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Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Few Weeks Back...

...I attended a funeral with my Father.  It was the funeral of an old friend of my dad and his brother Warren.  In health, Phil had been an energetic man with a keen wit, who could play a guitar like nobody's business. Long ago he married my Dad's first cousin Wanda, a talented singer and musician in her own right, and for many years they performed together as a duo or with a band. The last four months of his life Phil was frail and weak, battling small cell lung cancer with little hope of recovery; the music silent. 

Wanda asked my Dad to give a eulogy and he was very honored to do so.  As a part of the eulogy Dad read a letter that my Uncle Warren had written about Phil.  Warren and Phil had been inseparable friends in the early years of life and part of the letter relayed a story from their childhood which I will attempt to paraphrase:

It seems that Warren and Phil were always getting into some sort of trouble back then and even at the age of 9 or 10 they tried to find ways to make a little extra money.  While some boys that age might consider raking a yard or doing some light manual labor for a couple of dollars, Phil's ideas always seemed more centered around business to business propositions.  The idea of selling something just seemed more appealing and from his perspective there was an endless supply of resources to fulfill the needs of the locals.  For example, his grandfather had a beautiful garden overflowing with beans, cucumbers, tomatoes- perfectly free for the taking...should you not get caught.  And they never did, creating a relatively lucrative business in the neighborhood.  Demand was high- cost of goods low (free)- profits high and all parties happy.  That is, with the exception of Grandpa who scratched his head in dismay at what must have been the worst infestation of rabbits and green bean eating deer he had seen in 50 years.

On one occasion, Phil and Warren were walking along the railroad tracks and from the corner of his eye, Phil spotted an old, discarded commode laying along the wood-line.  Hearing a train approaching in the distance, the boys decided to see what would happen should pieces of the commode be run over by a speeding freight train.  Using large rocks, they began breaking the discarded crapper into hand sized pieces and eagerly piled it on the tracks.  Soon enough the powerful train ran over the pieces of white porcelain creating a puff of dust, crushing them into a fine white powder. 

This, of course, stirred in Phil an idea.  His sister had a couple of lovely powder boxes sitting in the bathroom.  Having "borrowed" the boxes, Phil and Warren filled them with the newly created white dust now piled on the railroad tracks.  And you guessed it, a new door to door sales product was introduced to the unsuspecting public.  Phil and Warren's Toilet Powder was born.

And both boxes sold by mid afternoon.


George said...

Hilarious! and yet, disgusting. But mostly hilarious.

Scrollwork said...

This gives new meaning to the term "upcycling." The pink powder puff picture is perfect. Say that 5x fast.

Came over via Catharsis' Versatile Blogger post. Have enjoyed reading.