written for The Hartford Courant

Each summer for one afternoon, a giant fife-and-drum parade comes to my quiet town. Thousands of people come to watch the bands. Selling ice cream at the Deep River Ancient Muster had always seemed like a sure way to make a bundle.

It’s not.

I broke basic business rules. I thought I understood how people would act at a big public event, but I didn’t. I lost almost a hundred dollars and tested the goodwill of my assistants, who included my husband, our next-door neighbor, a friend, his teenage son (who pushed my cart from our house) and my sales clerks—our two daughters. We also had a freezerful of unsold ice cream for a year.

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About This Article

After my failed ice-cream vending attempt I was still in the hole financially. I called my editors at the Hartford Courant, for which I was on the contributors’ board of the “Place” section, and made back my loss and then some by doing the only thing I appear to know how to do—write. This article was published by The Hartford Courant newspaper on September 5, 2004 and currently appears in its entirety on their website at the following address:

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