Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dr. Seuss & Connecting the Dots

This week, Dr. Seuss has come up twice in my life.  First, when I was teaching a graduate health economics course to students interested in medical services management, I mentioned the Lorax when talking about externalities.  It was not the first time I had done this.  For this particular class of students--yes.  But it is something I have used before.

More interestingly, last night I was reading The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins to my eight year old.  In all the times I had read this story before (although this is probably one of the Seuss stories I have read the least in 17+ years of being a parent), I had failed to note what Bartholomew was carrying into town when the King's caravan passed him.  He was carrying cranberries.

Perhaps I never noticed before because I have not read the book in the late fall when fresh cranberries are most typically available in the mid-Atlatnic states with my family buying a LOT of them.

We have already made between 4 and 6 recipes of cranberry sauce and plan to make more.

So, if Bartholomew were around today I could have done business with him--sort of.

If he were around today, the easiest way I could have done business with him would be if he brought his berries to a farmer's market and I actually managed to make it there.  While I don't often get to the farmer's markets in Baltimore city, I do like doing business this way.  It keeps the money local.  I feel confident that the person who is selling me the item truly cares about the work and the produce.  And, if I manage to return enough times, I get to know the person.

This is just like other local business interaction.  

And it is good.

The rest of the story has nothing to do with cranberries, although it would be fascinating to know what possessed Seuss to write that into the story.

Regardless, the fact that a type of fruit so near and dear to me at this time of year was in a book I read to my eight year old made a big impression--connecting the dots and nourishing the soul.  Always thinking of how things fit together and why and how I can take that set of ideas and make it into something bigger to help me understand the world.

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