Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Eliza and I left Marietta last Friday (3/17) and headed to Lexington, KY to see one of my lifelong best friends, mentor, grad school prof, and favorite Brit, Dr. Brian J. Dendle.

There are just not words that can adequately express the tremendous respect and love I have for "BJ." I remember the first seminar I had with him in graduate school as being the hardest and most intimidating class I had ever had...I knew nothing about the 19th century peninsular literature; Dr. Brian J. Dendle was recognized as one of the world's leading scholars in that field. I had never read a single novel by Benito Pérez Galdós; Dendle's claim to fame was his expertise on the man and the hundreds of novels Galdós had written. After two days of cowering in the back of the classroom, I went to plead with my advisor (Dendle's best friend, as it turns out) to let me drop the class. Dr. MacCrary refused, and I had to stick it out.

It was lucky for me because had I dropped, I would never have gotten to know Brian Dendle. My second year as a grad student, I assisted Dendle in a summer travel program to Mexico, and upon our return, I spent the rest of the summer living at his house. Under Dendle's careful guidance, breaking only for a couple of ping pong games a day against him, I prepared for my written and oral exams.

That was over 30 years ago. We've traveled together, served as each other's sounding boards, and spent hours and hours engaged in conversations about many, many things. Brian J. Dendle is one of a very few people in whom I place total and complete trust.

What was really neat about last weekend was that Eliza got to know Dendle again. They hit it off really well, sharing the same sense of dry wit and sarcastic humor. They both had great comebacks for each other in our conversations, and she listened carefully as he talked to her about language, the importance of writing, the necessity of sound verbal skills, etc. He was wonderful with her, as she was with him.

We returned home on Sunday, and on Monday(3/20), Joe Davis and his girlfriend, Elissa, came to the farm for a visit / work days here at the farm. Over the course of two days, we cut down trees, cut up and hauled the brush into burn piles, shored up the grapevines, cut down and cleared the vines around the barn, and made a list of 500 other things we want to get done at the farm. We fixed good food, napped in between our working "shifts," got some good conversation in, and took some great walks. My gratitude to Joe, Elissa, and Joe's dad, John, is HUGE! Those guys worked their fannies off doing manual labor in the snowy cold and loved doing it!

Eliza and I have spent the evening talking about the incredible people we know and who form a part of the farm family. Joe's been around for 25 years or so, and Elissa, here for the first time, fits in as if she's been around that long as well...She's a farm natural! and such a wonderful person.

It's all about love and simple pleasures here. Hanging out.... Working the land..Cooking good food.....Listening to music....there's nothing better to share with those we love and who love us. The Farm...It's home and blessed are we to have so many who share it with us!

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