Every year at Christmas I buy something for the trash guys who pick up our garbage. Then, on the last garbage day before the holidays, my boys run a brightly wrapped package out to the road in the morning and set it on top the garbage can with a card that says, Merry Christmas!
When the truck pulls up, we peek outside to watch their reaction. Because different companies win the contract each year it's never the same crew, although there are some things that never change.
For instance, the look on my kids' faces as they recognize (without being told) that they are showing respect where respect is due. And then there's the trash man when he grabs the parcel and turns it this way and that, frowning a little before a smile slowly begins to creep across his face.
Yesterday, I left a list on my desk of gifts I had yet to buy and when my kids got home from school one of them must have read it, because last night I noticed someone had scribbled, Mom, don't forget the trash man! at the bottom of the list.