It’s funny how things hit us out of the blue sometimes, isn’t it?
I mean, if I were to tell you that organizing our income tax files left me a little misty-eyed, you might think I’d finally, truly “lost it”, mightn’t you???
Let me explain…
Each April, as I ‘switch over’ my files to the current year, there is always the 8th year back to dispose of. (We only have to keep 7 years of records on hand, right?)
So, being just a little bit nostalgic, and prone to being a little bit forgetful, I like to leaf through the receipts and records from that 8th year. I pick out the historically significant things….invoices for major purchases, the going rate for certain price benchmarks (fuel, hydro, labour, etc.)….and keep a bit of a record from year to year….just because. This time, it’s 2008.
Maybe someday our successors will look back and find it interesting, who knows?
What I’m finding interesting today though, is that it’s not the numbers making me feel wistful. It’s the names.
Don’t get me wrong. Just like you, I’d love it if our hydro rate was still $0.05/kwh, or student wage was at $8.20/hr.
But those are just numbers.
What makes me pause is not the cost of labour. It’s the names of the student employees who are now married or engaged, raising families, or running their own successful businesses…all of whom we remain in contact with, and consider dear friends.
It’s not the prices for the last remaining dairy cattle we sold. It’s the name of that one special cow, who went on to live out her years at the farm where I first learned to love the farm life, now owned and operated by my brother and his wife. Dear old ‘Abby’ is no longer a part of the herd there…but her progeny carry on her legacy.
The cost of equipment rented is trivial. The fact that the man we rented it from in the next county is no longer with us, makes me sad.
The ‘young lad from down the road’ to whom we paid a one-time, lump sum of $37.25 for ‘weeding’ is now a knowledgeable, apprenticing mechanic. He happens to be outside with Robert as I type, working equipment, getting it ready for the upcoming planting season. (We’ll pay him more than $37.25 today!)
And so it goes. Today’s exercise leaves me with much more than a bin full of papers and an empty file drawer, ready for the coming year.
It leaves me with some worthwhile reminders;
….that change is not something to be feared. The past decade has held many changes for Miller’s Bay Farm. 2008 was our LAST year to sell Maple Syrup and our FIRST year to sell strawberries. As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
… that what we do here is more about the people than anything else. We’re not in this to get rich (in the monetary sense). If we were, we’d do something else! As it turns out though, our lives are made rich by each of the people who walk through our lives in a year….and that’s worth far more to us than any dollar figure that we submit to Revenue Canada by the end of the month.
And I can’t help but wonder….7 years down the road, when 2016 becomes “the 8th year”….which names, events, and memories will make me pause and reflect, all over again.