I’ve always believed that one must be principled. You must have a doctrine, or set of personal rules that you follow in this life. One of my rules is that I don't take money from people who need my help or who need me to fire up a farm tractor and extricate them from a high centered predicament. Exceptions would be, it's the middle of the night, it's raining, I'm on a tractor with no cab, and some guy, (it's always a 'guy') is acting like I owe it to him and he holds out a $20 bill, I'll probably take it. But, generally, I don't accept anything because I'm thinking that maybe some day I'll be in the same position. You know, lost and stuck on a road I have no business being on (remember I still have dementia to go thru) and then I might be the one needing help. Also I would never, in a million years accept anything from someone local or a neighbor just for helping them out. After all, I do have my principles.A few years ago, in the spring, my neighbor called. They own a small acreage on the banks of the Missouri River. She had contracted with some landscapers out of Omaha to come up and work around her house. She instructed them not to back their tandem axle truck into the veggie garden because the ground in the garden was very soft. They did anyway and found out she was right.She called me on the phone, "Could you come over and pull them out?” “It will take a big tractor.”Well my big tractors were also buried; as in buried deep in my machine sheds so I got on my John Deere 4020. An old reliable, no cab, but big enough to do the job I thought. Turns out it was just barely big enough to do the job. After digging the 4020 down a few times I finally pulled them out and they went on their way back to Omaha. My neighbor wanted to pay me. It was nice of her to offer but an idea that I of course scoffed at as I put the tractor in gear. Remember, I do have my principles.
Then she yelled over the noise of my tractor, “Wait, I've got something you might like.” Before I could stop her she ran inside and when she reemerged carrying a box, I thought, 'oh good', fruit cake. She opened the box and there lay, in all their glory, 6 frozen Omaha Steaks, fillet mignon's to be exact.Remember I have a hard and fast rule about not accepting gratuities from neighbors.Well I had to hold the steaks on the tractors platform with my feet while I drove the 2 miles back home.I should have mentioned that I have more than one principle.
~Cliffs Note~ this is from the current edition of the Midwest Producer Magazine.