The Lincoln Highway
National Museum & Archives
102 Old Lincoln Way West
Galion, Ohio 44833

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(419) 462-2214 Fax
(419) 566-0790 Cell

Number 22
A Question Answered...
April 25, 2003

Dear Friends,

The question has been asked,
"...how do you summon the strange clairvoyance? "

Perhaps it can best be answered in a story.

Many years ago while at the Girl Scouts,
there was a terrible Ice Storm.

As I drove into Galion there were trees and limbs
down all over the place.

It looked like a battlezone.

Seeing an opportunity,
I thought now if a guy had a chipper
he could do right well for himself.

I went to the local rental shop and made the plunge.

I called a friend and asked if he would help,
Ok got that, but now all I need a truck.

I called another friend and he said Ok too,
so now were off to the races.

I was counting the cheese as we speak.

The plan was to drive around and do the little jobs,
$10 bucks here, $20 bucks there and maybe an occasional
$50 or $100 job in between.

In other words, volume, volume, volume.

Helping lots of people and keeping it fresh.

At least that was the plan.

But then like George Bush,
at the last minute I threw out the plan
to take advantage of a target of opportunity.

Actually,
I saw a friend in need with a big pile
and pulled in to offer assistance.

Not having done this before,
my eyes were much bigger than my stomach.

I quoted him $75.00,
thinking it wouldn't take too long
and then off to work we went.

Hours and hours and hours later,
we were still plugging along.

Boy was that a mistake!!

We finally finished and were able to pick up
a few other jobs before it got dark but,
I'm here to tell you...our buts were sure
dragging on the ground.

My 4 to 5 hundred dollar day had quickly
evaporated into one just barely breaking even.

My former friend and I talked about it
and decided not to go back for a second day...

But hey,
it was fun
we helped some people out
and it was a good experience.

While the storm debris was soon gone,
it seemed everywhere I turned there
was a pile of brush calling my name.

It was driving me crazy.

So I thought, OK
I'll do my homework.

Several months later I rounded up my last $12,000,
jumped off the deep end and bought
a brand new Vermeer 935 Chipper.

What a piece of equipment...

It would take a 9 inch tree and
gobble it up in no time.

I started at the Girl Scouts,
making trails and cleaning up the place
and suddenly people started calling me asking for help.

Everyone from private citizens to the township trustees.

Since I was a one man show,
I always asked the owner to help out.

At first,
they looked at me
like you must be crazy...
But once they got the hang of it,
you could see a strange sense of satisfaction
come over their face.

Over and over again,
it seemed to ring true.

Some of these people had been stairing at these piles for years,
and suddenly it was gone and they actually helped.

They didn't pay someone else to come in and take care of it,
they got all hot and sweaty and did it for themselves.

Their attitude immediately changed
and when it came time to settle up
they couldn't wait because they knew first hand
what was involved and the benefit they had received.

Now this is what I call this a
"Value for Value Transaction".

The more I did it,
the more I got to thinking.

Most jobs are really pretty easy
assuming of course you have the right tools.

In this case a $12,000 tool.

In addition,
it didn't make sense for everyone with a small pile of brush
to go out and buy a Vermeer Chipper,
but what if I made it available for people who wanted
to learn to fish.

Enter,
"Lets do it Together"

I would provide the tools and help any man
who was willing to help himself.

As one person did their yard,
the neighbors came over to check it out,
and pretty soon we were doing their yard.

Neighbors who were here-to-fore strangers
were suddenly talking,
helping one another out
and taking a genuine pride in their mutual work
and accomplishments.

Suddenly we were moving,
and get this...a sense of community began to develop.

The fee for this service...

Just an envelope marked tree fund
and the words:
"Make Yourself Happy."

OK, so all well and good,
but what do you do with all the wood chips.

Trails at the Girls Scouts,
neighborhood gardens and landscaping projects
and wherever else you can find.

One day at the Galion Public Library,
I noticed their flower beds and thought maybe
they could use a load of chips.

I almost said something to the director
but changed my mind at the last minute.

On the way out to the truck,
it came at me again,
so I said, "OK",
and go back in.

She said,
"You know I was thinking about that just yesterday,
not for here but at my home."

Well, the original idea was for the library,
but a friend in need is a friend in deed.

So off to the Directors house I go.

When I arrived I saw this TV antenna laying off to the side
and though I wonder what that's all about.

After the chips were unloaded,
she asked if she could pay me
and I said,
"What's up with the TV Antenna?"

Seems they just put in cable
and did I know anyone who wanted it.

Well, I guess...

It was like preaching to the choir.

Unbeknownst to her,
not days before I approached the Girl Scouts
about just such an Antenna for the rangers house.

After a while 4, 6 & 10 gets to be pretty old.

Well, I'm sorry
there's no money in the budget,
better luck next time.

I couldn't believe it,
not in my wildest dreams.

It was a Channel Master
complete with rotor and control.

After rounding up a new tower from my roofing friend
the big day arrived.

It was amazing,
not only did I get 4, 6, & 10,
but 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 28, 34,
on and on it went.

I paused for a second in wonder
and then it hit me.

They had been there all the time,
all I needed was a better antenna.

Hope that answers your question...

Warmest Regards,

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