gary, mentor and friend

In all my life-changing moments and heavenly gifts that I possess, there again and again is Gary’s name. Far above human understanding was his…. his comprehensions, compassion, forgiveness, and willingness that put an entire world above his own limitations. And he indeed concurred.

Gary believes the best in everyone; deserved or otherwise. Five years ago up at Highland Flats, Gary jumped in the passenger seat of his new truck that had just been driven cross country to the farm. He walked me through instructions driving the 10-gear machine, quick test drive around the block, then turned me loose with the keys and a job to do. Someone believed in me, so I believed too, and had the best time ever knowing I was important to the vision. But a few days in, the transmission broke and I had to own what I had done. There was no shaming, no raised voice or question, Instead I was handed a big smile and the set of keys to another truck. Gary didn’t put his faith in things, he put faith in the people who stood with him.

And that sense of humor! At another harvest, I recall Julie Inman and I working in the farm kitchen for Balsam Harvest. I had cooked down Maple Syrup to caramelize walnuts for the salad I was preparing. Gary and Eldon must have been out on errand and came in for dinner that night before the others working the distillery. I put the plate on the table to cool in front of Gary who promptly reached to taste. He got that twinkle in his eye and almost immediately the door opened with cold hungry tummies and snow covered boots. Gary held the plate out for the others to enjoy saying the nuts came from up north, that the closer you get to Canada, the nuts take on a maple flavor. Funniest thing ever as we were all so eager to serve him, and he was giving us all permission to laugh. All he wanted was to be family.

Gary and Mary are the reason I call my husband “ My Sweetheart”. Gary’s interactions snuggling and teaching Jacob and Josef about life, about being men. I have full faith Gary will always be much closer and all-encompassing than we could ever contain in a plaid shirt and jeans.

The single moment that will forever mean the most to me personally, is the first time Gary asked me to offer the blessing for his team of us harvest volunteers after a day of distillation. I know how deeply Gary values his time with Father, and he had handed the privilege over to me.

Forever and ever, amen.