Our FB friend – Ray Lindstrom

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This was a face book visit with a message that he was comfortable to share, with parting words “And don’t let life’s bastards beat you without giving them a fight!”

Ray’s expertise is franchising businesses.  Our paths crossed when we both joined a .com company that pioneered an on-line accounting system some 15 years ago, way ahead of the Xero product on today’s market.  Unfortunately the company went belly up through running out of venture capital and it wasn’t until BClaire and I had established our childcare business, that we engaged Ray to look at the feasibility of franchising Outaskool.

We always remember Ray questioning our marketing budget being $140 in our audited financial accounts.  To Ray, marketing any business is a key element to  every business’s longevity sustainability and growth.  His experience was telling him that we weren’t spending enough to market our brand!  However, our patronage numbers were at capacity and the reason we were investigating expansion options.  Our unique situation was founded on the good ole fashioned ‘word of mouth’ marketing strategy – it symbolized our point of differentiation to lead the industry we operated in.

We didn’t go down the franchise route to grow our business and it was the friendship between our daughters that re-connected the relationship some years later, albeit an ebb and tide one.

Crate day this month, and Little Claire (daughter) with Ray’s daughter (Brooke) rocked up our drive to borrow the picnic seats to use for their expected drunken participants.  Asking after Ray, Brooke shared the news that Ray’s health was deteriorating – it prompted a call to arrange to catch up, just to catch up.  Playing telephone tag, I was walking through a Mall car park to happen upon Ray and time was made to share an impromptu cuppa.  We picked up where we had left off as if it was yesterday.

The later stages of Parkinson Disease was evident.  When Ray was diagnosed, the will to crusade against the symptoms became a passionate energy.  He had entered into a boxing ring with his gloves firmly fixed determined to go as many rounds as he could, taking the blows but never getting knocked over.  He’s a little bruised, however, his opponent has been canvassed a number of times.  Sadly, not knocked out to stay down for the count to ten.  His attitude is one that has a belief that he still has some rounds in him left yet.

Riding a bike from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch is a goal entrenched as something he wants to tick off.  Suggesting we do it on a tandem wasn’t an option; his determination to keep his goal alive and complete the ride under his own steam was a reminder to keep your dreams alive no matter the circumstances.

His adversity is curling and crumbling his body.  However, his mind and heart with his desire, belief and will power to keep going has him still working with people to expand their empires as a franchise expert. It’s a poetic situation that as his life is becoming shorter, he is making the most of what he can, while he can, to continue to put others first.

We talked about life stuff.  We shared precious moments from our past life.  We shed a tear of what life would be like not being in life.  Ray inspired to get focusing on what matters most and bloody well get on living life.

This was a face book visit with a message that he was comfortable to share, with parting words “And don’t let life’s bastards beat you without giving them a fight!”