Doug and Carla…met on the back of a tomato harvester one hot, sunny afternoon…it was love at first…uh…green tomato?
Seriously, Dad grew up in Courtland, a mile from where he an Mom now reside. He was born and raised in Courtland, CA (population 600! No, we don’t have a stoplight or a starbucks…) as a farmer’s son. He graduated from Cal Poly (boo) and returned to life on the farm. Mom always said that Dad was only happy when he was playing in the dirt, and it is true. No matter what he’s dabbled in, nothing makes him happier than the perpetually amazing process of sowing, tending, and harvesting. There’s something truly moving about the ability to create something from a seed, and to be able to taste your work and share it with others. Even if the “others” are cows and horses…
Mom, on the other hand, was born in Fayatteville, AK. She migrated with her family out to sunny CA when she was 2, and I still remember asking her in grade school if she had ever read The Grapes of Wrath. She replied, “Honey, I lived it!.” At any rate, she finished high school and made her way through by working at the local market. When her family returned to Arkansas, she stayed in California, looking for that tall, dark, handsome man of her dreams. She got my Dad instead. Just kidding! Dad was everything Mom could ever ask for; and to this day they’re still all mushy and lovey-dovey. I’m so proud that they’re still together after all kinds of adversity and all kinds of coolness (specifically, me. I mean the adversity part, of course…).
They’ve taught me so many things, including humility, farming, how to cook, how to love, how to laugh, how to cry, where to draw your strengths and how to cope with your weaknesses, how to drive a tractor, what to do when you have accumulated too much crap (build another building to store it, of course!), how to tolerate oddities in the ones you love, how to accept your own oddities (good thing I don’t have any…), what it means to be a family, and so much more. I am so proud of my parents and I hope someday that my children will feel the same way about me. And if they don’t, I’ll send them to Grandma and Grandpa Chan, who will put them on a tractor and make them weed the garden until they straighten out. On second thought, maybe I’ll go see Grandma and Grandpa Chan and drive tractor and pull weeds until I feel better…the kids can stay with Steve. Hee hee!