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Connecting the Past and the Future

Gray hair isn’t a sign of old age, it is a sign of credibility. This past month the Stanwood community lost one of its farmers. Franklin Hanson passed away at the ripe old age of 88. Our family has only known the Hanson family for eight years. Bernice, who passed on a few years ago, and Franklin adopted us when we first moved to the valley and with the help of their three boys have been a huge blessing to our family. We have learned so much by their direct impact on our family.

Sadly, in our society, the gray head is not held in as high of esteem as it should be. Because of this, many of us, especially the youth, are missing out on some incredible insight. The generation that is passing from this life to the next has weathered some amazing times and gained a lot of wisdom as a result. And if this insight were sought out, it would reveal some very relevant information to make life richer. As an organic farmer—or if you will, an old fashioned farmer—I am always gleaning information about how things were done before tractors, oil, and synthetic fertilizers. By just sitting and listening to the years of experience, my children and I have been able to learn some of the wisdom of the ages.

As I think about the stories of old that I have heard, I am in awe of how resilient Franklin’s generation really was. Living through the Great Depression, forsaking comfort and safety to liberate Europe and then having to adapt from outhouses to indoor plumbing, from letters to party lines to no lines, from admiring birds to flying like them, and from using your mind to using a computer. Truly Franklin’s generation has seen much, given much, and has a lot to give still.

Now Franklin is no longer with us (we still have his three boys) and I can no longer grip his hand and seek his wisdom. Have you ever noticed the strength of an old man’s hand shake? The strength is an extension their lives, a strength that reminds us that we can make it through incredibly hard situations as well. I will miss the opportunities I have had to ask a question and then sit back and just listen, absorbing, and taking mental notes as he shared.

I love the Stanwood community. It is the place that our family gets to carry on the farming way of life with a community of farmers that have been here for three, four, and five generations. I humbly submit that my life has been richer because of some of these farmers–the Franklin Hanson family.

Franklin, you and your family have been an untold blessing to the Klesick family and many others. Thank you for sharing your time and your rich heritage with all those you came in contact with. Good bye Franklin. You might have passed from this world to the next, but your life will live on in the hearts of many.