Thursday, November 27, 2008
A Thanksgiving Story - Oregon Style
It looks like an ordinary working farm but something special happened here this past October. The farm manager, Roger Detering, with grace and goodwill, silenced the cynical curmudgeon I've been working to perfect and sidelined her for at least another year. More importantly, he treated the children and families of his community, many of whom are new to this country and don't have a lot of anything, to a month long Halloween party. Ice cream, apple crisp, balloons, pumpkins and hay rides - free every Saturday and Sunday to all who came. In past years the Deterings set aside one Saturday for their party. What you have to know is that this has been a rough year for Oregon farmers. They've had to deal with crop failures, poor yields and an economy that works against small farmers. In the midst of this Roger was quoted as saying "...there are more important things than money." And you know what? He walked the walk and put his money where his mouth was. I hope he got to see the absolute delight on the face of a tiny Hispanic girl, every bit as beautiful as she thought she was, prancing as Belle in a costume made, of course, by Mom or the Asian toddler dressed as a Power Ranger who hugged his balloon so hard it popped. I also hope he saw the families, some three generations deep, who sat at his tables enjoying each other's company and the generosity of the day. We often miss simple acts of kindness because we don't look hard enough to find them. There are probably thousands of Roger Deterings in this wonderful country of ours, but he's the one I know - the one who touched me - and I want to thank him, and by extension the others like him, for what he did. Blessings, Roger. Have a wonderful holiday.