Being the oldest I got to tag along with Dad to some of the shows. This was my favorite part of the hot sauce operation. There was a never-ending flow of entertainment coming from the people who flocked to the hot sauce tent. Their favorite question was “Is this hot? Is this one hot?” I must’ve heard those questions a thousand times, despite the fact there were signs everywhere stating that hot sauce is hot! Every time my father and I exhibited at a show, there would be people who, ignoring the warning signs, plunged their chips into the fiery liquid. After a few suspenseful seconds they would run away with chip in mouth, tongues burning, and eyes watering, and if we were lucky, they would stay at the table and uncontrollably hiccup. My favorite type of customer was the “Owl”; we called them that because of the hoot they made after treating themselves to a little too much habanero. They would shout “whooo whooooo,” and wave at the air above their tongues as if it would actually help them to cool their mouths off.
Despite our complaints, my brother, sister and I were dragged quite willingly into the world of small business, with a minor in economics. What started out to be one of life’s lessons turned into a viable, nationally recognized, Maine gourmet and specialty food company, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.