered and possibly picked a few tomatoes or something for her and made a few cents.  This was nice, but judging from the fogginess of the details, it wasn’t all that exciting.
            In time, things evolved and we became D&E Lawn Care (notice the word Garden was removed).  We no longer took joy from the commerce of our own backyard.  We then went public and got the watering job of the model home a few houses down the street.  With our first big payment we bought a hose and a sprinkler.  This coupled with my mom’s watering supplies made things move much faster.  We equipped our bikes with a pull-along cart that we loaded with the hoses and sprinklers.  Then about 5 or 6:00 am we’d load up and race out to work.  We made a company shirt to complete the uniforms we wore on the job.  It was good money, but we continued to expand. 
            We accidentally risked our lives (it’s a good thing it was a safety socket) to get the electrical accommodations we needed for our offices which were located in our bedroom.  Meetings soon settled into a set pattern.  They were first called to order.  Then we’d go over the various business items and discuss our clients and would rate our performance with each client based off of a preset grading rubric.  We each held about four offices ranging from Treasurer to Secretary to Public Relations Specialist to whatever else the company needed.  Talk would also involve how to make more money and most exciting, how to spend company money. 
            As our company didn’t fit into a tax bracket, we proved that less taxes (or even no taxes) promotes business growth and productivity.  Soon we had clients scattered over the whole neighborhood.  We invested in new lawn equipment and even a stereo for the office.  As our business grew, we decided to create more jobs--boost the economy.  We figured that with another employee our profits would go up as we could do more work and be more efficient.  We summoned Daniel Walker to one of our meetings and offered him a position in the company.  He turned out to be a hard worker and things were great.  Soon my little sister, Paula, wanted in.  Sadly, we found her age yet lacking.  We may have paid her to bring us drinks or something of that sort, but as my memory is foggy in the concern, it’s hard to tell.
            Soon D&E outgrew its offices and we decided to upgrade.  So, we moved up to the attic.  We set up a desk and then proceeded to map out virtually every two-by-four and every corner in the whole attic.  There was that small plot of ply-wood where we had situated the desk, but we were looking for something more spacious.  It was adventurous charting the mysterious outer-regions of the enormous and danger-filled attic.  We also considered two ways we could build alternate passageways to our new office, but we actually never did build anything substantial.  We put up a sign and made a rope system so we could shut the pull-down ladder door while still in the attic.  I don’t recall exactly how it happened, but D&E was sort of absorbed into the lawn business that an even older set of brothers had left behind.  Eldon joined up working with Joe and I realized that I really did hate mowing lawns.  I soon found out that my liking of it didn’t really matter much. 
            The Prince Lawn Care business had vision.  They were working to buy a new piano.  I helped them quite a bit that summer.  When I realized what we were working for, I gave all my money back to Joe, and began helping even more.  I wasn’t working for money but for a piano.  I worked that whole summer and they estimated that I had earned about five-hundred dollars though I never saw the money since it was for the piano and I told Joe to just keep it.  Joe was a hard task master.  We’d get up and mow all Saturday long and not stop until it was dark.  We obviously made a lot of money and with our money combined were able to purchase a nice piano that we all have enjoyed.
            Looking back on the lawn saga (and other parts of my life too), I see that some of the happiest and most exciting times are when I have worked harder than I really wanted to.  Even happier and more gratifying than the times that I’ve just worked really hard are the times I’ve worked really hard to build or create something neat--like D&E--or to earn something I really wanted--like the piano.  The fun of it, though, is finding a good cause, big or small, and really engaging in trying to achieve it.

5 comments:

Melissa said...

Ah...it is a shame not everyone has been able to make the hike up the ladder to the attic. I think I might have been one of the last ones :) Still using your listening devices??? :)

DRP said...

I forgot that we hooked up the intercom to monitor what was said in the kitchen. That was fun too, but we never did hear anything very interesting...mostly just Rush Limbaugh on the radio and mom cooking in the kitchen.

Leah Prince said...

For my paid part I remember buying and mixing gallons of gator aid. I was too cheap to buy it bottled except for "special occasions". I mixed red, yellow, green, blue and some lavender stuff too. It was one saga of childhood I was most happy to let end- the lawn business. The other part I had was to somehow know when and how much, or shall I say more and more food to have hot and ready when the boys walked in and wanted to eat. They usually had to be off and gone in minutes so timing was critical. But there were enough laughs to make it worth it. The electric store, the Oriental man's siding, the rattle snake that was brought home, the dead squirrel that hit Eldon or Dan in the head. The sight of Joe headed out on foot to another neighborhood with the weed eater, blower and water all loaded on the lawn mower because the van was burned up and the other car under construction. Then the PRINCE hats that smelled to high heaven and were worn a whole summer or more. The long sleeved uniform shirts with slits down the sleeves to allow ventilation. AND, there were some quarrels too. But we do have a beautiful piano that is loved by all and the boys did graduate from college.

DRP said...

You really were an integral part of the lawn business, especially at the height of it when there were several of us working together. Thanks!

Zogg said...

I didn't know you searched the attic for an office. Maybe you can give my kids some hints on how to make small spaces usable.