Mockingbird Legacy II: Lessons From a Bygone Time

The Rise and Fall of Silas Curlew

Silas Curlew: Player of all, master of none.

Silas Curlew: Player of all, master of none.

By Benjamin Pierce*

My great-grandpa “Doc” Stanwell, friend of the great Atticus Finch, shared his Southern wisdom with me in his last years. His stories taught me valuable lessons that can be applied to your business. Join me now as I share lessons from the bygone days of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

On a sweltering Southern summer evening in 1949, a rattletrap old 1933 pickup came sputtering into town, raising a mess of dust and gas fumes. A sign on the door said, “Silas Curlew’s One Man Band.”

Like most small towns of that time, we welcomed visitors with a high degree of hospitality, and it soon became apparent to folks that Silas was extremely likeable and sincere. Children flocked to him and grown ups enjoyed his stories of the road.

There was just one problem: His music left a lot to be desired. (Atticus likened it to the sound of a cow giving birth.)

Nobody doubted Silas’s sincerity, but in trying to beat, blow and strum several instruments at once, he didn’t play any of them well. Prevailing wisdom was that he’d made his living by being paid not to play! Maybe old Silas should have focused on mastering just one instrument.

Finding high-quality applicants and hiring the best fit for your company, much like playing an instrument well, takes time, practice, and experience. Mid Oregon Personnel helps business owners focus on what they do best instead of trying to be a “one man band.” You won’t have to be a Silas Curlew trying to play every role in your business; Mid Oregon will team with you, in harmony with your company culture and mission, so you can play to your strengths!

Mid Oregon Personnel has full-time offices in Bend, Redmond, Madras, and Prineville. Visit for more information.

*Benjamin Pierce is a fictional character created by “ghost writer,” Kelly Walker.