The conversation started simply enough. He lived just up the road, had a little farm … “just as a hobby you know”.
Yes, he’s been in farming the whole of his life, always in ‘these parts’.
His son runs the ‘family farms’. We’ve mainly got grain, orchards and nuts.
“Oh. All over” … the answer to where the farms are located.… “and we have patents.’
Which raised my eyebrows … how many farmers do you know that have patents? No, me neither.
Turns out the patents are in water – wastewater specifically.
Turns out that there are many customers from all over the world already using his technology. Paying customers. A global business that emerged from the farming. And you would never know without talking to him. Exploring the conversation. Doing the journey with him.
Without all of that, he was just ‘another’ elderly gentleman, keeping himself to himself, watching ‘the game’, having a glass of wine at the end of the day – like he does every day BTW.
“I trained as a Psychologist.”
“I became a Winemaker.”
“I run a Bar.”
“It’s all the same really.”
“I’m descended from a Scotsman who married a Dakotan Indian. That’s how I came to be in the Crystal business.”
James never explained how that particular logic worked. I think that is part of his charm … and, of course was proud of his lineage.
“But I am Gay – who KNOWS where that came from,” he then proclaimed … in that wonderfully affirmative, standing proud way that some people have.
James. Lovely. Outgoing. Humorous. Positive. Self-Effacing.
Is it because I’m English that I value that trait?
Then again, a six foot, loud, witty, dyed blonde, gay guy selling crystals in a town of less than 30,000 – can you be self-effacing?
“My dad is half Japanese and half Latvian, my mom is French, they met, married and I was born in Alabama.”
That’s a story right there … it emerged as I complimented her on her tattoos.
“I was born in Palm Springs” he said.
He had my attention. I know a few people who have lived in Palm Springs. James was the first time I knew of someone born there.
“Then I moved to Wisconsin.”
She was alone at the bar … a glass of water, a giant pile of French fries and a separate bowl of potato chips sat in front of her. The seats on either side of her were empty at an otherwise full bar.
“No” she said. “Nobody is sitting there”
I took a seat, introduced myself and she said her name was Sarah. I ordered a beverage.
They were from Massachusetts. This was the start of their fourth month on the road – thousands of miles away from their home.
Mary was stood watching John who was lying on his back under the car.
Gina told me that her husband was a magician. A very good magician.
Turns out that he is also a maths teacher. That’s how he makes is money. He really wants to make his living as a magician. Magic is is his passion.
Dan knew what he was doing. He offered me an Amber Ale from his selection. It was glorious. Arguably one of the best Amber’s I had ever tasted.
I met Candy while she was having dinner with her beau … Brian. She is a truck driver who operates as far North as Seattle and as far South as San Jose.