Despite our declared "self-sufficiency" there are still businesses we depend upon to make that happen. One of these is in the nearby town of Union, where we --rather regularly--visit Mountaineer Farm Center. Here we purchase pig food, calf and cow feed, sunflower seeds to feed the birds, dog food, garden supplies of one kind or another...in other words, all manner of farm needs. Today, we decided that with next winter storm approaching, (and rememering last year's shortfalls of needed feed when snow trapped us here), we would make a trip to Mountaineer to make sure the animal's larders would be full and ready to meet any onslaught that Nature might throw at us.
As we were checking out, the owner came out of his office and presented us with two calendars and a beautifully wrapped package, paired with a verbal "Thank you for your business!" and "Merry Christmas!"
I knew what was probably going to be in the wrapped package. Last year, it was a lovely box of Russell Stover Assorted Chocolates. Sure enough, this year, it was a Whitman Sampler. I love chocolates but rarely have them, so it's an enormous treat! I had seen other customers carrying out the same array of gifts and knew that it was the proprietor's way of sharing and expressing his own gratitude for the business we've given him. I suppose we could go to the larger agricultural chain store for our needs, but going to Mountaineer is like a page out of history. It's always crowded, you see old friends from time to time, the store is stuffed to the gills with all kinds of nifty items, and everyone is so friendly and full of good humor and good cheer. I feel like we always get our money's worth on humor and good feelings alone. It never fails. We leave feeling glad for having come. Jim makes it that way. His prices are modest, too, so we come away feeling it was a good bargain regardless of what we bought. It's so unusual nowadays, though, for a business to give a gift to their customers for the business of the foregoing year. During the fall, Jim hosted a barbecue for his customers, with all manner of beef, lamb, buffalo, all kinds of dishes....free. How many businesses have you visited many many times, but have never had the proprietor even say thank you for your patronage...let alone with a Whitman Sampler? Not many, I'd venture to guess. Perhaps out here JOTOLR, we're recipients of the kindness and thoughtfulness of folks who are still doing business the old-fashioned way. And it's nice.