Dear Lynn R. Miller,
First me let begin by introducing myself. My name is Whitley R. Bradberry. I “fell-into” your journal in a most interesting way many years ago and here’s the story: A friend from college came and stayed with me while on his long journey to a large city near us to seek medical treatment for ailments long-ago suffered from a terrible horse-riding accident that occurred while he was riding a horse in an English Riding class at the college we both attended. He was permanently disabled because of that terrible accident. I had already befriended him before his accident but once he returned to campus from the accident I went out of my way and assisted him in his recovery of learning to walk and talk again as his Resident Assistant and then Resident Director at the residence halls that we lived in. He loved horses before the accident and even more so after. However, his physical disabilities limited his abilities to ride and handle horses to many employer’s satisfaction because his movements were so much slower than normal. So he drifted from many a low-paying job to the next. He did get the opportunity to work for some outfits that used heavy horses during the winter to pull sleighs for sleighrides. He loved it but bosses or owners usually didn’t see his slow-magic with the horses. He has a way with horses, I believe, that existed because of his accident and permanent disability, because he did things slow! Anyhow, in this time and age, and possibly throughout time “slow” is not usually a favorable or hirable trait or quality. It saddened me to see him suffer financially because of government restrictions on earnings so that he could qualify for a very small amount of disability and then see the wind knocked out of his sails at the loss of a job working with the animals he loved. So, I often stayed in-touch with him throughout the years.
During his visit to obtain medical help for his ailments I asked him what he would do for work if money was not an object. He informed me that he would work with heavy horses. Because he loved them! I encouraged him not to give up hope of that opportunity and I also asked him if he read any good books or literature on the subject of working with the heavy horse. He did respond to my reading question and one of the referenced readings was the Small Farmers Journal and your writings. I didn’t pay much attention to what he mentioned at the time and honestly was desiring and trying to help him land a decent job and secure a better quality of life. His time with us ended and we parted. Much to my surprise, several months later, he gifted me for my birthday with a one year subscription to the SFJ out of his very limited wages. Truly a sacrifice!
Honestly, I didn’t know what the SFJ was but it didn’t take long and I fell in love with it. And, in doing so my dear friend has revolutionized my life! I love the journal, love what it stands for (and what it stands against!), and love its priceless community – though I actually don’t know anyone. I have subscribed ever since! I bought subscriptions for my parents, my former high-school library and a multiyear one for myself. Interestingly, I am not a small farmer!… yet…but hoping someday that that prayer will be answered with a “Yes!” and maybe my dream will be satisfied. I am not interested in it for financial profit but for the satisfaction of soul in a personal desire and dream of being a good husband of the land! For I personally believe the dividends that are yielded by the good husbandry of the land are incalcuable. I hold those of you who are doing so to the highest of honor!
I am the husband of the most beautiful and wonderful wife and we have been blessed beyond words with 6 beautiful children! Our oldest son was diagnosed with Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (Type 1 Diabetes) at the age of 3 (over 10 years ago) and I have engaged in natural, organic gardening and relish in the opportunity to “change the world” as Stephen Scott wrote about in his editorial Spring 2014 (even if it is just ourselves and our son!). We see wonderful and positive affects in all of us but especially our oldest son in eating fresh vegetables grown without any chemical applications!
But, I didn’t write all this to talk about me, my family, and my personal dreams and ambitions. I wrote to talk about you! I think you are incredibly wonderful Mr. Miller! You have an incredible gift with words! Yes, sometimes they are difficult and sometimes I do not agree with you but you have gift and a way with words! I believe strongly that all communities throughout society need desperately “Town Criers” like you! Especially on this subject of which you cherish very much – small farming and its vitality to humankind! Your a champion to me! A much needed champion. And, from the ‘letters’ to the SFJ throughout the years I have read it appears you are a champion to a host of others as well! Oh, there’s a sourpuss every once in a while but I beg of you to keep it up. I also agree with Mr. Schlabach of Millersburg, OH, “Don’t let Ryan Foxley slip away…” He’s another champion in my book along with many other of the contributors!
I was personally charged and challenged by a little something that appeared on the cover of the Fall 2014 SFJ which reads, “Good Work Is Lubricated By Appreciation!” I realized I had not ever taken the time to inform you how much I appreciate you. And, also by the optimistic blurb in same issue about Ed from Michigan who just turned 108 and called to renew his subscription for another two years!!! That’s absolutely AWESOME!!!
So, it is because of these things along with the notice in the mail of the upcoming expiration of my 5 year subscription that I wrote. I also wrote because I went to the SFJ website to inquire of the price of a Lifetime subscription and couldn’t find the answer. I have been entertaining that idea, possibility, and option because of the conviction inspired by Ed from Michigan. So, do you offer Lifetime subscriptions? If you do would you please inform me of the price of one? Just might have to have one…
Thanks for all you’ve done! All you’re doing! And all you’re going to do for small farmers!
Whitley R. Bradberry, Snyder, TX
Dear Mr. Bradberry,
Thank you for your kind and generous letter. I have decided that I will accept for Lifetime Subscriptions, in trade, any sound breeding age cow, feeder steer, draft colt, cultipacker, two-hundred pounds of heirloom alfalfa seed, and/or equivalent money. I will not accept stock certificates in Google, Facebook, Amazon, Monsanto, or Smithfield Pork as I am certain they will not be around much longer. (Or at least not as long as we will.)