Matt's Reporter Blog

“Pumpkin” flavor: It’s like Fall in a cup.

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Matt White

Evidently, everyone loves fall. Everyone. So much so that it’s become a cliche of sorts, what with autumn-colored everything and pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING dominating coffee shops, breweries and even fast food chains – there’s no longer room at the table for any of the other seasons now that pumpkins are in season.
Nowadays, it seems that it can’t be fall – or autumn, whichever you prefer – without pumpkins. I don’t get it.
Buy why the pumpkin? I mean – isn’t it really just a big ugly squash that no one knew what to do with at one point?
When I was a kid, we used the bulbous wrinkly orbs for two things only: carving and smashing. Of course, there was pumpkin pie… but we all know pumpkin pie is dead last in the lineup of “actual” pies. Apple, blueberry, banana-upside-down—you know, FRUIT pies; that’s where it’s at.
The Pumpkin pie: It’s a vegetable pie, really. A mashed–up vegetable flesh scraped from the head of a jack-o-lantern. Practically a chicken pot-pie.
I have questions.
1) How did pumpkin “flavor” become so dang popular?
2) Is there some secret marketing collaborative hell bent on selling useless produce?
3) Lastly, why not let acorn, zucchini or butternut have a shot at fame?
It can’t possibly be because pumpkin won the garden beauty contest of 1533. Let’s face it, they’re all pretty ugly.
Try imagining the scene of the first human that attempted to eat a pumpkin. That person was either very curious and daring, or very hungry—you can’t just crack open a pumpkin and start munching away.No, the road to savoring this beast is a labor of love… and spices. And pounds of sugar.
Plain cooked pumpkin tastes as close to mud as I’d like admit. It is a bland, slimy and somehow chalky mush that you HAVE to add at least a half dozen other ingredients to in order to be made palatable.
And then, after a few eggs of a chicken are tossed into the mix, it has to be cooked down to reduce for hours. Who thought of this?
Only then do we get a product that UGG-Schlepping teens and droves of force-caffeinated soccer moms refer to as “Pumpkin Flavor” anything.
But, the harsh reality is that we should just call it a “Fall Flavored” cappuccino and be done with it.
I hate the taste of actual pumpkin, but I do love me an occasional molten-lava-hot paper cup of pumpkin “flavored” liquid.
It’s like fall in a cup. Mmm, delicious.

Like a Snow Day in May. (yeah, that’s a thing)

Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Matt White

My mobile phone is perpetually inundated with notifications, voice-mails, emails, twitter alerts and on and on… So much so that it sometimes takes a day or two to filter through them all and bring myself up to date on everything that’s happening around me.
To my surprise, this week I received an automated message from the Norwich City School Superintendent kindly reminding us to go vote on the budget, before dropping the bomb.
Apparently, last winter wasn’t harsh enough. Somehow NCSD—and some others around the county—ended the snow season with one of those prized snow days to spare. Whomever the powers-that-be decided that students would get an extra day off, extending their Memorial Day Weekend into Tuesday, you know… that day we all have to be back on the books.
That being said, I’m Jealous.
In my entire career as a student in the NCSD system, never did we receive an extra day off.
In fact I recall that Dr. Bob Cleavland would have us in school when even the “walkers” would need to hitch a ride with a plow truck to make it in sans tardy. Uphill, both ways.
Okay, so maybe I’m not “jealous,” but the notion of a fair-weather freebie does have me reflecting a bit on priorities, and I’m having trouble tacking down how we can afford to give students a day off when the list of mandates and nonsensical common core standards continue to increase.
So, while I’m at work on Tuesday, I’ll be sure to wish my kids in daycare a happy and productive “snow day” as I push through my “freebie,” cause all that scratch is going to the sitter.

follow me on twitter: @evesunmatt

A place in the Sun.

Thursday, January 8th, 2015
Matt White

It’s been a ridiculously cold week here in Chenango County to say the least. Despite windchills hovering on the negative side of the mercury, things have been steadily heating up in terms of deadline pressure for all of us here at the Evening Sun as we place finishing touches on 2015′s Progress Chenango edition—due to hit shelves in just a few short weeks.
As a part of that extra workload, I toured the Raymond facility in Greene for the first time ever on Wednesday. What an experience.
As if the sheer size plant wasn’t deceiving from the glimpse you catch of it on route 12 at 55 mph, the level of morale, integrity and quality was equally fascinating.
I’ve worked in several fabrication shops, factories, ect. over the years— let me tell you—those were all small-time compared to what Raymond has going on. Moreover, each of the 1,600-plus employees that work there all seem to be happy and proud to be a part of the Raymond family.
And why wouldn’t they?
I’m willing to bet that there are very few local companies—small or large—that have made as deep of an impact on their particular industry as Raymond has had in the field of material handling. Raymond invented, patented and made the pallet an industry standard three years after the invention of the first pallet jack… all right here in Chenango County, NY… in the tiny Village of Greene.
Consider this. Every single item you have touched today has traveled through a chain of distribution that is based upon pallets invented in Greene. Those simple wooden pallets are basically the DNA of commerce. Tractor trailers that you see driving down the road were designed around the pallet. 100 percent of anything you can buy off a shelf in a store came in through the receiving door on a pallet —more often than not— moved out of a trailer by a Raymond fork truck designed, manufactured and assembled from the ground-up in Chenango County.

The pride runs deep there, and that’s something I can definitely  get behind.
Needless to say, I’m excited to write at least one of my Progress stories.
Also of notable mention this week, I received confirmation earlier today that  the Chenango United Way has reached their $421,000 goal. What an amazing feat!.
For a bit there it seemed as if the organization would only top 85 percent of that goal, but with a healthy combination of tenacity on the parts of Victoria Mitchell and Elizabeth Monaco, and the generous giving spirit of Chenango county citizenry — it all worked out in the end. Great job ladies!
With that, I need to get to work.

Here’s to a great 2015, folks!

A smoke-screen of progress, or the real deal? You decide.

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Matt White

Progress is great, Especially when economic progress takes hold right here in the heart of Chenango County. If you were to take a look back at a snapshot of our beloved Route 12 corridor say 20 or even 10 years ago, it’s easy to see that things have dramatically changed in our ever-evolving bit of small town USA.
Back when Burger King was Carrol’s, and the Great American was in the South Plaza there was only one shopping center south of the city, an area which now hosts several big-box retailers and three or four shopping plazas for your consumption pleasure.
In the next month or so, the Town of Norwich will become home to two more brick and mortar businesses that are new to our area, both of which are in the process of developing and building those locations from the ground-up.
As I sat at the traffic light in between two shopping plazas with – empty storefronts in each, I couldn’t help but wonder why those locations were overlooked by developers scouting-out prime retail space.
I was confronted by the fact that for some time now, both of those plaza’s, emblazoned with “AVAILABLE” banners have historically served our community – but have nonetheless been dealt the short shrift in favor of new construction.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not one for conserving just any old building, but one site in particular – which I can only assume will be razed shortly after this publication – once housed several residential apartments.
It already possessed a potential profit return in an economy so unwilling to offer mortgages to home buyers. To put it bluntly, there aren’t enough rental properties in Chenango County, and that’s especially the in the case of the City of Norwich. So why would tear down an apartment building to toss up what I’m told will be another auto parts store… in front of an auto parts store—one-half mile down the street from yet another auto parts store?
I am in no way trying to get in the way of business, nor am I condemning economical development to our largely sagging local market – but I am questioning the common sense that was put to task in making these types of decisions. Not just the market analysis, or need for such retail additions in our community, but the rationale behind brushing existing retail space aside.
It’s my feeling that businesses should be both interested and concerned with the long-term effects that their developments and plans have on the local livelihood, and that these concerns should be taken into consideration when the plans are drawn up and laid out.
Likewise, local officials involved with green-lighting PILOT programs and tax write-offs to potential businesses looking for a new opportunity in our hometown should put the screws to developers when they come to town, because—lets face it—who wants to see another new-old empty storefront in Chenango?
Honestly, wouldn’t it have made more sense to utilize one of the several existing structures for a mattress outlet or chain auto parts store and preserve the much-needed affordable housing?
How would that not have been a win-win?
Developers would undoubtedly balk that it would be too costly to update those older locations to meet their specifications, but as a former tradesman I beg to differ.
Even if building new cost “them” less, I’ve got a feeling that it will be us taxpayers footing the bill if or when the new site goes belly-up.
I could be wrong, but what if I’m right?
Food for thought.

A rant, bad drivers and a tip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Matt White

I love to drive; It probably should be my profession. Behind the wheel is the one place I can go and have some adequate level of peace; but every so often it’s also the very place where I exhibit the most rage.
I’m not alone, either.
Now, I’m not the “road rage” type, but no matter where you live, I think it’s safe to say you have encountered another driver and thought “what the bleep is wrong with this bleeper.” (immediate apologies if you’ve thought that about my driving).
In my many years on the road, I’ve discovered that good music, a nice sounding horn, a sunroof, and two fingers help keep my rage in check.
An any rate, getting cut off make me especially testy. I don’t understand it at all, and more than likely never will.
We’ve all been there, but for whatever reason I seem to be a magnet for drivers how would like nothing more than to be tee-boned.
Lately I’ve been cut A-LOT. After the initial usual expletives, I find myself asking “why would you do that, what’s wrong with you?” Of course my mind wants to surmise that that the perpetrator is just a jerk – but that can’t always be the case, right? Maybe that minivan with the M.A.D.D. Bumper sticker is a mother late picking up her three kids from soccer practice. Perhaps that guy in the orange Mustang is a surgeon delivering a donated heart to a baby somewhere.
Then again, maybe those folks are just inconsiderate cogs in the rat-race machine trying to get “theirs” before everyone else.
I’ll be driving along observing the posted speed limit, no one behind me and a fellow narrow-minded motorist will dart out ahead of me two seconds before I’m about to pass them.
As a result, I am forced to abruptly slam on my brakes and weave my car in the opposite direction in an effort to avoid colliding with them.
My mind wanders once in a while to a conclusion where the hands of fate and laws of physics are allowed to run rampant – like if I didn’t brake hard and swerve right to avoid a collision.
But car accidents are never good for anyone; there’ll never be a plus side or silver lining to a fender-bender, only headaches and hassle with the police, gawkers and insurances adjusters, if we’re very lucky.
If roads were wide open and nobody else used them, driving would be just as brilliant as the car ads on TV portray. Can you imagine?
What if we all had the Nuremberg ring at our disposal like the chaps across the pond on Top Gear?
What if we could had the freedom to try and get our cars up to their top speed with no recourse?
How much less stress would we endure if we could own the road and travel at our own pace. Now I’m just talking nonsense.
Unfortunately, reality is nothing like television. I live in a village…in a 15 m.p.h. School Zone.
For now I’ll have to share public roads, covered with potholes and packed with thousands of bad drivers, just like you… so we might as well make the best of it.
Let’s try and show some care and respect out there; and take the high road when you can.

A Verge

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Matt White

The cool-air days of Autumn are slowly beginning to weave their way into the forecast as the long, hot days of summer become indelibly out numbered. This is this time of year when throughout my life I find myself in concious awe of the speed of life have looked back upon the summer that was in reflection.
Fall is definitely my favorite season. The fruits of our labor are easily measured, the kids are returning to school and with any luck; the earth’s bounty is full and ripe for harvest in a short time to come.
But not yet.
The day that it all really starts to sink in is always the same for me – and it’s rapidly approaching. For me, the day after the Chenango Blues Fest wraps up is that threshold; the end of yet another summer.
Over the past 22 years, we as a community have been blessed with a special little thing that many of us hold dear and close to our hearts. We know somewhere deep inside that with the exit stage left of the final act, life will assuredly return to “normal.”
I know that I’m not the only one. I once thought that I was the only one who felt that way, but as I’ve grown older and talked to others who’ve waxed nostalgic about out beloved hometown hoedown, it becomes clear that many of my friends and friends that have become family share the same sentiment.
I remember going to my first Blues fest in 1995 when the festival was all of three years of age, I was barely 14.
At the time I had no idea who Lucky Peterson and Kenny Neal were, but once exposed to their brand of blues – Especially Neals ridiculously smooth telecaster work – I was on the hook.
That show enlightened me to an entire genre of music and culture I’d never heard.
I remember a short time later having the opportunity to see B.B. King very up close at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY as part of a school trip – planned very last minute. I sat with life long buddy James Brady on the bus ride up. I remember the two of us thinking aloud “We’re in the same room with a Legend” as we ogled over his signature story-laden adventures put to sweet, sweet guitar riffs once at the show.
I was nearly booted out for taking photographs at the no-flash show. Those were the days.
For me, that’s the magical power that music possesses. For whatever reason, – especially in the Fall – I’m able to be transported back 10, 15 or 20 years to a precise moment; and what more is life than a series of intertwined moments?

Summer’s still here for the time being. Lets get out there and make some moments this weekend.

A little farewell

Friday, August 8th, 2014
Matt White

Every once in a while we’re blessed with the opportunity to meet someone destined for bigger and brighter things. Usually, you’re instantly aware that these people are special and are meant for making forward progress, not to linger. If you are fortunate enough, you might end up sharing a desk and working next to them for a period, and have the joy of getting to know their intricate and kind personalty. This is one of the few genuine joys of the human condition.
My short-time co-worker and now friend Samantha Gillette is one of those few people.
What Sam lacked in experience only due to her age she possessed tenfold in her unequivocal tenacity to learn, work ethic and love of the profession that is taking her to grad school.
I learned from Sam that the world isn’t going to hell in a hand basket after all. She proved that there is indeed hope for the generations that follow behind us, and her indiscriminate objectivity is most likely her most powerful merit.
Amid our often vivacious morning staff meetings, on more than one occasion we (those of us hardened by life’s lessons) jokingly referred to the novelty Sam’s ambition by mouthing “Her spirit hasn’t been broken yet;” but that statement obviously doesn’t apply. I don’t believe that Sam’s sprit can ever be truly broken; she is as strong as she is sincere – requisites most professional writers hone over leather in time, essentials she has already mastered.
Sam is an adept writer and will, without a doubt, make an excellent journalist.
I’m certain that everyone here in the office that had the chance to read and write along side Sam will remember the good times and challenging days we spent over our little publication when we come across her name in the byline of one of the “big ones” or in the international news.
Congratulations on your advancement. Keep doing good things. Keep in touch.

A Generation of “Stuff”

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Matt White

BY MATTHEW WHITE

Evesun Staff Writer

I was a humble child – not because my Dad wanted me to be and certainly not because I wanted to be – because I grew up in the eighties.
In the eighties, technology was indispensable and expensive. Not the Vain, “I must have the next generation of iPhone TODAY!” expensive; just in general due to their proximity to innovation, something we egregiously take for granted today.
There was no such thing as “disposable” in the household that I grew up in. My grandmother would use paper towels then drape them over the dish rack to dry them like some folks do with cotton terrycloth hand towels. Likewise, zip-lock bags were rinsed out and left to dry for re-use, and plastic silverware was washed and put back into the box for the next gathering; a custom which I never really understood – why not just use silverware?
The children of today – including my own gaggle – live in a disposable, plastic world. They’ve grown up knowing nothing different. To them, there is no real value in these gadgets much more than two weeks after they get it, even if after pining for weeks or months – only to be distracted by the next best thing that comes along. Now, it seems we adults are no different. We ogle over glossy black gadgets that allegedly make out lives simpler, if not better.
I assume that the clever ways of the marketing think tanks made it impossible for us to pin-point exactly then this trend started, a kind of absurd “Jedi mind trick” we “consumers” are all under the influence of, so that we’re unable to recall waaay back when things that  lasted more than a year was “a thing.”
I applaud folks who possess the powers of “tech abstention.” Those who have the ability to bypass the system of cyclical obsolescence. My buddy Shawn Magrath is one such super-human. He has managed to find a way to wade through the swampy jungles of the smart phone marketers, ad campaigns and enticing offers.
Shawn has a squeaky old flip-phone (gasp!) that he has been toting around for roughly the past five years, which is pretty amazing considering that it itself is made of cross-linked Chinese polymer and screws no doubt made from recycled sardine cans.
So, I envy Shawn; he’s younger than I and has never used a so-called “smart phone” – yet, Shawn has a masters degree in Educational Technology. He must know something the rest of us do not. Go figure.
Personally, I’m saddened that society has chosen the path of instant gratification and pacification over being able to cherish and hold onto things. We’ve become so addicted to life in the fast lane that we need everything instantly, even if it means we don’t physically own anything in the end.
An example of analog life trumping the digital daze  is obvious when my children marvel over our family photo albums. There was a time in my life when I would take a dozen rolls of film to the drug store for developing. And I was forced to wait. Looking back, the wait made the experience that much more pleasurable… even if the pictures were horribly composed; the experience was almost as rewarding simply because I had four or five decent prints (or 10 if I checked the “doubles” box) out of the 24 frames I shot. I could tack them to a wall or tape them to the inside of my locker: or manage to save a few and place them in a proper photo album in my mid-twenties from my kids to flip through ten years later.

Twenty years ago, when I was a barely a teenager, a quality camera was costly – something you cherished, almost having magical properties. Moreover, a phone was a phone. It was a box that was tethered to a wall that you had to stand next to in order to use it. Call waiting, party lines and answering “machines” we’re all innovations that we were so glad that we had, and thought would be around forever. Those days are long gone, and I know that I’m romanticizing clunky tech a bit, but didn’t we have more of a life back then?

Nowadays, I take a picture with my phone and send it to Facebook so that I can reference it in the future on an electrified screen on a whim. You call it convenient, I call it the cheap equivalent.
I’m no hero, I’ve been duped into the same manner of thinking, just as you have. My purchase of the ever-popular Keurig coffee machine about two years ago is evidence. I persuaded myself into it – 70 percent because the box said it was a time-saver, 30 percent because I thought it was a legitimately good idea. I mean, why brew a whole pot?… in this heat?
It took me a year to become completely disgusted with the idea of throwing a plastic k-cup (or two, in my case – I like strong coffee) in the trash for one single cup of coffee. Not to it mention it tastes like dirty water. Have you ever tried filling a thermos with coffee from a Keurig? – if there’s close second for Einstein’s definition of insanity, picture that and then cast your vote.

I went back to the trusty, seasoned Bunn, which makes 12 cups – or one thermos plus a cup for the road –  in three minutes without fail.
I used to believe that I wanted all the coolest and fanciest things as an adult because I didn’t have many of those things growing up – but the more I think about it, the less I agree with that sentiment.
Midway through my life, I’m beginning to understand that less is more and the most beautiful things are drenched in simplicity.
Now onto the real struggle – convincing my kids (who know no other way) to appreciate this discovery.
Wish me luck.

Hey look!, a soapbox, Just for me!

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Matt White

I’ve heard and seen with my own two eyes the cries from three distinct divisions of Americans recently. All equally polarized are the Left, the Right and lastly everyone else who is just plain fed up with the other other two – who are appeased with the status quo, business-as-usual handling of government and big businesses that perpetuate indignation amongst our middle class.
What I find most grave and appalling are those who disagree with the president so much that they feel it best if he just resign or be ousted in some sort of coup; as if the people of the United States would all be in some magical respite of prosperity if not for the presence of just that one individual.
I’m afraid I have some very troubling news for these folks, none of that is ever going to happen.
And here’s why: Americans don’t have it in them, plain and simple. The number of Americans who give a damn about anything are far outnumbered by those who just plain don’t care to pay attention.
For the naysayers, it’s much easier and convenient  to spin the President as a perpetrator of our strife, after all, he took the job as whipping boy, right?
The reality is, Mr. Obama isn’t what caused this mess… and you’d be a blind fool to not acknowledge that we, as Americans, have a pretty bad track record of blaming the next guy when he arrives at the White House in this country.
I’ll genuinely admit that I’m not happy with the successes that Obama forecast ahead of his tenure, and it’s easy to see that a majority of his original campaign supporters have long since fallen aside the bandwagon for lackluster performances in both his first and second terms – but the fact is, we were punch-drunk on his 2008 campaign kool-aid for a reason: things were really, really bad.
Mainstream Americans are the definition of fickle. So easily we tend to forget where we came from and how closely we were to catastrophe. In 2008 before Mr. Obama even took his oath we faced the single most detrimental economic recession this side of the stock market crash of 1929. My entire education and life was painted with pictures of how horrible it was to live through the depression of 1929, and many of the frugal quirks I have today were forged and handed down by what my father taught me, which was handed down from his parent’s experience through the great depression.
I’m just saying, let us not forget that Mr. Obama had a huge economic black hole dropped into his lap the day he took office.
Let’s likewise not forget the mess in Afghanistan and Iraq that was tossed to the Obama administration like a hot potato. Former Vice President Cheney is pretty good at balking about how the current administration dropped the ball, and that everything was “A-okay” when his term was up, but the history books and even his own press interviews from that time speak otherwise.
With seven months left of his last term in office, Bush II – with Cheney at his side – had such little international credibility that their bluffs were routinely called. They couldn’t get the diplomatic backing of Russia or China on board to make a difference in Iran amid the nuclear development talks, and then handed the mess off to their predecessors because they were so ineffective at bargaining abroad.
It’s the seemingly endless cycle of left-right politics that keep the rich richer and the poor poorer, and that’s exactly what the “powers-that-be” need to keep everyone under their influence. Obama, Bush, Clinton…. they’re all just marionettes. Our problems are much larger than any one person in the oval office.
If anything, we need to take a look back at the past to adjust our ways of thinking in the hear and now. Where were Bush II, Reagan and Clinton five years into an eight year stint?
Clearly, the world dynamics of the world around us differs greatly than they did at any one of those points in history, but I’d be willing to bet that if you were able to travel back in time these guys weren’t sleeping well at night either.
If the people of the United States are ever to accomplish what they feel is necessary to deliver us to a place where collective citizens feel as if their voices actually matter, then we should begin really scrutinizing some policy changes in this country – starting with the most antediluvian mechanisms of them all – the electoral college. But I’ll save that rant for next time. Until then –

Life’s a garden… Dig it.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
Matt White

This year had been filled with firsts for me. A new home in a new in a new town in a fresh year capable of being filled with positive moves in right direction is shaping up to be nothing less than just that. I’m feeling productive at both home and work, and overall satisfied with where I’m at in life, and I’ve found yet another love… the backyard garden.
My childhood memories are punctuated with working summers along side my father in the backyard garden. For years I thought my dad plowed and tilled our plot primarily out of necessity, and I suppose for the most part that essentially was the case. We didn’t have a lot of money, for all his hard work and dedication – we were never “rich” with possessions or money; I inherited much more than that.
At the time I had mixed feelings about the garden; and the work the it – and my dad – demanded.
And it was just that. Hard work, period. There isn’t a pair of Elton John style rose-colored glasses on earth that can make me look back longingly at the blisters, sweat and thirst that came endlessly from the garden emblazoned with a day’s noon sun.
We composted our kitchen waste and grass clippings every year. I never questioned it, as it just what I was expected to do as one of my many chores. We never had a fancy riding mower, just an old Briggs and Stratton push-job with a bagger that had to emptied every three swipes of the lawn’s length. Of course, the compost heap was atop the hill behind the garden, so I would fill the wheelbarrow with clippings and cart it when it was super-full.
Every other day – or everyday when the temperature was relatively high – it was my job to take the kitchen waste out to the heap. On the weekend, it would then be my chore to “turn” the pile with a pitch fork to aid in the decomposition and keep it from catching fire. Anyone who knows how hot a compost pile can get in the summer heat understands the danger.
Picking rock while we prepared the soil for the plants and seeds was especially monotonous work. My hands cracked from the desiccative nature of dirt; my dads hands felt like rough tree bark, so it didn’t bother him… at least, I never heard him complain about it.
Now, as an adult who’s been through his fair share of life, I’m tending to my own garden for the first time on my own since the days in the backyard of my childhood along side my sister, step mom and father.
I find it astounding how much information the human brain is willing to store without coercion. There was never any studying or tests – no quizzing or memorization of the things my father taught me as the fourth grader who needed guidance on the do’s and don’ts of gardening; amongst other things.
I suppose that I did what I was told regardless of how I felt about it because I knew there would be repercussions if I chose not to. More than that – I did it because I wanted to work alongside my dad, and I respected him. The magic of a garden harvest is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience, and now I’m convinced that was something that he knew all along. I worked shoulder to shoulder with my old man, who was raised on our family farm and was taught those very skills by his father, whose father had taught him and so on.
This past weekend I spend the majority of my time in the garden with my own boys. While at times the frustration of them trampling about the sowed seeds was overwhelming, I kept it together and at least pg-13 –  because I saw something that reminded me of a younger, pure and inquisitive version of myself in them. They wanted to be in the garden, shoulder to shoulder helping their dad… getting dirty and feeling productive.
A look back on the hours I spent explaining what they could and could not do, and what had to be accomplished versus what they wanted to do – that it’s “called work because it’s not play, not because it can’t be fun” (a concept that will most likely take them a child or two of their own to fully grasp) – and I feel good.
They picked rocks, learned the in’s and out’s of the pick axe and how to hoe a row  and plant seeds into the rich earth with their old man, just as I had.
My Dad – my best friend – died when I was all of 19 years of age and so sure of everything some 14 years ago. I feel blessed to have been afforded those 19 short years with him, learning the skills he had to offer from my grandfather, great-grandfather – ancestors.
No doubt, my boys will carry on those same practices with the name and hopefully one day reflect on summer days digging in the garden.