Monday, February 13, 2012

Who is Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm? Part 3

Are origin stories always so drawn-out? I find that it’s taking more words to explain the “who” of our farm than I imagined when I embarked. Perhaps it’s too much of a navel-gazing exercise. Let me know if it is – comments are appreciated! As it stands, I’m going to need another installment to finish it off.

In 1998, things started to change dramatically for Jody and Beth. Their carefree DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle ended with the birth of their son, Richard in October. Beth continued working for the educational software company for a time; but she needed to make a change as she was being asked to travel more – not an option with an infant at home.

Jody, again, encouraged her to stretch by applying for a “technical liaison” position with the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. This in-house support role suited her well and with the El close by our suburban home with a stop a block from her office in the Chicago, it was an easy commute. Jody continued at Allstate. About a year into her work with Arthur Andersen, an internal position as a professional skills trainer opened up. This was the ideal position for Beth. It was a flex-time position working three days a week with the ability to work from home as well. After a two week training stint in Holland (Beth’s first European trip), Beth settled comfortably into her new role.

The new position completely suited Beth. She worked part- time, got full benefits, stayed in the professional world, and liked her co-workers, too. Also, she got to spend a lot of time with her son, Richard. Life was good. Also, the Osmund family was focusing more on domestic pursuits – securing a mortgage on a duplex and starting their own raised bed garden in the backyard. Life was very good.

Like so many others, we began reassessing priorities the fall of 2001. I haven’t blogged about the September 11th terrorist attacks before this. I’m not sure writing about it over a decade hence has a lot of value, but since it’s my blog and I’ll prattle if I want to, here goes.

As I’m sure so many others do, I remember exactly where I was that morning. It was a glorious fall day in the Chicago area. I was enjoying a precious time with Richard riding a hayrack, picking apples, and eating apple-cider donuts with his daycare class. This idyll fractured as parent’s cell phones started to chime and beep. Bits of disjointed bits of information started to leak in of a major tragedy in NY city. Riding back on the bus to the daycare, news of the “accident” kept coming. National Public Radio(NPR) gave a slightly clearer (albeit more horrifying) picture of what had happened as I drove Richard home.

I quickly switched the radio-off. Richard, almost three, preternaturally empathetic, and a veritable sponge to the world around did not need to hear the horrors of the day. So began our near total day-time media black-out. When we got home, Beth voice was on the answering machine letting us know that Uncle Arthur had closed the office and sent everyone home. She arrived at about two. Even though we were maintaining radio (and TV) silence for Richard’s sake, we needed to hear what was going on in the world. We’re still grateful to PBS (and Mr. Rogers) for remembering that kids can and should be sheltered from unfiltered information. We turned to the soporific oasis of PBS Kids programming -uninterrupted by the day’s news; plopped Richard in front of the TV, and went into the kitchen to listen to NPR. By the time the news looped full circle, Beth and I were ready to turn it off, too. We made supper, and played with our son.