Friday, December 15, 2006

Starting A Business [CCR]

The spirit of entrepreneurship starts in the mind of a child. So it was with my cousin Tim and me. Our bold undertaking has rarely been disclosed, but it provided a lesson in both profit and risk. The Alabama roadsides were a treasure for young boys to make a little money if they had the time and energy. With the deposit on cola bottles at a nickel the profit potential was fairly decent.

Granddaddy Daily had a real nice wagon he used to haul the wood from the shed to the box beside the front door. Tim and I borrowed it one day when Granddaddy was gone and Grandmother was busy in the house. Our adventure took us along the road now known as Daily Loop to the Mt. Mills Road. We followed the Mt. Mills Road to the Davis’s store. That little store had just about anything you needed in the tradition of a rural country store. By the time we reached the store Tim and I had quite a number of bottles to exchange for nickels. In fact we bought a snack and a drink for each of us with money left for our investment. So we looked around and found our inspiration. Gulfwax paraffin would make wonderful candles. All we had to do was find a wick and melt the paraffin. So we bought a block.

We ventured back to Granddaddy’s house construing our plans for the candles while we consumed our snacks. It was a beautiful clear day for walking and planning.

Back at the house we gathered sticks and it wasn’t long before we had a small fire blazing beneath the giant trees in front of Granddaddy’s shed. We found an old cooking pot in the wash shed and brought it around to the fire. Surely we could melt the paraffin first before worrying about finding the wick. It was simple as melting butter. We propped the pot on some rocks near the fire and plopped in the paraffin. The wax oozed out into a puddle that allowed the block to glide along the bottom. Everything was proceeding as planned.

In a few minutes we found ourselves with a pot full of liquid candle material ready to go. Just before we went for the wick the surprise happened. Tim and I learned our first chemistry lesson when the paraffin began to blaze. Grandmother had no knowledge of our panic as we ran for the water bucket Granddaddy kept for the dogs. We had to stop this blaze before our adventure was discovered and future plans might be stymied. It was just about the time the water left the bucket that we actually realized our next chemistry lesson.

Alas it was too late as we both ran. Out of the pan came flaming paraffin shooting up into the trees. I remember looking up and seeing the fiery splash singe the leaves into glowing red embers. It was by pure luck that neither of us got burned. And we didn’t even burn down the shed. The flash fire was over and what was left behind was easy to quell with exception to the racing heartbeats. We quickly cleaned up the area to the point one could only know we had built a small fire. Grandmother never stopped her work in the kitchen. Granddaddy came home from his trip. I don’t think they looked up in the trees by the shed. To our knowledge they never knew of our escapade and we continued to our next adventure which will be a subject for another day.