- the story behind
My mother´s mother owned land in a small village in the southwest of Germany. The
village is located in a plain west of the River Rhine and in a distance you see the middle-range mountains covered by wonderful forests full of deer. As the soil is fertile and the climate is
subtropical already the Roman soldiers had grown wine, fruit and vegetables here. The land has seen many wars. My grandmother had seen two of them, World War I in her twenties and World War II as
a married adult woman with seven kids. She had lost no son in the war but her husband and one of her beloved daughters died during the war because there was no appropriate medical care available
which could have saved their lives.
Grandmother did not fit into that sweet-romantic scheme of a grandmother at all. She was a strong and kind of a tough woman. She ruled the entire family and took care for everyone´s survival. Her sons and sons-in-law had found okay-paid work after their return from camps of prisoners of wars in the 1950ies. In the late afternoons after their returning from their daily work and on Saturdays they changed clothes and went to take care of the orchards, the vineyards and the fields with fruits and asparagus. This was not particularly what we nowadays would call an easy life, but it was a life where everyone had enough and even a bit more than they needed and there was a lot of joking and laughter on the fields. During the season they sold most of the harvested goods to the local retail market which belonged to the Association of the farmers of the area. The gained money was another basis of the entire family´s income.
The market was located in a big hall close to the railway station. As many other men too, my uncle and my father drew the fruits and vegetables on a wheel barrow all the way from the fields though the entire village. Other than to other men they did not go directly to the market but they took a detour and stopped by at grandmother´s before they went on to the market hall where they unloaded the wooden boxes at one of the ramps. One of the coworkers of the market weighted the boxes, calculated the net-volume of the content, inspected the groceries, and classified the quality–under discussions of course, because a higher classification meant more money. On two sheets of paper he then noted the delivered net-volume and put a stamp with the number of the rated class on each of them. One was put on the boxes which then disappeared in the hall filled with the unforgettable scent of all the wonderful goods. With the other my uncle went to the cashier and cashed out. Off they went back to grandmother´s house where she distributed the money onto the virtual account of the family members. But why did they stop on their way to the market by at grandmother´s house?
They did so because grandmother had clearly and firmly told them to do so and what she
did during the stop was something both men did not like at all. She would come into the yard and not praise the men for their hard work. She would instead inspect the cherries, the raspberries,
the strawberries’ or what was in the boxes on that day and pick out those which were low class as well as many of the best. “The low-class is for us cooking jam. We don’t sell these to
Then she would pick out a lot of the best under the angry eyes of my uncle. Some of those she ate right away and she always commented this with a big smile:
”What is good for others is good for me in any case! What is good for me is good for others!”
Over the years she had found out all the tricks the men had tried to hide the best and
high class fruits and vegetables on the wheel-barrow. And over the time the men – hardworking and good men – had started to enjoy this as a game which obviously delighted her grandly.
Grandmother had a hard time when the regulations of the European Economic Community started to force farmers to sell their goods on the market for a fixed but granted price, and destroyed the goods afterwards in a “safe”-guarded area behind the hall in order to keep the price up. “This cannot be right. It stinks!” was her only comment.
Let´s come back to the present. Times have changed since then and grandmothers would
not understand most of what has changed: new technologies, AI, iphones etc. But they would still understand the essence and they could make clear judgements and statements about the
So: What if we allowed for OUR LAST SEVEN GRANDMAOTHERS´S WISDOM to decide and comment on the nowadays situation?
What would they say to this “hit and run business” - for instance in the field of medical care? What would they tell those sons who like to impose rules on others in order to take out most for themselves without regarding the interests of the others? How would they comment on the fact that 40% unusable masks out of 2 billion are delivered to others who need them in the middle of a pandemic crisis? What is their comment on others holding back samples to be inspected before buy or payments after delivery? How would they comment on people disrespecting the interests of others? Would they recommend following some who are interested in a trade war whilst we know that there is enough for all and even much more than that?
WHAT IS GOOD FOR OTHERS IS GOOD FOR ME. AND
WHAT IS GOOD FOR ME IS GOOD FOR OTHERS.
That’s the core of how we do what we do. And we are – very alike our grandmothers tough realists speaking and acting from the heart to the heart of the matter. Means: We choose to work with people who deliberately intend to follow this credo as well. And to share this credo is a simple decision. The rest, important as it is, are details to be solved in fairness and with creativity.
So: What do YOU choose?
This or this?
Fotos: courtesy of Ryan McGuire and Hans Braxmeier and Ruediger Fleisch