Monday, July 1, 2013

Cash Crop

Early Thursday morning I arrived at Twin Rocks Trading Post to discover my nephew Grange on his hands and knees picking weeds in front of the building. Greeting him as I walked-up the front steps, I said, "Hey Grange, what the heck?" He tersely replied, "What the heck does it look like?" "Hey now", I shot back, "don't be nasty to me pal. It is far too glorious a morning to start out on the wrong foot." "Sorry Uncle Barry," he said, "I am just frustrated because my dad has me pulling weeds. I hate weeds!" "Misguided", I said to myself as I entered the side door and strolled into our place of business. Switching on the lights, I noticed a note on the counter. It read, "Barry, Grange will be working at the trading post today. He is there to help. Have him pick weeds in front of the store. Steve"

Going about the place, I fired-up the computers and lights in the back rooms and unbarred the Kokopelli doors, propping them open so I could enjoy the morning. It really was a fabulous day. The rocky alcove embracing the trading post and cafe was still subdued by shadow. There was a slight breeze moving the air, which made it feel cool and refreshing. Just across the road to the southeast, the sun peeked around the rocky abutment and lit-up the day. The cottonwood trees, out buildings and rusted farm implements on the edge of the Gaines property stood exposed by the revealing rays. Sunlight also fell upon portions of the bluffs across the valley, creating a scenic study of shadow and light. The heat of the day was not yet upon us, but it promised to come soon. At the edge of the porch, near the sandstone boulders placed there as impact barriers, Grange worked diligently.

My short-term intentions were to sit on the front steps and harangue my nephew, but my plan was interrupted by a call from the cafe. Over the intercom Toni notified me there were two artists waiting to sell us their wares. Grange would have to wait for my intervention. It did not take long to finish my business at the gift shop. Toni already had the beadwork and carved dolls picked out before I arrived, so I just had to approve the expense. When I returned to the trading post, Grange had moved away from the steps. I knew he was trying to avoid me, but I would have none of it. I caught-up with him, leaned against a porch post and listened while he grumbled at his task. "Ya know", I said showering wisdom down on my nephew's red head, "when your father, Uncle Craig and I were your age we looked upon weeds as a cash crop." "What, prey tell, is a cash crop?" asked Grange impatiently.

"A cash crop is", I explained, "the fat of the land, a gold mine or a windfall." "These weeds are not a gold mine," argued my nephew. I asked, "You are being paid to pull them, are you not?" "I better be!" he retorted. I laughed at Grange and tried to make clear to him that there would always be weeds, and a person could usually make a buck or two by helping people keep them at bay. I tried to explain that his father and I met people every day trying to discover a way to make a living or subsidize their income. Grange admitted that ever since he was a small boy he had seen a steady stream of artists and trades people selling or attempting to sell their product to us. "Indeed," I replied. "A lot of those people depend on us for, at least, a portion of their annual income, and we depend on them to supply our stores. "And your customers are the third leg to that three legged stool," Grange repeated by rote, “without any one of those supports we all fall down." "Good job boy," I said, "your father has taught you well.”

I reminded Grange his "cash crop" would supply him with plenty of spending money until he grew-up, became educated and found his way in life. Just then a small, dark cloud passed overhead, and a few meager raindrops fell upon Grange and his declining weed patch. Grange looked-up at the cloud and then at me, saying, "I suppose you have an analogy for those raindrops as well, don't you?" Just then we heard the telephone ring inside the trading post and a page from Toni saying the call was for me. "Those raindrops are pennies from Heaven my dear boy," I said turning on my heel and heading inside. "Those pennies will help sustain your cash crop and keep you in business for many years to come." "Great!” I heard Grange reply as I passed over the threshold and approached my own opportunity.

With Warm Regards
Barry, Steve, Priscilla and Danny; the team.

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