In any event, we've worked a number of places doing a number of things. And, we experienced something today that neither of us remembers occuring in previous places of employment - we received a Christmas bonus.
Ok, we give a pass to the tips Rob received around Christmas when he delivered papers. That was, in fact, a bonus and should qualify. And, there were certainly nice things that happened in other places at other times, such as extra time off around the holidays. So, we should not discount the valuable gift of time. But, in some ways it is hard to accept that this gift is a bonus when it is scheduled in the calendar for all to whom it applies. It becomes more of a schedule than a bonus.
To us, a bonus is an unexpected gift of appreciation for good, honest work done well.
It wasn't until we started the farm business that we got real bonuses! A couple of years ago "Santa" bequeathed upon us some massages. This was truly appreciated since both of us can get very achy during the growing season. This year, we were greatly pleased to receive gift certificates to Rudy's in Cedar Falls. Several people know we enjoy stopping there after the Cedar Falls CSA distributions on Thursdays. They purchase a significant amount of local food (none from us, but that's ok - we don't have the volume to do that and the CSA) so we like to support them.
It was after we opened the envelope that we came to the revelation that we have now actually received bonuses for our work. For instance, someone else simply tacked on extra money for their eggs - which was also deeply appreciated. I wanted to argue and decline, but something told me it was better in this case to be grateful. And, I am and hope that I conveyed that sufficiently as well.
We've received other kindnesses at other times of the year, and we are no less grateful. But, the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas is when we try to focus more on gratitude, friendship and kindness. Certainly things we should focus on all the time, but there is nothing wrong with the renewal of our dedication to these things at this time of year.
And so we remember other bonuses, such as the slingshot to be used at GF7 festivals for launching bad tomatoes to the turkeys. We always get a boost from persons who come volunteer when we need it most. And, you cannot underestimate kind words that remind you that you shouldn't let your troubles (or that one unkind word that was spoken) dictate how you feel for the rest of the day.
A big thank you to all of the fine people who read this blog, it is good to know that some of what is written here means something to others. "A crate full of grateful" to all who patronize and support our farm. You are some of the best people we've ever had cause to know, it is a privilege. And, to all of our friends and family who are good enough to accept us for who we are and who understand that we are more than just farmers, or academics, or laborers, or...pick your label... we love you.