One of the many pleasures of where we live is the ability to see the night sky. In Chicago and the suburbs, we rarely had the chance to experience the stars from our own backyard or porch. We are lucky enough that we can step out our front door now and see amazing constellations and meteor showers.Our Farm Pole light is the only light on the property that lets people passing by at night know that there is farm off the road.
The light is not extremely bright but gives off just enough to guide you to the barns. I hate to admit this, but as an adult, I am still terrified of the dark! I love being able to see the night sky, but I hate being outside in the dark by myself. So, I love this farm pole light. It is my adult version of a night light. My husband on the other hand – much braver than I – wishes it did not exist. He loves that we live in the country and embraces the darkness.
Well, one night, he got his wish. The damn thing did not turn on when the sun set! We were in complete darkness! Ahhhhhhhh! Joe was thrilled but I was not! I immediately started on the mission of getting the light bulb changed.
How hard could that be? Well, let me tell you: it’s extremely difficult! The light is as high as a street light so we certainly didn’t have a ladder high enough to get up there. I looked at buying one, but to get a ladder that big was going to be a very costly purchase.
So, I started by calling the electric company. They were very friendly and did not think I was crazy for not being able to change it myself. They offered to come on out and replace the bulb for us for $150. What! No Way! That seemed outrageous to me! The light bulb was only about $20! There was no way I could convince myself to pay that kind of money to change a light bulb. I wasn’t sure what to do next.
Then, one Saturday afternoon our neighbor stopped by. I figured, he has a farm and a yard light, I’ll ask him how he changes his. He replied, “I’ve never had to change it before, we just got it last year.”
Well, there goes my last hope, I thought.
Then he asks if I know how to bake. The answer is “not really,” and that’s what I told him. As is so often the case when speaking with my neighbor, what seems like a non sequitur turns out to be relevant. He informed me he has has a friend who is an electrician and the guy was coming out the next day. He said he’d probably change the light for “some chocolate chip cookies.”
I’m thinking to myself, “he can’t be serious, can he?”But the next morning I called his friend he confirmed the estimate: A bag of cookies.
I put them in a ziplock bag and a cooler out front by the garage… and I stuck some cash in too. Ironically, while $150 seemed like too much to change a light bulb, a couple of my crappy cookies didn’t seem like enough.
While at work the next day I get a phone call from the guy who was there to change our light bulb.
“You weren’t kidding about that being high up there! My ladder wouldn’t reach, I tried to find your neighbor, hoping I could put my ladder in his front loader and he could lift me up there to change it, but he was busy out in the fields.”
Good grief! That sounded like too much trouble and not safe just to change a light bulb! I told him not to worry about it, but he insisted he’d come out the next day and get it done. I felt so terrible, this nice guy going through all this trouble and getting paid in cookies. Yikes! I’d leave more money but I didn’t want to insult him. We’ve learned out here that when someone strikes a deal, that is the deal.
So, Tuesday, as I’m driving home, he calls me and says, “I lucked out, the boom truck needed to go in for maintenance, so I snuck over to your place and changed that light bulb before taking it in for service!”
Oh thank goodness!! I was thrilled! He insisted my cookies were delicious and that was payment enough for him. I was so excited to come home and have my light back on!
Another great example of good people and great neighbors!