In the landscaping industry, we drive around a lot. From the shop to jobs, the office, to pick up materials, to dump loads of debris, to check potentially new jobs. It’s a pretty constant thing. While driving around, I like to wave at people. Random people. People walking, sitting outside their homes, construction workers and even the occasional person in another vehicle.

Usually not just a slight “Hey, how you doing” salute either, but a full out hand spasticly motioning back and forth kind of wave. Undignified. Uncool. Think Forrest Gump from his boat waving to Lt. Dan on the dock (minus the abandonment of responsibilities). View Here

I wave that way because I’ve found it gets the best response. It seems that when you pursue the acknowledgement of another person, they don’t really want to be halfheartedly noticed. But when you go all out even just to say “Hi,” though it can be weird, they often smile. Sometimes even wave back. Not everyone does, but I’ve found that when I wave like that, instead of doing a normal wave or trying to be cool, the percentage of wave backs I get are astoundingly higher.

I like to do this, among other reasons, because I believe that when human beings acknowledge each other, that’s what living is. To look into another’s eyes and without speaking a word, say that you see them. That they exist and they matter. A thing as simple as a wave can do that. In a world of phones and cars and jobs, appointments and deadlines and bills, we forget. We are co-inhabiting a house, a city, a world with other human beings that matter just as much as we do. And they can have all those things going on too.

So waving to me is a small, friendly act of kindness that says,”I see you, and you matter.”

I went through the entire summer without writing a blog. Not intentionally, we just got busy. Now we’re fully immersed in Autumn and I can feel winter looming near. The seasons changed, as they always do every few months here in Wisconsin. Though I miss the warmth of summer, I’m thoroughly enjoying the colors of Autumn and the crisp air in my lungs. Fall clean-ups are in full swing. Trimming bushes, raking up leaves and aerating lawns. Grass mowing is coming to an abrupt end. We’ve learned here at Brant’s to stay on our toes and keep moving with the changes.

Similar to nature and the weather, our lives go through seasons and changes as well. Different employees have come and gone. I’ve worked here at Brant’s for about 5 years now. In many ways things feel better now than they’ve ever been. However, a couple months ago I was presented with an opportunity to work full time in a different field, one in which I truly love, music. This became one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make. As I processed and prayed, I found that what was most difficult about choosing to take this great opportunity wasn’t about money or risk/potential or even the work itself that I enjoyed. It was the people. The people I work with at Brant’s and the people we serve, that through the years I’ve developed relationships with. I realized that what was the hardest for me was the feeling of leaving them and the reality that I wouldn’t be seeing them often anymore.

I want to be clear that there was nothing about working for Brant’s that pushed me away or made me seek out other employment. I was offered an opportunity, that in the end, I felt like I had to go for. However I would’ve been happy to have kept working for Brant’s Lawn Care. I enjoyed a good, honest hard days work. I enjoyed being outside and getting dirty. I appreciated the trust, respect and flexibility that Brant had for me as an employee and friend. Most of all though, I cherished working with the guys. Digging in and getting a job done, together. And serving people with quality work. Hearing stories like the one a woman had told me recently in which the first time she came home to see her grass mowed she cried because she was so relieved that she didn’t have to do it anymore and how grateful she was for how good it looked.

To me, it has never been all about the money, or even the actual act of working itself; but the people I was doing it with and the people we were doing it for.

As I finish up my last month or so here at Brant’s Lawn Care, before I transition to the new job, I want you all to know it was an honor and a privilege to serve. All of you whom I got to serve with, and for all of you who allowed us to serve you. I am thankful for my time with you and it will be missed.

On my way to work this morning, after dropping my daughter off at school, I pulled up to a stop sign next to another car. As I glanced over I saw a little girl in the back seat. When she saw me, our eyes connected for a brief moment and her face lit up. She smiled and started waving at me, unashamedly. Full out spastic hand motioning back and forth. I smiled at her and did it back. Her mother in the front seat turned and saw our interaction and started smiling. As I pulled away from that stop sign, I was encouraged by that little girl because I thought, “She gets it.”

I feel very confident about the future for Brant’s Lawn Care and the people we serve because I know Brant. He gets it. And my hope is that you all do too.

Thank you all for reading these blogs. For sharing and caring.

Yours truly & sincerely,

Paul J. Winkler