The New Normal has created opportunities. Our challenge is having the will, and imagination to rise to them.
We’re hoping Noa Baum will still be performing A Land Twice Promised at Richmond’s First Baptist Church May 2 as a part of our Hearts Afire Storytelling Series.
Click for tickets: https://hearts_afire_2020_noa_baum_a_land_twice_promised.eventbrite.com
You don’t want to miss this show or her workshop on using story to build community.
If however, we’re still quarantined, Storytellers Channel will do its best to figure out a way to bring this wonderful story to you.
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
The Mother of Invention
My dad was a bricklayer. In the early sixties he started his own business, Warren G, Turner Masonry Contractors. He hired his brother, Larry, and his brother-in-law, Dallas, and his nephews and folks he’d grown up with and men he’d met during his apprenticeship and his years as a foreman. Everything went well early on. They built Standard Drug Stores and Golden Skillet Chicken franchises, but the construction industry ebbs and flows. As time went on Daddy discovered he had a knack for solving problems and found himself being consulted by architects. He used to laugh and suggest his card should say, Consulting Bricklayer.
By the late sixties I was working with him regularly and I marveled at his flexibility and ingenuity. As the labor demands of the jobs went up and down, he took pains to find work that would keep his employees working. You never knew when he was going to land a big job and the last thing he needed was to not have enough men to do the work, should he land a contract. Also, weather constantly got in the way. When it was raining or too cold to work outside, he still had to find some way to make money with and for the people he had.
One day we pulled up outside a retail space that had gone out of business. Daddy negotiated a deal where the landlord payed us to clear everything out the building and take it to the dump and then to clean the space to make it ready for a new occupant. Half the stuff in the space wound up in a large garage my dad rented, and he began to hold “garage sales” on the weekends. This was long before 1-800-Got-Junk. For years Daddy would get calls from commercial landlords and we would dive in looking for treasure. Frequently, the folks who dropped by the garage would pay us to deliver the stuff.
One of the most interesting ways Daddy found work was to drop me off at an intersection in the morning and tell me to just start walking. He would come get me at lunch time. My job was to go house by house with a clip board in my hand and look at the house for opportunities to repair. I would check out the chimney to see if there were any loose brick, a disaster waiting to happen. I would check out their roof looking for loose shingles indicating possible water damage. I would check the sidewalks leading up to their front door for loose brick, an accident and potential liability suit in the making. Flaking paint, no storm windows or storm door, broken gutters all spelled opportunity. These jobs were all too small for the big companies but were bread and butter for us.
Around lunch time Daddy would find me, take me to lunch and then drop me in another neighborhood. In those days we used to have a phone book called the Hill Directory. Unlike the regular phone book that was organized alphabetically, it was arranged by street address. In the evening Daddy would look up the address, call the homeowner, tell him what I’d seen and schedule an appointment to talk about repairing the damage. One day’s canvasing would frequently generate a couple of weeks work or more.
I’ve been reminded of this lately as those of us in the gig economy have been sidelined. I’m hearing stories of actors doing shows live for children’s birthday parties. Restaurants moving from take-out and delivery of their food to delivery of anything needed. Industries that have been using distance tools like Zoom and Skype increasing their use and thinking of new ways.
All of this is to say, in these unprecedented times, we are all only limited by our imagination. Necessity is the Mother of Invention. That said, we have an abundance of time on our hands. I encourage you to use it well. Read, research, try out Free Trials of software. Write proposals, create new classes, thumb through your files and see what you’ve done in the past that you may be able to salvage or re-purpose. This enforced downtime could be a blessing in disguise. Necessity, bless her little pea pickin’ heart.
I Want to Hear from You
I’d love to hear your stories.
Particularly, stories of people overcoming the unexpected with ingenuity, imagination, and creativity.
Til next time,