Monday, February 6, 2012

A Win-Win Swap

To jar your memory a bit, remember Mart Martorell, the Dutch glassblower who mesmerized Astrid and me in December at the Düsseldorf Christmas market?  I left you hanging at my last V&V post when I said he asked me to take pictures for his new website.  In exchange, I asked him if he would please teach Astrid how to blow glass, after her longtime fascination of glass was totally piqued.

It happened!

This past Friday, in honor of our 2nd wedding anniversary here in the Netherlands, we drove to see Mart in his studio.  While maybe not the most romantic thing to do on such an occasion, we were both in heaven to have this celebratory weekend be the bartering time.  We were like teenagers on a great "high," enjoying every intoxicating minute.  We'll never forget it.

Not everything in life as we know it in this day and age can be bartered, of course.  However, I find the simple concept most appealing and wonder where it would/could take us if we did more of in the good ol' days.

Though I never thought of it like this, I actually grew up with the bartering concept in my early days of life in a preacher's home.  Dad had left a parish in Virginia when I was one year old to take on a mission church in a very poor town in SW Michigan.  I was the 3rd child of what later became 8 kids, all living on the income of a poor preacher in a poor parish.

Nobody called it bartering then, I'm sure, but if the egg lady couldn't tithe money to the church (which paid Dad's salary), she could at least give the preacher eggs for his family, right?  The farmer who had goats could give us goat's milk (which I hated!).  Other families could give us hand-me-down clothes that were almost as good as new.  My guess is there were also a lot of plumbing, electrical, and car services "donated" along the way...all as a way of paying the preacher.

In that regard, I have a rich heritage and wonder now what else is potential "fodder" for the bartering mill.  Not that everything has to be reciprocated, mind you.  Giving in and of itself, without seeking anything in return, is its own reward.  But you know what I mean....

Like Astrid stringing tennis rackets for her merchant lady friend in town and receiving discounts on clothes in return.

Whatever happened to the idea of swapping our strengths, abilities, and services with each other, instead of money, when it's a win-win stituation?  I bet many of you are already doing it or have done it in the past and have stories to tell. 


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