Gentleman Farmer

Sometimes I think that we must have been nuts moving away from the life that we had known for so many years in order to start over in an agrarian lifestyle. We knew nothing of growing stuff (other than flowers), raising stuff (other than cats) or preserving stuff (other than ourselves… we were living in L.A. after all.) When I think of our move, I inevitably think of our old friend Liam. In past estimation Liam would have been the least likely person to understand what we were doing and why. Let me give you a little history. We met Liam  after moving to Los Angeles in the early nineties. In a word, he was the biggest snob I had ever met in my life. He was tall, handsome, Irish, a fabulous dresser, entertainer and had a real knack for interior design. He was polished, superior and tended to look down the length of his nose at anyone that didn’t pass muster. Why were we friends with such a person you ask? Inexplicably, Liam was also the most generous, loving and giving man, even though he often had a rather large stick jammed up his posterior.

Liam also had a knack for hanging out with the most bizarre group of people. The mix was heavily populated with older aristocrats. It was nothing for him to introduce us to the Duchess of so-and-so or The Countess blah, blah, blah at a cocktail party. In passing I feel I should tell you that The Countess had a real penchant for swearing and packed away the gin like a pro. The Duchess was living apart from her fourth husband because he refused to give up his young male lover.  A kooky group to say the least. Once, at a charity luncheon Liam introduced me to The Archbishop of Canterbury. You just can’t make this crazy stuff up.

Liam’s and my friendship was sealed for all time when we became co-Godparents to the beautiful Emma of Dublin, Ireland. We came and went out of each other’s lives over the years but we always managed to catch up in no time flat and make it feel like we had never lost touch. Liam’s Orchids were the first flowers to arrive at my hospital room the day Anna was born. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years and he couldn’t come to the hospital to visit as he was jetting off to God knows where. But you see, even though we hadn’t been in each other’s daily lives, he was still present.

When we decided to leave California, I knew  I had to let our old friend know. I left three messages on varies phone numbers that I had for him. When he called me back I was in the process of packing my china. When I told him we were moving I expected scoffing and a few sour grapes. Perhaps a demand to know, “My Gawd, why in heaven’s name would you move to the barbarous  hinterlands of Oregon?!” What I got was, “Good for you! This country is going to hell and I think it’s a good idea that you learn how to feed yourselves.” What?! Well, it turns out our old friend had retired to the country himself and was… pause for effect… a gentleman farmer. What?! “Yes,” he told me. “It was high time I learn to take care of myself.” Why? Liam was never one to care how his gourmet food got to him as long as it did. How had this weird transformation come to pass? Well he didn’t tell me. He just assured me that we were doing the right thing and that he could see himself visiting us, maybe even buying some neighboring land. With my head spinning I bid our friend adieu and got back to packing. Later that night I wondered if other people were having as hard of a time processing our change as much as I was having a hard time processing Liam’s.

So listen, if the likes of us and Liam can go country, there might just be something to this. Life is a funny journey but it’s always nice to be in good company.


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