The price is right

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Pontiac Perspective  Peter J. Gauthier

Many years ago (like more than 50 years ago), when I was 10 years old, I went with my father to visit my uncle on his farm. Each fall, just after harvest, my father would visit this uncle to purchase various vegetables and meat to last us the entire winter.

Pontiac Perspective  Peter J. Gauthier

Many years ago (like more than 50 years ago), when I was 10 years old, I went with my father to visit my uncle on his farm. Each fall, just after harvest, my father would visit this uncle to purchase various vegetables and meat to last us the entire winter.
I enjoyed visiting my uncle because he had both horses and a tractor. I was curious as to which was better. My school friends said tractors were better because they were modern but I liked horses (and playing Cowboys and Indians).
I remember my dad   purchased 100 pounds of potatoes, a bushel basket of tomatoes and 25 pounds of dressed pork (in those days we were still on the old imperial system of measurements). My uncle measured and weighed each item carefully and marked down the exact weight in pounds and ounces. Later, in the living room of uncle’s house, he tallied up the cost – the total came to $9.93. My father agreed with the price and produced a $10 bill, telling my uncle not to worry about the change. However, uncle insisted on keeping his books straight and reached into his pockets for change. He was one penny short and to my father’s surprise, he rose and removed a penny from his son’s piggy bank, scribbled a little note, stuck it in the piggy bank, and gave my father the exact change.
After a cup of tea, my father got up to leave and thanked my uncle for the produce saying how fortunate he was to get good quality products at a         reasonable price. My uncle then asked my father to accompany him to the ice house where he had         several carcasses of dressed beef hanging.
“Here,” my uncle said, pulling down one of the carcasses, “this is for you.” “Ah, great” was my father’s reply. “This is exactly what I need to   complete our winter supplies. How much? Would $5.00 be reasonable?” my father asked. “No,” was my uncle’s reply. “What I sell, I sell for an exact and fair price; what I give, I give freely with no attachments nor expectations,” my uncle added. “But to be fair you could always use a little money, and God knows, you have certainly worked for it and deserve at least something,” insisted my father. “No, I’ve calculated what is a fair price for the goods I sell, and what           is extra I want to share   with my friends and              neighbours,” was my uncle’s final comment as we loaded everything onto my father’s truck.
I recollect my father describing how fair and honest a man my uncle was, wishing there were more people like him. I have tried to emulate my uncle in my personal dealings but sometimes I find it impossible – our world is just too consumer and price-oriented to consider real value as the basis of fair dealing.  Does the fact that tractors won over horses have anything to do with this?