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Gas Pumps

When I was a child, my parents owned and operated a small country restaurant along with two gas pumps called A-1 Truck Stop. And note that I said “A ONE Truck Stop” not “Trucks Stop” as our parking lot could only reasonably accommodate one decent sized truck! Even though our business name was A-1 Truck Stop, the vast majority of our customers were tourists who drove automobiles. As early as I can remember, I had chores to do around the truck stop, such as taking out the garbage, clearing tables, sweeping, mopping floors, and basically anything that needed doing. But, what really looked like fun to me, was helping out at the gas pumps! At the age of 4, I started going out to our full-servi

The BEST Birthday, Ever!

Well, here it is, my 70th birthday. That is a lot of birthdays! And, as you can imagine, I’ve had some great ones! When I was a child, I remember one birthday in particular. My Mother made my favorite cake – she was an excellent baker – and I was allowed to invite my friends over for a party. So that afternoon, we closed the restaurant early, and my friends poured into the A-1 Truck Stop. We had the restaurant to ourselves and I felt so special. As I ate my piece of delicious cake, I thought, “This is the best birthday EVER!” When I turned 40, I had a really fun birthday. I was at a University of Florida basketball game and a friend had delivered to me in the stands, dozens of bla

The Coach

Just recently, I came upon a story about a beloved coach whose students nominated him for a free trip to the Super Bowl because of the way he’d changed students’ lives over the last 33 years. It was so touching to hear stories from his current and former students: a disabled girl he sat with and ate lunch with when no one else would, handwritten inspirational notes that he gave at the right time, buying clothes and shoes for students in need, and even buying a class ring for a student who couldn’t afford it. I smiled when I saw this story as it made me think of Coach Bill McGill, the Athletics Director and assistant football coach at P.K. Yonge where I went to high school. I grew up quite

The Fire

On the morning of January 23rd, a fire broke out at one of my businesses, Smiley’s Antique Mall, at Micanopy, FL. Fire destroyed approximately half of the 20,000 square foot building and the other half suffered extensive smoke, heat and water damage. Luckily, the fire happened three hours before the mall was scheduled to open which meant no one was in the building nor anyone injured. For sure, it’s been a draining few days. My thoughts have kept going to my employees and to the 200 antique dealers who had booth space and showcases in the mall. My heart goes out to them. Most all dealers have sought me out and expressed to me how much they enjoyed being a dealer at Smiley’s and how much

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© 2016 byBen Campen

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