Monday, June 11, 2012

C'est la vie. C'est la guerre.

In an effort to reintegrate our Catholic faith into our lives, my family has built a bond with a priest in CT. He has offered much solace during an otherwise hectic and tumultuous time. One statement he made that has provided much comfort is that we should look for signs of my mom’s spirit around us. I have found her to be present in many ways from rainbows to constellations and  acts of coincidence and fate.  I realized I took it a bit too far when I became convinced her spirit ate my bacon on Sunday. But I miss her, I can’t help it. And maybe that means I am looking to hard, but  I am starting to realize that she won’t be around to do the things that used to make me laugh or maybe even cause annoyance.

I’ll never forget the time my mom helped me move into an apt in Florida and then we decided to check out a local hotel bar with an alleged amazing rotating view of the city. However, when we arrived it became evident this was now event space and longer a functioning bar. We discovered this as an employee informed us of such upon our entrance, however of course my mom wanted to check it out. It turned out to be a Native American tribal reunion at which each attendee was fully decked out in traditional dress and clearly of Native American descent. Although we were two pale white ladies in shorts and Capri pants,  she was convinced we could just blend in and “enjoy the music”. Of course I was humiliated, but humored the same and secretly had a blast jamming out to  a super zealous flautist. I loved that she was up for anything. As always, she was flexible where I was tentative.

She would often say “c’est la vie, c’est la guerre”, amongst several other random sporadic French statements, left over from the French nuns of her childhood. I believe the loose meaning is “such is life such is war.” She rolled with the punches, even the final punch in the most graceful possible way. Flexibility was always her way,  where I am unwillingly ruffled by the twists and turns life invariably produces.

Another amazing trait possessed by my mom was her desire to listen. I am not saying she always succeeded, there were times when she would inevitably have to tune out the 10th time in a row I called crying about a rodent or pest or the in depth description of a mundane task performed at work. However, mostly she had the rare desire to hear about your day, savor it, and most likely ask you to repeat it to her friends later if she found it amusing. This would drive me crazy, as I would fear the joy she received from my tales wouldn’t carry over to others and often times I would balk at her request. Needless to say I wouldn’t mind repeating things a few more times. I miss you and love you, these hydrangeas are for you woman.  

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Is entrepreneurship dead?

A few weeks ago, as I strolled along the beach in CT with my father, we encountered a young girl handing out flyers for her lemonade stand down the street. I read the sheet and was immediately outraged. Her “Lemonade Stand” would be open that day from 1-3- or maybe longer. 

“Maybe longer??” I shouted into the wind. “Where has the work ethic gone?” I spewed in disgust to my father. We joked about this for a few paces more. Would she be donating the money to a local charity I hope- we teased- due to her swanky address. 

But seriously- my childhood enterprise was way better than this lazy little sprite, with her fluctuating hours. It all began with two scrappy girls and an idea. An idea that we could pick up shells and other treasures from the beach and the world would buy them from us at our home storefront. We called it The Shell Stand and after a few successful years we expanded into the restaurant world with the launch of the ME muffin café.

The  premise behind the ME (aptly named after Marissa and Emily) Muffin Café is that we would scrape together $1 a week essentially to purchase a box of Jiffy Muffin Mix, which my mom would then bake for us, and then we would resell them to her and my business associate’s parents on a daily basis.  We also sold them coffee they made. We worked long hard hours, for less than minimum wage and I think it truly was one of the pivotal experiences in my life that shaped me into the person I am today.

Is this drive and determination lost on the current generation? Perhaps I should start a mentoring program… or we may all be at a loss for lemonade.