Trick or Treat, with class

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I stopped by Gamble’s to drop off something and wound up with this cool picture. From left to right the staff members included are Brenda “Cleopatra” Rhodes, Sandy “Come In I Have Candy” Harrison, and Pam “Salute But You Still Have To Buy Something” Dickinson. 20161029_131114_resized
It’s hard to think of going into the final two months of the year but judging from what I saw yesterday, you won’t go wrong if you go by or get in touch.


Gamble’s Gifts for the holidays

Hi everyone,
These are busy days for retailers. At Gamble’s Gifts we’ve had our Christmas Open House sales, Thanksgiving Sales, Black Friday Sale, Small Business Sale, and now it’s scratch and survive as we sprint toward the last days before Christmas — and then, of course, the Day After Christmas Sale. Whew! If you’d like to be on the mailing list for the 12 Days of Christmas Sale (yes, that still a different sale), contact the store at and give them your e-mail address. IMAG1806If you’d just like to browse the store’s website, here’s how to do that. There’s still time to ship if you see anything you like. Yes, we experienced Cyber Monday too.
I don’t mention our store often and probably should. Sandy works hard with our staff to keep the displays looking good and we go to markets every year to buy new products.IMAG1808 If you’ve been in retail, you know it’s a demanding line of work but small stores like ours somehow manage to survive in spite of the competition from chains and online giants.
So here’s to my wife, the soul of the store. And here’s to being in the gift business since 1984. Thanks Sandy Harrison.

Another life

Hi everyone,

Yesterday Sandy and I signed a lease allowing a new company to move into my old office building in Springfield, where I worked for thirty-five years from 1973 to 2008. It was the home office of Glenstone Block Company. I was owner and president.

During the day my world centered on the manufacture and sales of concrete blocks for the construction industry. We had a plant in Springfield, one in Branson, and a stocking yard in Camdenton. At one time we also operated half a dozen True Value and ACE hardware stores in Springfield, Kaiser, Branson West, and Camdenton. At it’s peak, the company employed over one hundred men and women.

This week I pulled out a scrapbook created as a gift for me in 1993 by my secretary Dixie Nyer. Memories came flooding back as I turned the pages, pausing over faces I haven’t seen for many years. We were all so young! I’d forgotten about the newsletter I occasionally wrote (with ample help from several others in the company). A company survey had shown that employees wanted to know more about how business worked so I wrote a series of articles about a fictitious small businessman named Fernando who started a company to manufacture Belly Button Lint Cups. Poor guy had a heck of a time figuring out how to control his inventory, price his product, keep his expenses in check, and somehow make a profit.

It was another life, filled with meetings, decisions, trying to keep up with trends and stay ahead of competition. Several of the people who helped make Glenstone Block Company what it was are gone. I’ve lost track of most of the others. One, I’m happy to say, my former administrative assistant Elaine Gold, still comes to my house once a month to pay bills and do my filing. Okay, I’m spoiled. Another ex-employee, Karen Stewart, now performs the same duties at our gift store, Gamble’s.

Dixie, herself a writer, penned this poem for the opening page of her gift scrapbook. It’s over the top but Dixie never got over the fact that I hired her when she was down and out, cleaning motel rooms and barely making it. I hired her to do our advertising and picked her from several applicants with strong credentials. I chose Dixie on two counts: she was a writer and she professed to dislike advertising. I figured that would give her a reason to come at our ads from a different point of view, and she never disappointed me. I can still hear her squeal of joy over the phone when I called to offer her the job.

To the Main Man

Ever the gentleman
and the great scholar,
Ever the kind friend
if you should holler,
Never a harsh word,
never a frown,
Never a dark mood
dragging him down,
Full of good will and
spontaneous laughter,
Eager to help you find
what you’re after –
Spritely in step
and cheery in tone,
Making the work place
feel like a home —
Champion of children,
the needy and weak,
Defending the cause of
those who can’t speak,
Just and impartial,
whatever the cost,
most incredible BOSS!
— dn

When I sold my company, I became a fulltime writer after a lifetime of writing before work or after I got home. I was 71.

Believe it or not

Hi everyone,

We shopped yesterday until 1:00 then headed for the airport and home. After three days of shopping for our store, individual cells in my bones were screaming for rest. We flew back to Tulsa and drove home from there, reaching our house at 7:00. Bought a lot of nice things though.

This month is moving slowly so far with Word of the Month. Are we struggling with the word: BELIEVE? I started work on my poem on the plane trips but it’s only an hour between Tulsa to Dallas so that didn’t give me much time. I’ll try to finish this week.

Today my pool table will be put to use again. It’s the best place in the house when I need to spread out sheets of paper or files or folders to sort them into order. I’ve all but finished a new collection of humorous poems so today I’ll spread the poems on the table while deciding where to place each one in the final grouping. My M.O.W. says this collection is as clever as anything I’ve done so either that means that I’m never very clever or I should be happy with this book.