Farmer John Writes: Thank You and a Story about the Earth
I am sending the warmest thank you for the outpourings of love and support from so many shareholders after my announcement of the season’s early closing. It was most gratifying and moving to receive so many messages of solidarity with the farm.
Also, a Big Thank You to our Community Coordinator, Denise
I am also offering a note of deep appreciation for Denise Glasenapp, our Community Coordinator. Denise did a wonderful job serving as the interface between the farm and our shareholders this season, graciously fielding the huge array of inquiries that the farm receives. Haidy and I are grateful to have such a warm, talented and willing helper in Denise.
A Story About the Earth
I recently thought of a moment that, in hindsight I find amusing, but at the time, I was quite earnest about it. I wanted to share the little story with you earlier, but it seemed incongruous with the somber announcement about the early end to our season. Now that this announcement is behind us, here is the story. (Note about the story: it took place in 2006. We now pay our stellar machinery operators much more than what is noted below.)
You Helped Your Dad
It was 2006. I was in a four-door sedan in San Francisco.
I would not have identified the car as a four-door sedan, except that a person came up to my travel partner Lesley Littlefield and me with a message: “Go to the hallway on the other side of the reception hall. Take a right into the hallway. Go to the first open door on the left. Go through that door and into the four-door sedan. The rear door of the sedan will be open for you.”
We were relieved to get the instructions. Al Gore’s presentation on global warming had just ended, and a mob of people were clustering around Al, stroking his suit jacket, fondling his tie (really, that’s what I think I saw), and asking for photos with him. Lesley and I were huddled in a corner of the pavilion’s huge reception hall, waiting for instructions–wondering if we would get instructions. We were supposed to spend the rest of the morning with Al, and then he would introduce the film about Angelic Organics and my life The Real Dirt on Farmer John at the Castro Theater Movie Palace that afternoon.
Lesley and I made our way past Al and the doting crowd and turned right into the wide hallway. It was lined with people waiting to wish Al well, as they somehow seemed to know that soon Al, too, would be walking down the hallway, turning left and entering the four-door sedan.
We sat in the sedan, waiting. I wondered if the people in the hallway wondered why Lesley and I were in the car and they weren’t. I wondered why they hadn’t tried to jump into the car with us.
Al finally got into the car. He enthusiastically greeted Lesley and me.
Al’s driver guided the sedan onto Castro Street.
“Al,” I said, “How can you stand all those people fawning on you and doting like that?”
He turned to me and smiled broadly, “Oh, I just love it.”
“That’s good,” I said, “It would be tough to bear if you didn’t love it.”
“Al,” I said, “I know you love your farm and that you helped your dad a lot on the farm when you were growing up. But really, you don’t farm anymore. You aren’t close to farming. I think that’s a shame, with all that interest you have in the planet.
“I’ve been thinking, how about if you come out to my farm for a few days and run equipment? I think it would do you good to get back in touch with farming. I’d make sure that no one would know you were there so you wouldn’t get mobbed. You could just run a tractor in peace. If you want to get mobbed, I guess I could arrange that, too.”
“How much do you pay?”
“Well, I normally pay $11 per hour for someone to run my machinery. But, because it’s you and because it seems so important that you re-visit the earth like that, I’d pay you $14 per hour. I don’t offer that lightly, because that’s a lot of money for the farm to come up with, but I would do it for you.”
Al didn’t say anything. He just turned towards the front of the four-door and looked forward.
Maybe he’s still mulling it over.