January 28, 2017

in loving memory...

*tap, tap, tap*...Is this thing on? Let's see if I remember how to do this.

It's been a long time and so much has happened, and I promise I'll get to that another day. But today, we lost someone who meant so much to us and our hearts are heavy. It only feels fitting to come here to talk.

I don't really know where to begin. Gerry was my mother's long-time friend and companion and simply put, he was instrumental in our entrance into farming. He and my mother believed in our crazy idea and encouraged us to leave England and give it shot. Nate and I often look back on the decision for him to quit his job and for us to move back home to America, to start a farm, as jumping off a cliff. It was one of the scariest decisions we've ever made, and we wouldn't have had the courage to do it without Gerry.

Once our farming adventure was underway, he encouraged me to begin documenting it. His advice, along with a nudge from an old school friend and blogger (Hi Jen!), is what fueled this blog. He worked hard to convince me that I was a good writer and encouraged me to keep going. That was a huge deal for me, a kid who struggled through school and was labeled as learning disabled.

Gerry was our biggest fan and shared our story with anyone who would listen. Perhaps even those who didn't really want to listen. He believed in us and had a deep love of sustainable farming. His enthusiasm was utterly contagious. When the going got tough for us on the farm, and did it ever, he was always there to help pick us up, dust us off, and encourage us to keep moving forward.

For years, he'd been telling me that I need to write a book about our story, and for years I put it off. So much had happened causing us to veer from our path, and I didn't feel like we had the ending to our story yet.

Gerry knew that the bakery had been part of our dream all along, and though he had since moved back to live close to his family, he was thrilled to hear that we'd made it happen and that it was a success. A few months ago, he tried to convince me to get started on the book. As always, his excitement and enthusiasm was hard to dismiss, so I tried. But honestly, I was having such a hard time balancing life and the bakery, that I just couldn't do it. He understood, but I could feel his disappointment.

I can say, without a doubt, that Nate and I would not have survived our farming journey - something that shaped us immensely, helped us to grow and learn so much about ourselves - without Gerry. We simply cannot think about that time in our lives with thinking of him. His love, support, inspiration, enthusiasm and encouragement meant everything to us, and will never be forgotten.

Gerry, I promise to push myself to keep writing here. I'm sorry my book didn't get written in your lifetime, but I promise to finish it someday. And when I do, you'd better believe it will be dedicated to you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything.

Gerry's favorite photo from those days, and the one he made me promise to use as the cover of my book.