Monday, December 3, 2012

A Saturday in December - and second chances

Off to the big city again today, and I braved the crowds at the mall for a very short while.

I prefer the mall on quieter days.  I don't like to stand in line for a half hour, I am always thinking about other things I could be doing, like social media or eating at the food court or blogging or anything but standing in line.

Today, though, I got a pleasant surprise.  Several clerks working the floor in a department store actually looked at me and said hello, and asked if they could help me find anything!

The clerks at this one set of registers in the store were just great to be around.  They also said hello, recognized there were people in line and thanked them for waiting, and they actually talked to the customers instead of only each other.  They found nice things to say about everyone in line.  Everyone was smiling, while holiday shopping.  Can you hear the angelic music now?  Yes, it was what seemed to be a miracle.

Wow, what a novel concept!!  Actually enjoying Christmas shopping!  And employees that seemed happy to be employed!  It made the customers happy to shop there!  My socks were, as the saying goes, blown off!

This is a store that quite honestly I had written off of my list of places to stop.  My last few prior experiences there had soured me.  Service, prior to my experience today, was apathetic, disinterested, and they were doing me a favor by being there.  I had not spent a dime at that store in over three years.  Yes, three years.

I happened to be going through the store on my way elsewhere, my original plan was to use it as a pathway to my destination, and I wound up staying, and shopping, enjoying the store because of the attitude and climate set by the people that were working there.

It goes to show, every once in a while, we should stop in and check the climate with people or places where our prior experience was less than pleasant.  People and places can and do change for the better sometimes.        Just like we don't want to be known for staying stuck in the same old place, others don't either, and they may have done something about it.  I would want a second chance, and, I would like to believe, others would like a second chance, too, to show they have changed.

Is it in your power to give the opportunity at a second chance on purpose?  My experience today happened on accident, but it did give me a real life lesson.

Well, Cowman is cooking tonight, so I am off to put my feet up and eat what he cooked!  Yes, Cowman's Wife got the night off!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hi Hoe, Hi Hoe, Its Off to Work in Town I Go

One thing about farming is the fact that if you are not working directly on the farm, you are working somewhere.

Lazy does not cut it in the farming life.

So, today I am off to the big city to one of my part time jobs.  I work a several small jobs for several reasons:

1) I have this really weird need to help people sell their stuff.

2)  If things get out of control busy, I have flexibility to roll with the flow.

3)  If things get out of control slow I can pick up short term projects

4)  A lot of what I do can be done after the sun goes down, and Cowman is watching endless Westerns or other people's cows on TV, or watchng people cook beef, butter some bread or eat ice cream.  He is a man of  limited interests.

Working in the big city has given me a whole new appreciation for promoting and telling others about what  happens on the farm. It is really easy for an urban dwelling person to spout misinformation about farming from partial news reports they have absorbed through the media, or organizations with an agenda that is anti farming.  But when they are actually confronted with a farm person stating facts about themselves and their farm that contradict their current understanding, I have learned that most people start to shift their ideas almost immediately.

Urban dwellers and other food consumers want to learn and understand where their food comes from, and they want facts from someone who farms about how food  is grown.  They do want to have faith in the farmer, the job he is doing, and the purpose the farmer has in being in business.  Food is a big part of our lives.

Being fearful because of what you hear in the news is not a realistic view for the farmer to take in today's information age.  We can either give personal stories about how much time and energy we spend tending to the resources under our care, or someone else will give a sensationalized or lopsided story to the consumer.

So, when I am working in town, I try to take the view that I am an ambassador for the farmer.  I have stepped from my world into the world of the consumer that may not have ever even mowed their own lawn.  I share about newborn calves, fresh hay, how cows are the masters at recycling things we can't eat ourselves, and really dark nights without street lights.  I talk about worry over the cow that is not feeling well, the sadness over the calf that didn't make it, and feeding the orphan goat kid at 1 am.  I share about the reality of predators - those with two and four legs - as a part of everyday life.  I talk about deep quiet, and nothing to block the wind.  I talk about Christmas morning not starting until Cowman is back from chores at the dairy, because he and the people that work with him are making sure there is milk in the store tomorrow.

So, from Cowman's Wife, go tell your stories fellow farmers.  People really do want to get to know you, what you are about, what your life is like, and why you do what you do.  To my urban friends, take time to listen to the farmers you meet.  Maybe, try to get together to do lunch, because the bottom line for the discussion is every human's common ground - food.  Another common ground might be shoes, especially if your are a woman.   But that is something we will have to wait to elaborate on another day.

Time to go cook.