A Facebook friend jokingly mentioned that every time he spent a night in a bed-and-breakfast, the owner begged him to buy it.

May I set the record straight by saying that The humble Farmer Bed and Breakfast was one of the best things that ever happened to us. Can you imagine what it was like for an old retired man, who had entertained thousands of people with his funny stories over the years, to have a fresh, new audience at his breakfast table every morning?

We enjoyed the people and the work – because it wasn’t work. And when Guy Marsden introduced us to the booking machines, being able to fill three bedrooms almost seven nights a week at astronomical prices changed our lives. On my B&B web page was written: “The wheel was invented when man needed to transport material over a great distance. Fire was first utilized when man moved north out of Africa and needed to keep warm at night. Bills evolved when Maine innkeepers started charging people from Massachusetts so much that they couldn’t look them in the eye when it came time to squaring accounts.”

The B&B enabled us to pay off our mortgage, buy a new Honda Fit and have a metal roof put on the henhouse. In short, it catapulted us from one economic social class up into another. A person who owns his own home is no longer a groveling grubber but is rich. Like the Village Blacksmith, he owes not any man.

If you don’t owe money and live like we do, you can get by on an income that would cripple young people who eat out and go to shows and travel and buy big cars, $200 cellphones and huge TV screens.

Now, because we are only able to care for each other, we have closed the B&B and miss the many close friends we made over the years who booked a week with us every summer. These thoughtful, witty and kind friends enriched our lives. We never begged one of them to buy us out. (Although today you might think you were buying the place when you see the bill for a week’s rent.)


Sandra, another Facebook friend, says: “It’s happening all over … friends ‘texting’ to a classic landline corded telephone, expecting everyone to have a cell phone and know how to use it. I had to add ‘no texting’ to my island studio signs.”

Someday I will ask to see someone do the text thing. To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen anyone text. When I see it, I will remember it because I am from another age.

I remember the first time I saw the internet. Sam Pennington at the Antique Digest invited me over to his office in Waldoboro to see it. It was a memorable occasion.

I also remember the first telephone call I ever made when we first got a telephone in the house. Like any kid in the sixth grade, I called a classmate. I still remember what I said. Using a telephone for the first time was a big deal.

I was 21 and in the Coast Guard before my father got a TV set. Years before that, I saw dancing rolls of toilet paper on TV at my cousin’s house in Medford. In the late 40s the screen was somewhat green.

I am probably in the last generation to ride in a working buggy pulled by a mule. Not owned by a member of some religious sect, but because that was the way Percy Jones got around when he was a kid and he never changed. I cried because I was very allergic to the mule and couldn’t go near it because the allergy shut down my eyes and lungs. But I was young, and took it for granted that I was going to gag and cry whenever I went with Perce to cut alders for firewood.


Few young people attended a one-room school with no running water as I and others of my generation did.

Things have changed drastically over the past 80 years. Because the rate of change speeds up with every generation, soon every adult will be five or 10 years behind the technology and will, therefore, be as helpless as I am today.

Luckily, this will bother only about 60 percent of the population because, as the whole world knows, almost 40 percent of Americans are already unable to believe science, facts and even what they have seen with their own eyes, content to live in blissful oblivion.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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