Fresh Facts 19: A Smart Guy with a Screw in His Sandal

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I learned an important lesson I’d like to share for what it’s worth. It was a really hot summer day maybe 30 years ago. I had a Montgomery Ward’s air compressor in the shop; the tank, motor, and controls were good, but the compressor unit was shot. I had a new one from Grainger’s that I was struggling to get bolted to the frame and what I had hoped might take a half hour was now somewhere beyond that.

It was not a logical time of day to be walking, but a man came walking up the driveway, a little dirty, smelling more than a little earthy. Today, you’d be politically correct and call him homeless; then he would have been called a bum. He’s carrying a back-pack and comments on how hot it was. I told him he was in luck, because he was about to enjoy the sweetest, most refreshing water anywhere in the world.

I connected a hose to said water and visited with him for a few minutes while he cooled off and refilled his water jug. As we were talking, I noticed he had about a 4 inch screw screwed into the sole of one of his sandals. I asked what the screw was about, and he said it kept him connected to the magnetic force of the earth and he went on to explain the physiological benefits of such grounding.

I’m thinking perhaps the magnetic force of the earth could point-out to this poor fellow he’d be better off holed up somewhere in the shade when it’s 105, but I kept those and other thoughts to myself and went back to being frustrated.

My problem was trying to get a nut started about 8 inches back with only an inch of clearance between the tank and the plate. My new friend watched for awhile and then asked if I had any electrical tape. He advised taping the nut into the box end of my wrench…by golly it worked, and I had my job done in no time.

I asked him where he learned that, and he said: “Oh, I had to do it all the time when I was building computers in San Jose…

So that day, I not only learned how to get a nut on a bolt you can’t reach, I also learned that everyone we meet not only carries basic human worth, but actually has something valuable to contribute to our lives if we take the time to get to know them and share our life–even a grungy guy carrying a backpack on a very hot day with a screw sticking out his sandal–and I’ve had that reinforced many a time over the years.

Well, the daffodils have shoved their swollen green heads up through the leaves a few inches. All forecasts are calling for a gully washing, much needed 3-4 inches of rain over the next few days; by the time you’re reading this, we will know, but if your produce is a little muddy, that’s a really good thing.

I’m also really glad to be getting Cliff’s oranges and also to see that with adequate irrigation last summer, they’ve returned to normal size. It’s like they saved-up summer sunshine, packed it in juicy segments under an orange peel just waiting for us to unwrap.

Keep an eye out for a smart guy with a screw in his sandal and eat healthy!

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Categories: Fresh Facts , Newsletter

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Your farmer Vernon Peterson grows organic stone fruit and chickens along the Kings River in Kingsburg, California.

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