Sunday, February 17, 2008


Yesterday I called my parents, at my sister's request. She said that my dad had gotten a letter from someone who had upset him. I thought "Oh great, this is exactly what I want to do. Call someone when they are upset."

The letter was from a man my age who lives with is wife and 2 small kids on a large piece of land which was a former corn field, not far from my parent's farm. This man, whom my father has mentored through the years, is well educated and from an affluent family. His parents bought the land he currently lives on. Although he has a BA from an ivy league college, he works as a carpenter. In this letter to my father he let him know that he had obtained a grant to do a study on the possibility of doing a large organic farm stand. He wondered, in his letter, when my father would be retiring? His grant is for $25,000, with the possibility of being matched by the state finance authority.

I heard this from my sister, and started thinking positively: My parents have had the farmstand for 21 years, and have been farming in the community for almost 40. They are well known, and my mother is well loved. Competition is good.

I made the call and pointed out all the above things to my dad. I also said that it was quite cowardly that the announcement and question posed was done by letter, and not by phone. I asked my dad what he was going to do, and he said he had to think about it. I suggested doing nothing until he returned home. I felt bad for my dad, and (once again) angry at people who are given things rather than earning it themselves.

My dad will be 70 this year, and my mom will be 65. They are not young, but not old either. I'm sure that facing the future is something they think of, but would like to on their own terms and not by someone else. I told my dad that if the circumstances were different, then I would be a partner in the farm now. If I could get a job working in a school library, then I would have my summers off. I would love to be working outside and not in an air conditioned basement. I'd love to expand the business slowly, adding items and making the stand they have more permanent. It brings up many issues to me though, especially about the idea of "going home." I've been "home" before, and in many ways it wasn't good. I saw how my dad treated my mom and I didn't like it. Yesterday's phone call also makes me wonder, is it my job to save my father's dreams?


Leucantha` said...

It is too bad the guy didn't talk to your dad in person, he might have been inclined to show the guy the ropes. (Or maybe not.) Competition isn't always the end of the world, especially if they don't have a superior product.

It is an interesting point you make about the continuation of the family business. Is it your dream too?

CBK said...

Does this prick's family name rhyme with "case"?

Hyperher said...

Leucantha: We (my husband and I)have talked about it, although have never sat down with my parents. I know my mom is pretty tired of certain aspects of the business, and she's given up a lot careerwise through the years at my dad's urging. If he passed away tomorrow she would probably do private duty nursing or hospice and be happy as Larry. I'm torn.

CBK: No, it's not that family although I know who you mean. Their business is not quite in direct competition as this proposed one.