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!