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A Hallmark Moment

At an Allpro membership meeting and fall show in New Orleans, in November of 2018, I was impressed with the myriad ways street-barkers of the French Quarter had, to separate Guy from her money.

On the streets of New Orleans, for the price of an espresso and a bag of beignets, Guy was able to re-live her dreams of being a pirate!

After a quick promotion, from being my queen to being THE queen, a dog removed its sunglasses. In honor of Her Majesty's reign!

A dog who can remove its sunglasses is a street-barker tour de force!

I did not expect anyone else would earn Guy’s patronage after that performance.

And I was almost right!

Like a fish to the lure, Guy spied another crowd swelling on a closely corner. We walked over to take a look and found a man sitting at a makeshift desk tapping at the keys of an old-school manual typewriter, writing poetry. Tell him your subject (and make a small donation) and in a New Orleans-Minute, you had a custom sonnet!

Guy reached for her wallet!

But before she could hand over her cash I asked, “What’s the trick here?”

Walking Guy away from the crowd (YES! This dude had a crowd!) I reminded her that she was engaged to be married to a writer and she should save her money.

"You can't write poetry on demand!"

Before she was willing to walk away from her chance to meet and act as muse for the poet laureate of N’awlins, she gave me two topics to test my skills on. I grabbed my phone and tapped out a few poems; satisfying my fiancee that she wouldn't have to come back to New Orleans to inspire poetry,

Last night for reasons known only to Guy and the voices in her head, she reminded me of that story and asked if I could “write Hallmark cards” too?

For paint dealers!

When I owned my stores, the slow sales-counter and phones of these two-weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years offered me an opportunity to reward my managers with some prime days off.

Christmas with their families.

It was my goal to get as many of my in-store staff, who struggled the remaining 50-weeks of the year with the long hours of a retail career, time off with their families during the holidays. If you worked at Tremont Paint, you were a Lipton.

Paint stores are family businesses. But you know that.

I liked that time at the counter. It gave me an opportunity to personally thank the painters and office-bound customers who walked or called-in. The last number of years in the stores I was spending much of my time consulting. Seeing and speaking to customers, many of whom are still friends, was a treat.

Organizing and managing the physical inventory process was another task my Judaism afforded time to accomplish during Christmas at Tremont Paint. Among plenty of other tasks: budgeting for next year, preparing for bi-yearly staff evaluations, and more. I made good use of the time in the office.

This time last year, I had just sold my two Bronx, New York, stores to Janovic. Far from having the season off, I was busy closing down the corporate-body which had supported my family since 1907. I was collecting and paying final bills, preparing to file final tax returns, and setting up an office; a place to plan my next steps.

All while commuting; to Montvale.

As this holiday season rolls into Stamford, Connecticut, those responsibilities are laid to rest.

If there never was a Montvale Massacre, my one-year contract with Benjamin Moore which began in September of 2019 would have been concluded by now. And with the remnants of Tremont Paint finally, properly filed,

I find myself looking at a holiday season spent less with responsibilities and more, in the company of my family; my fiancée Guy and my daughter Miranda. THE Buck! Who returned from Austin, TX, last night.

Buck claims that before she returns to her beloved Austin, she’s going to cook a dinner for me and Guy. I hope she doesn’t choose that day to be a vegetarian!


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