It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be. ~J.K. Rowling
Ryan would have been celebrating his 37th birthday today! He would have loved waking up to his son, Kyle, who is now thirteen and probably went to work, stopping for a beer on the way home, never thinking much of the day. Like me, Ryan never cared much for birthdays. Unlike Kyle, who takes the entire month of July to celebrate his. Granted, Kyle’s a kid, but regardless, Ryan and I still weren’t that interested in our birthdays, except to get our driver’s license and to legally drink. Although, I was pretty stoked to vote.
Now that my company Thrill of the Hunt is really starting to make some traction, I wonder what Ryan would be doing?
You know, I truly believe Ryan would have started a company too. He moved on before he had the chance, but Ryan would have been a great businessman! How do I know? Easy, Ryan possessed all the qualities of a great entrepreneur, the passion, the ideas, the know how, leadership and most of all the ability to work hard and stick it out, no matter what. Ryan was never a quitter and there is no one that can say he wasn’t a hard worker. No one!
Granted, Ryan’s interests in business were very different from mine, but still the same concept regardless. Early on, Ryan showed an interest in starting a deer butchering business. Dad told me once, Ryan really considered doing this as a seasonal job. It’s true, Ryan and dad, heck the rest of the family are very experienced in gutting and butchering deer, plus other game and farm animals. Yes, we do it all ourselves, every year, even the wrapping and preparing of the deer meat for the freezer, canning it, or making Bologna and/or deer jerky, usually all of the above. And yes, we have all the equipment to cut up the deer, make ground meat etc. I believe I knew of Ryan’s idea, but during high school, yes Ryan was in high school and wanted to start the business, I was so involved in my own activities I probably didn’t care much.
Why didn’t he do it? Easy, dad talked him out of it. Not because dad didn’t think he couldn’t handle the work or make the business a success, nope not at all! It was quite the opposite. Dad knew Ryan would have made it into a flourishing business and he would have enjoyed it too. Yet, dad was being realistic and pointed out that if Ryan was butchering other people’s deer, when would he have time to hunt himself? Very valid point dad! You can’t let a deer hang around too long, especially if it’s not gutted and skinned. Dad’s theory the sooner the better for both. The butchering and packaging can wait a few days if needed, as long as it’s cold out (our deer hang in the garage). But sooner or later this needs to be done, and it couldn’t be done with Ryan in the woods hunting, not to mention he was still in high school.
In a way, I wished Ryan would have started the business. I would have most certainly helped! Actually, at the time I stopped hunting myself and I could have picked up the slack, when it worked with my band and Winterguard schedules. Ok, perhaps dad was right!
Ryan’s ideas and drive didn’t stop there. For years, in high school and out, Ryan mowed lawns when he worked for Lester. In fact, just the other day, dad pointed out Lester’s place as we passed. I totally forgot Ryan worked for him! When Ryan lost his driver’s license (a whole separate story) I had to drive him to and from work. One time, I even gave his dog Jake (he was a beagle that I always fought with) a ride when picking Ryan up. Anyway, years after Ryan passed, mom said she ran into Lester. You know what he said about Ryan? He said that if Ryan would still be living, and decided to start his own lawn business, he would have put Lester out of work. Seriously, what a compliment! You know, Lester’s one hundred percent right! Like I said, Ryan was made to be an entrepreneur.
Sometimes, I think having the ability to start a business is in the DNA. Ryan was so much like my pappy in many ways. He was a good person, a truly warm soul with a big heart with drive and a solid work ethic, much like my pappy who started his own business, a sawmill, Walter Piper & Sons Lumber. Pappy started the business on a fifth grade education! Yep! Basically, pappy knew the timber industry and practically lived in the woods his whole life, but he also would pay attention and made most of the business decisions purely off of gut instincts. He was even big into marketing, before he knew what marketing was. Granted, that’s a tough industry and it lasted for years, even after my pappy’s death, but it did eventually come to an end. Like Ryan, pappy had the entrepreneur spirit in him and he also possessed all the same qualities. I couldn’t imagine how successful pap would have been, if he had an opportunity to finish high school, let alone further his education.
Would Ryan have paired up with Nicole and myself for Thrill of the Hunt? Probably not, for it wasn’t really his gig. But I would have loved to work with Ryan! There is no doubt he would have helped out if needed.
Ryan never got the opportunity like I did, to start a company. When he passed away, he worked at a Aggressive Grinding Machine Shop, furthering his career in his trade. Just like my grandpap Chester, Ryan was a machinist, and from what I was told a very good one. No matter what, Ryan always did the best he could and took pride in his work. We all missed out by Ryan’s passing and he is still missed by many, very much!