Show: The humble Farmer

Episode: humble 2012 1216.mpg

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Episode Description:

The humble Farmer show for December 16, 2012

56 minutes. Contains two of humble’s classic Christmas stories: Ghosts of Christmas Past and The Real Meaning of Christmas.

Well received in Northern New England for 34 years, this is the same old fashioned music and humorous social commentary show that has delighted young and old alike every week since April 6, 1978 for radio --- and now for television.

Music by: Clark Terry, Count Basie, Errol Garner, Benny Goodman, Scott Hamilton, Chick Webb, Django Reinhardt, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers and Denny Breau.

This show contains 3.41 minutes of Denny Breau and Mark Miller playing Memphis and 2.59 min of Dr. Dick’s Dancing Puppets.

humble is joined again on camera by his young friend, Sylvia, whose smile is now generating much of humble’s fan mail.

The video over the music is of humble modifying some plumbing in his 200-year-old house.

All of this is tame fare, indeed, for viewers expecting someone to be shot, arrested or blown up.

The show is tightly scripted. It starts out with the young grandchildren reading textbooks of String Theory. Most of the songs and commentary are separated by an outtake consisting of items considered to command attention. The show ends, as usual, with the Keystone Cops driving a car off the end of a dock.
The humorous commentary that humble delivers between the songs is approximated below:
December 16, 2012
1. I enjoy telling the kind of stories that some people might not understand right off. Some people might have to hear the story again or say it over again in their minds before they get it. This kind of story is called a dry story. I like dry stories and here is an example. If you have young grandchildren who come to visit you from time to time, you might be familiar with the $300 worth of little yellow plastic ducks in the bathtub problem. Do you have grandchildren? Are you familiar with this $300 worth of little yellow plastic ducks in the bathtub problem? Where do you hide your yellow plastic ducks before they come?
2. I have been reading great world literature to my wife’s little grandchildren --- you know, to set them on the right track academically speaking. And now, were you to ask them to name the fattest king in Thebes, they would shout, “Adipose Rex.” Ask them --- who was the man who saved all the animals by putting two of each kind into a boat, and they’ll say Archimedes.
3. Have you ever seen a Christmas ghost? Have you ever met anyone who has? While visiting an elderly neighbor in a nursing home not too far from here, I was sitting in a chair near the door when a couple of nurses out in the hall started talking about ghosts. When one of them said that psychic phenomena can explain many things, I really started to pay attention. You know, you wonder if people who see ghosts are capable of taking care of our old friends and neighbors. She said she'd run into this psychic phenomena on her first job out of nursing school. She said, "We had a ward of 12 elderly ladies. They were all very sweet, and after the tough old birds I'd worked with at school, the job looked like a snap.
"Then, early one morning, one of them whispered to me, 'My husband was here last night.' Well, you know how they tell you at school that we should not humor elderly people when they hallucinate. I told her that her husband was not with us anymore.
"But she just smiled at me, a real warm smile, and said, 'My husband was here last night.'
"I told the head nurse about it and she said it was one of the most common things you hear in nursing homes. Some old people are always being visited by a parent or a loved one who hasn't drawn a breath for 20 or 30 years.
"So I didn't think anything about it when the woman in the next bed started in with the same thing about a week later. And with two of them saying it, none of us was surprised when 'My husband was here last night' was the only thing we heard in the entire ward from breakfast until noon. Even two ladies who had never been married picked it up.
"Appetites improved right down the line. The doctor said it wasn't unusual for people to eat more when they were in good spirits. And although he reminded us that we had an obligation to keep the patients in touch with reality, their imaginations had really done them a lot of good. Ladies who had been tired and had long been content to gaze at the ceiling for hours took a new interest in reading and knitting. Some began to write letters to friends and relatives. They visited with other patients and grew stronger from walking about and eating so well. The minister who visited the patients every day said we were witnessing a Christmas miracle and preached a special sermon on it the following Sunday. No one thought of it as being spooky at the time because everyone was so content and happy. The shock came on Christmas morning: I noticed that not one of the patients had finished her breakfast. When the other nurse in my ward mentioned that not one of them had said, 'My husband was here last night,' the hair stood right up on the back of my neck.
"You talk about your psychic phenomena. No one on the entire hospital staff was ever able to explain it and I guess I asked all of them about it.
"All except our old night watchman, that is. The batteries in his pacemaker had melted down on Christmas Eve and he'd spent the night over in intensive care."
4. A while back you heard on the Today show about the two men in Waldoboro, Maine who worked together for several weeks before they figured out that they were brothers. And when these two new-found brothers appeared on the news, a sister soon appeared. And a day or two later, even another sister. Discovering lost or unknown siblings who were farmed out or kept in different boxes at an early age is neither new nor unique, and you can be sure that there must be thousands of similar cases that nobody hears about, only because they don’t make the national news. Let me give you an example. A few years ago I continued working on the Gilchrest family tree that my grandfather James Gilchrest started back in the 1920s. I called relatives I knew and asked them to send birth and marriage dates of their siblings and children and before long I had collected hundreds of relatives. I live on the farm that once belonged to my great-grandfather’s cousin, Larkin Gilchrest. And when I called one woman, who was a granddaughter or great granddaughter of Larkin Gilchrest, she said in so many words that I should mind my own business. But I continued my research. Years later one of her daughters showed up here at my farm and was looking at my computer screen over my shoulder when I said, “And this is your sister.” She said, “But I don’t have any sisters.”
5. Here’s news from long time Robert and I’m reading this email to you only because we so seldom hear from anyone who is able to tell us what goes on in a Maine diner at 3 a. m. Isn’t it something you have always wondered about? “I was in [mumble] Diner at 3 a.m. the other day and a guy stood up and said to the one and only waitress, "I waited 52-minutes for my meal, you ran out of fried onion rings and I did not get what I wanted and this is the worst service I have ever had. I am going to give you only ten dollars for this meal." And he gave her a ten-dollar bill and walked out. I said to the waitress, "that was a hot customer," and she said, "that was a drunk customer."
6. Everyone knows that the whole thing started years ago when Dick Jones, overcome by the spirit of Christmas, tied a festoon of holly around the neck of a plastic pink flamingo that ornamented his front lawn.
Dick’s wife, Alice, and several of his friends commented favorably on the seasonal decoration, which strengthened the likelihood that Jones would so enhance his art object the following year. His friend and next-door neighbor, Bob Smythe, complimented Dick’s creative genius. But Bob’s wife, Jane, was jealous.
“Why can’t you ever think of anything nice like that”? she whispered in Bob’s ear.
Bob knew that with a year to plan he could top Dick’s Christmas decoration. And he did. The following year, about three days before he figured Dick would wrap his flamingo with holly, Bob dressed the plastic duck family on his front lawn in little Santa Claus costumes.
Everyone said that the plastic mama duck and the plastic baby ducks dressed in little red suits tufted with white fur were the cutest things they’d ever seen. Whenever Bob and Jane looked out the window at their Santa ducks, Jane would squeeze Bob’s arm and Bob would stick out his chest with the satisfied feeling that only comes from work well done.
Although Dick Jones had to compliment his neighbor, he knew he’d been upstaged and that the cars that would creep by this season would be full of folks who had come over to see the Santa ducks and not his decorated flamingo. Dick and Alice discussed making a Santa costume for their bird but were clever enough to realize that it would look like they were just copying the Smythe ducks.
In the end, Alice, who had been around more than just a little bit, bought two strings of Christmas lights and a couple of extension cords. She put a string of lights on a small tree that grew in the front yard, while Dick tastefully arranged fresh holly on their flamingo. He wasn’t about to give up a good thing just because of Bob Smythe’s Santa ducks. Then he crowned his work with a string of colored lights. Dick and Alice went into their home feeling very good about themselves indeed. They knew that Bob Smythe’s eyes would bug out when they turned on their Christmas lights that evening.
A year later, Bob Smythe augmented his Santa ducks with two four-foot striped candles which he erected on his doorstep. By then, however, Jones already had small candles with white bulbs in four of his front windows.
The following season, Jones outlined his garage door with a string of blinking colored lights. The Smythes added a three-foot plastic Santa which sat with a whip in its hand in a sleigh, now harnessed to the plastic duck Santas.
Smythe achieved instant local notoriety when a picture of his entourage appeared in the paper. Our editor was unable to think of a caption to run under it.
It was about that time that someone called my attention to the collective genius of Smythe and Jones. No holiday could pass without appropriate symbols appearing on their front lawns. I began to study them in hopes of learning something that would make my own place a bit more attractive.
I noticed that Jones braces up a 12-foot wooden rabbit at Easter. Strobe lights are cleverly concealed in the creature’s huge basket of eggs. Smythe rolls out plaster pumpkins for Halloween. I enjoy his Halloween witch (with two glowing red lights for eyes) that flies back and forth on wires. Jones wrapped his entire house in eight-foot firecrackers for the Fourth of July. Both men built large barns out back that serve only as storage bins for their props.
But I digress, for it is at Christmas that Smythe and Jones are at their unparalleled best.
Besides the attractive decorations mentioned above, their homes are now outlined with blinking colored lights. Red and blue blinking lights flash from every window. A life-sized illuminated plastic Santa Claus stands in the middle of a crèche with several live sheep and wooden shepherds and wise men who bob about on wires. Eight ceramic life sized reindeer and a real sleigh loaded with brightly wrapped presents are braced on top of Smythe’s house. Stereo speakers, hidden somewhere within the bowels of a manger, blast the observer with Jingle Bell Rock. On top of Jones’ house is a sign that spells “Merry Xmas” in three-foot letters filled with blinking lights.
Every year at this time a wide-lens photo of the whole business appears in the paper, and well it should. Otherwise, many of us would forget the real meaning of Christmas.
7. And here is a letter from long time radio friend Chief Read. It is in response to the conversation we had last week about hockey players getting pounded. “humble: Hockey players may beat the stuffing out of anyone but the goalie (he does have all those pads on; what would you hit?) and get a 5 min. or even a game penalty if they draw blood. Hitting anyone with their stick gets them thrown out for the game and perhaps a few more. Those things are lethal, especially swung by guys the size of NHL players. Of course, the officials have to see the infraction but they don't miss much. They don't seem to penalize it when guys stick the butt end of their sticks in the other guy's ribs or wherever. But, no sticks. Truly a fais pas ca.”
8. Someone was telling me about a book called Patients Beyond Borders. This book gives you detailed information on the best hospitals and treatment centers in more than 40 countries worldwide, plus data on local and international accreditation, health travel planners, accommodations, and more. We read that operations can cost from 30 to 80 percent less in accredited hospitals abroad. Of course, you could also give up sweets, beer and smoking, and then perhaps it might be a long time before you need a hospital.
9. Do you remember when you could do things that you cannot do today? I’m talking here about man made laws. Are things moving too fast for you in the present world? Are you concerned about your loss of civil liberties? You might remember when a very cheery and contented Santa Claus smiled up at you from your favorite book as pipe smoke curled around his ears. Remember those good old pictures? And, to move up a generation or two, you might remember when the Cookie Monster gorged himself on cookies. Mmmm Coookies. And right there on the television screen the Cookie Monster ate plate after plate of the kind of warm, sugary ginger snaps that my wife Marsha bakes especially for you. But now, no more will the Cookie Monster wolf down cookies right there on the screen before millions of his young fans. Did you know that? First they took away Santa Claus’s pipe. Then they took away the Cookie Monster’s cookies. Where will it end? When will they be coming for you?
10. Remember the good old let boys play with dolls and girls play with trucks? As recently as 1957 even the famous anthropologist Ashley Montague subscribed to it. But now they know that the program was a hoax and a fraud. It seems that boys and girls are pre-wired and the environmental and cultural factors are negligible. I thought I was a very destructive child, but discovered on a web site that by taking an axe to old cast iron parlor stoves, and concrete steps, I was manifesting normal little boy behavior. The next level of difference between boys and girls has to do with gender-specific personality traits which affect how children learn. First, a word about gender-specific personality traits. In the 1950s and 1960's and 1970's, it was fashionable to assume that gender differences in personality were "culturally constructed." Back then, psychologists thought that if we raised Johnny to play with dolls and Sally to play with trucks -- then many of these gender differences would vanish. However, cross-cultural studies over the past 30 years have provided little support for this hypothesis. Here is one of the challenges teachers face: the girl who gets straight A's but thinks she's stupid and feels discouraged, and the boy who's barely getting B's but thinks he's brilliant. Consequently, the most basic difference in teaching style for girls vs. boys is that you want to encourage the girls, build them up, while you give the boys a reality check: make them realize they're not as brilliant as they think they are, and challenge them to do better. --- For all the good it will do, I might add. -- If you want to get 8th-grade girls interested in chemistry, show the girls how chemistry can be used to improve the world. Let them build natural biochemical filters to clean dirty water, so they can see how the water becomes fresh and clean. If you want to get 8th-grade boys interested in chemistry, teach them about dynamite. Can’t you see yourself standing before the school board the following week saying, “How was I to know…”
Thank you for considering The humble Farmer.

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Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Sunday, December 16, 2012 - 22:41

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