Monday, September 21, 2009

Self-serve Peace

Today is the International Day of Peace. If only every day were Peace Day. So, what are you going to do to be peaceful today?

I'm thinking that trust and respect are pretty reliable cornerstones upon which to build a peace-filled world. I discussed respect today with a hundred-or-so school kids from Spring Green, Wisconsin, and I asked for three examples of ways they can be respectful and promote peace.

"Do your homework," said a fourth-grader. And the other kids agreed that this would create some peace with teachers, parents, and themselves, because they just might learn something.

The next mischievous-looking kid said, "Don't chuck rocks at birds." Pretty much all were in support of refraining from chucking rocks at people, animals, windows, moving vehicles, (or an
ything for that matter) as a decent move towards respect.

The last suggestion was from a kindergartener
who simply said, "Type." After a bit of cross-examination she came out with, "Like on a computer." And the group decided that typing a letter to your grandma or typing a love note was a pretty good way to promote peace.

So we just need to round out these great suggestions for respect with an example of trust. And I found one -- a particularly impressive exercise in trust at a small farm on a gorgeous country road on the outskirts of Cumberland, WI.

Hustad's Sugar Bush make
s and sells 100% maple syrup. They've got a little gift shop right there on their property east of town. But when the Hustads aren't around, they have a self-serve window where you can grab some bottles or jugs of syrup and leave your check or cash.

I love this kind of trust. Just pull what you need off of the shelf and put your money in a slot in the wood. And, if you need it, there's a little plastic container with some one-dollar bills and some coins where you can make change.

I'm guessing that for the few times they've been ripped off, the Hustads have made up for it by the stream of customers who have left extra money just because they were impressed that they were shown respect enough to be trusted.

Wouldn't we all be better off with this kind of trust? I'm a strong believer that if you live a life of trust, you rarely -- if ever -- get burned. And even if you do, you can rest knowing that what goes around, comes around. Call it karma, call it what you will.

If only we all had the peace of mind and the trust of a Hustad.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stinky Feet Ice Cream...Mmmmm...

Mr. Stinky Feet has now been immortalized as a creamy frozen confection. I feel like I've officially "made it." The generous and creative folks at eCreamery in Omaha have made, not one, but two flavors of ice cream in my honor. Who wudda thunk?

The Hiccups and I performed at Dundee Day in Omaha last weekend. Dundee is a groovy historic neighborhood in Nebraska's largest city -- lots of beautiful
old homes and cool shops. It's a great fest and we had beautiful weather. Many thanks to the folks at Dundee Bank for sponsoring our show.

To top it all off, Abby and Becky at the boutique ice cream parlor eCreamery (on the corner of 50th and Underwood) decided to honor our appearance by offering "Ooey Gooey Stinky Feet" as their special flavor of the day. It's vanilla with swirls of gooey caramel and fudge. Then they sent me home with my very own pint of "Stinky Feet - Special Edition," which is a lemon sorbet with coconut shavings (non-dairy for my discerning constitution).

These ice cream goddesses do most of their business online at You've got to check out this site where you can design your very own custom flavor and have it packaged with a custom label and shipped to your favorite ice cream lover as a super-thoughtful gift. What a cool idea! They are sweet culinary geniuses.

With a name like "Stinky Feet", it's got to be tasty! Ask for it by name.