I would like to be able to blame my buddy, George Timlin, who had a knack for getting me into trouble when we were kids. A year older than me, he always had creative ideas on endeavors that were fun but all too often led to a bad ending.
But truth be told, however, this one was on me.
The custodian at Mt. Carmel Catholic Church of Lawler, Iowa in 1955 was Billy Cutsforth. George and I liked Billy because he would allow us to ring the church bells at noon if we were around. The small bell had a skinnier rope and was to be pulled nine times for something called the ‘Angelus.’ This was immediately followed by the big bell which was to be rung twelve times and had a rope that was strong enough to lift a ten-year-old up in the air a few feet. It was great fun to pull those ropes and announce to the little town of five hundred that lunch time had arrived.
On this particular day it was my turn to pull the small rope. As twelve-year-old George waited his turn for the big one, I began to wonder what would happen if we pulled them both at the same time but said nothing to him.
“…six…seven…eight…nine.” I was finished.
My friend began his portion of the gig by dutifully tugging on his rope when I began to say aloud, “I wonder what would happen if…”
But for some reason, I didn’t finish my sentence. Instead, in the middle of George’s sixth ring, I simultaneously pulled on the skinny rope.
Bad move on my part.
Suddenly there was silence. Sickly deadly silence. Deafening silence. Painful silence. Ear piecing silence.
I looked at George.
George looked at me.
We both looked to make sure that Billy Cutsforth was not around and did the most logical thing we could think of—run for home as fast as our little legs could take us! I’m not sure what George did when he got to his house, but I hid under my bed and prayed for a miracle.
It has been fifty-two years since the unfortunate incident so I can’t recall all the sordid details of crime and punishment. I mostly remember that the church bells in Lawler, Iowa did not ring for at least two weeks, my nick-name for the rest of the summer was “Dinger,” and we were never asked to perform that coveted chore again. I also remember that if I had not impulsively pulled that rope when I did, I would have missed out on a wonderful adventure to share with my grandsons.
What does that tale have to do with you?
Simply this: I’ve never gotten over being curious about people, new ways of doing things, technology, sales ideas and STUFF. And, frankly, I hope that you never do either.
You may break a church bell or two with your curiosity, but you will never be bored and may just come up with a way to do something better, for less money or easier.
The contributions you can make as an entrepreneur by being bold and adventuresome in your daily tasks may be well worth the risk. Pull on that rope. Take a chance and don’t be dissuaded by an occasional failure. You can always run home and hide under the bed.
In the meantime, I’ve gotta figure out a way to blame Timlin for those busted bells.
Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES
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