JoAnn and I were in Dallas, Texas, for a Real Estate Conference and before going home we reserved a day to see our Granddaughter and her family. January had just given birth to Shea, her second son and fifth child, so Nanny was dying to see the baby. They originally moved to Dallas for Brandon to get his degree in Chiropractic.
We met at Buca di Beppo, a pizza place which catered to families. We sat at a table for eight and passed Shea around as the rest of the children challenged our delightful waiter. Brandon was his usual quiet self. He and January met in high school and have been inseparable since, which includes a long period of higher education for both. January is only a few credits from a degree of her own, financed by student loans, food stamps, part time jobs and the occasional help from Nanny and Papa. It was never much and we have marveled at their combined ingenuity to survive and qualify for an ever-mounting government approved debt.
This was early June 2011, and Brandon had graduated almost two years before. For reasons unknown even to Brandon, he had thus far been unable to launch his career. His practice had no patients and he was currently working nights parking cars at the Anatole, a Dallas hotel.
After lunch, we took them next door to Costco and filled their old van with goodies from every shelf in the store. As we were saying our goodbyes in the parking lot, JoAnn mentioned, almost as an afterthought, that we had written a book. This was early in the life of Clients First. I believe only the original three readers even knew of its existence.
January was excited and insisted we send her the manuscript, which we did as soon as we returned home to Scottsdale. About three weeks later, January called to say she was mad at Brandon because he was reading the book before her. JoAnn said some “Nanny” words of reassurance about January having her hands full with five children.
We thought nothing more of it until the following letter came in the mail.
July 12, 2011
Hi Joseph and JoAnn,
I want to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. Very impressive read. I loved how simple everything was. I found myself thinking, “What will they talk about next?” after you revealed the Three Keys, as that seemed to encompass all anyone needed to know. Obviously not, as Part II and Part III expanded on those concepts really, really well. It was beautifully written and really addressed a way to be successful that most books don’t address. It’s usually how to improve yourself, not how to improve the lives of those you serve. So simple, but so different at the same time.
It was also good for me in the sense that even though we have a Clients First mentality with our practice, there’s always more I can do to up the ante for our patients.
I really appreciate the opportunity to read a copy of the manuscript before it became a success. I told January that with the way things are going for you guys, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see this book become a best-seller. It is that good, in my opinion.
Dr. Brandon R. Harshe
Practice? Patients? I didn’t even know the young man could put pen to paper. Brandon and I had a relationship limited to simple sentences and few of those at that. JoAnn was equally impressed and called January to get an update. It seemed that some good fortune had come their way in the form of a weekly invite for Brandon to drive to Childress, Texas, 250 miles west of Dallas. He had already made the trip twice, driving over four hours in the early morning, taking patients all day and driving back home late that same night.
Imagine our surprise when this small opportunity turned into an invitation for the Harshes to pull up stakes and move to Childress. Then, we received this text message from January in September:
“Made $4,600 in August and paid all our bills for the first time ever. Whoooey!”
The good news via phone calls, emails and text messages has continued since and brought tears of joy on more than one occasion. They rented a house with a big yard. Brandon was interviewed on the radio. They rented a large downtown office and a patient traded painting help for chiropractic adjustments. They had a ribbon cutting ceremony and their pictures were in the local newspaper. Their patient list grows each week.
They came for Christmas, seven souls in a tired Suburban which was an upgrade from the van we filled in Dallas. They were tired and elated and hopeful. I actually had conversations with my grandson-in-law for the first time. On Christmas morning we gave them money towards a new adjustment table and an advance reading copy of Clients First. Brandon handled the book like a treasure and I was once again moved by the change in their lives.
It was January who told us that they talk about Clients First all the time. They apply the Three Keys, put their patients first and Childress has truly been their miracle.
The night before they hit the road to go back to the rural openness of the Texas panhandle, we went to dinner, the four of us, as Aunt Kelly volunteered to watch the brood. At some point after the meal, January and JoAnn got up to go to the ladies room and Bandon and I sat there, a little of the old awkwardness still present. Wanting to say something, Brandon just up and declared, “I think we’ll make $200,000 next year.” I covered my surprise pretty well but could have fallen over with little more encouragement than a small breeze.
I have since thought of that moment with pride and admiration. While I would like to think the book changed Brandon, I know that Brandon did the work. We are so proud of him and January.
With the advent of a new year, we continue to hear from Childress, Texas. The Harshes still prosper, averaging 31 new patients a month. The children are now in school. They had been home schooled until recently. At last report they have begun addressing the student loans, paying extra on the smallest one first, until they can retire the debt. By June it will be a year since our granddaughter said she wanted to read Nanny’s book. By then it will be time for January’s Story.