I remember best the customers who make me laugh.

And I remember the customer who helped me to grow.

A listener called me when I was doing a radio show.

I remember her for both reasons.

She was a school teacher, near retirement. We had talked for several minutes on the air and she was ready to end the conversation but not until she had made me chuckle.

“Mr. Broom” she started, “do you know how I remember your name?”

I was in my fifties at the time and I’d heard every pun, every joke, every mispronunciation of the name Broom that there could possibly be.

“I’ll bite.” I replied. “How do you remember me?”

“Your last name, Broom; It’s the sound of an elephant passing gas.”

I don’t know if it was actually funny or if it was the contrast of a scatty remark coming from an aging school teacher.

When the engineer signaled that I needed to calm down and I could actually make a sound remark or two, and my Little Old lady from Harmony High had gone her way, I jotted down some notes which I used the next day as I sat through a class at ASU listening to a professor stray from his subject and talk about a recent trip. It only took a few minutes to write what I thought was a very funny poem about the subject of yesterday’s laughter and then back to my notes.

It was an early class and my next stop was to open my store in North Scottsdale. I was running a little late and I forgot; my notebook; after arriving at the gallery I took a minute to recreate the poem.

I  promptly forgot about it, though occasionally when consulting my notes, I  would chuckle as I stumbled across my rhyme about the noisy pachyderm.

About a year later, I was browsing through Dalton’s Book Store looking for a birthday present. There was a popular kind of book at the time, the success of which was probably first realized by Shell Silverstein. One book would contain one poem in large fonts illustrated with copious concentrations of colorful illustrations.

I picked up a copy of The Learning Tree and next to it was a book with a shiny blue cover, bearing the image of an elephant with his
tail lifted and the sound spelled out, BROOOOOOOM.

I did not laugh.

But I learned.



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