Years ago, when my oldest two boys were around 12 and 14 they decided they wanted to earn some money. In our area of the country, back then, the main way to do that in the summer was walking beans or detasseling corn. They chose the latter and joined a detasseling crew.
They were up early every morning, lunch coolers in hand, rain coats and boots handy, and on the bus by 4:00 in the morning. The down side of this endeavor was they were too young to drive and my husband or I had to take them to the bus. Their morning was spent with dew running down their raincoats, into their boots and slogging through mud while pulling tassels out of each corn stalk. The afternoons were spent drying off in the oppressive heat, as they walked, pulling more tassels from every corn stalk. When they arrived back home the time was spent hosing the dried mud off their boots, coats, shoes, and clothes and hanging everything on the clothesline so they could be ready to repeat the process the next day.
When they finally got their first checks they were so excited! While looking them over the question came from one of them – “Who is FICA?” and the other one asked , “And why is he taking my money?” My husband and I laughed like crazy and told them they were now helping support their great grandparents and soon their grandparents. They were not convinced that was a great idea. At their age they could not conceive of ever being old enough to collect what FICA had taken.
Once again we are in tax season. As farmers, we needed to be done by the end of February. The detasseling story came up while my husband and I were preparing our “stuff” to take to the tax people. Sitting by the table, with the adding machine handy, we laid all our papers out and began to tally a years worth of small farm finances. We stretch this process out over a couple days as we don’t want to drive ourselves crazy all in one day. We usually wait for a bitter cold day or a very snowy day as we also don’t want to “waste” a nice day on paperwork. Every year we comment on the fact that all year we want to make money; but when tax time comes we want it to work out so we get money back. I guess there is just no satisfying us humans.
It is interesting to see what you have done and where you have been during the past year. It is amazing how much you can tell from where your checks and your money goes. It becomes quite easy to see where our priorities are; by following the money. Sometimes we feel pretty good about it and in the next breath feel somewhat convicted. Fortunately, we have this new year to do better.
I thought I would google to find a great quote on taxes and found so many it would make an entire post!
I don’t know if I can live on my income or not
— the government won’t let me try it.
~Bob Thaves, “Frank & Ernest”
It’s income tax time again, Americans:
time to gather up those receipts,
get out those tax forms,
sharpen up that pencil,
and stab yourself in the aorta.
There were so many I thought I would post the link. I hope you find them as entertaining as I did and may they brighten your day as you prepare your taxes this season.