Monday, November 03, 2008

Quite a Surprise

I have to say I was a bit shocked to discover my daughter on the cover of the local paper today!

Some of you may know that my children live partially with me and partially with their mom.  When they are there, they live on a farm in the middle of the Pine Barrens with about 130 acres of cranberries.  When they are here, they live in a modest twin house on our half acre of happiness in Moorestown.

In another phase of my life I helped out at the farm, first as a field manager for the blueberry operation starting in the summer of 1991 and eventually running the cranberry cleaning machine that took the cranberries out of the bog, cleaned them and loaded them onto trucks.  I took a few weeks off from work each October and we all pitched in to get things wrapped up for the year.

The harvest always drew in folks who came down every year, or who just pulled over on the side of Route 563 to watch.  The media came every year, from the Food Network, to Good Morning America to the little local paper.  At least a part of the job was handling the visitors, the media and doing public relations.  The deep reds of the berries and the golds greens and yellows of the trees make for great photos and vivid memories.

Cranberry farming is a difficult business and this group takes it seriously and do it well. They go out of their way to tell their story carefully and to craft it to include many of the traditional touchstones of American agriculture: family, legacy, hard work.

So I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised to see the beautiful photo of my daughter with her grandfather on the front page of The Burlington County Times today, or to see her clapping and having fun and her brother wearing waders and pushing berries in the video posted to the AP today. 

But still I was a bit surprised because it's a part of my life I have left behind and that I don't hear about from them much.  There's a lot of family-values PR in the video, but I watched it with some real happiness for the window it offered me into this other portion of John and Emma's life.

I'm on the road today, so thanks to everyone who helpd me get the media together to post this!


PCole said...

As stressful my life and relationships are, I have to keep remembering that it could be worse. At least I see my kids every day.

Tammi said...

That was a great video, though I've always been curious about the actual process of farming cranberries and didn't catch that part :)
The points about raising kids in a family business is spot on. Our family has owned flower shops for over 20 years and all the kids, many cousins, friends, adopted family, in-laws, and even grandchildren have worked there, learning things you may never get out of corporate life.
When success demands excellence, you find importance in every little thing like scrubbing buckets, mopping floors, making bows, and learning how to interact with customers to make everyone happy with a sale.
I, too, used to take my vacations to work holidays at the shop and wish I still could -- to help my parents who are struggling in this economy and could use some free labor, and to connect with the community in a way that sitting behind a computer cannot match.

Chris said...

To me the best parts of the video were watching Emma showing her personality lighting up and clapping and John slogging thought the berries in his waders. In the next few weeks I'm sure you can catch some of the many TV programs about cranberrying that were shot on the farm. Check your local PBS affiliate or Discover channel.
I had never, and likely will never again, work as hard as I did during harvest. 10 or 12 hours of mental tension and physical labor left me sleeping dreamlessly each night.
It was pretty cool to get to the end of a bog and know you were part of the team that brought all that fruit in.
Thanks for stopping by!

Hillary Chybinski said...

your post was truly lovely - you do your children proud.