I was in Windsor, Nova Scotia this past weekend for a Spence Family Reunion. The events included a brief tour of Haliburton House, the home of Windsor’s favourite son, Justice Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865), who was one of Canada’s first best-selling authors.
His “Clockmaker” books, chronicling the comic misadventures of Yankee salesman Sam Slick, were best-sellers in North America and England, putting him in the same leagues as Mark Twain.
Although little read or remembered today, Haliburton was the first to coin (or just popularize) many phrases and expressions that are still in common use today. Examples:
* As quick as a wink
* Seeing is believing
* He drank like a fish
* I wasn’t born yesterday
* A stitch in time saves nine
* Barking up the wrong tree
* A miss is as good as a mile
* The early bird gets the worm
* And that perennial favourite, “This country is going to the dogs.”
For motivational purposes, however, you can’t beat this zinger:
“Punctuality is the soul of business.”
In a world of broken promises, how do you use punctuality to beat the competition?