What do you do when you wake up in the morning? Before I even open my eyes I often think for an hour. Today I started by wondering why hunters always hold up the deer’s head and photograph that instead of the end, where most of the meat is.

Sometimes it takes months of lying awake in the morning to figure out why people do what they do.

My friend, Jay Cook, who lives three miles away, put in a huge lush garden for me. In August, I realized that all the deer in his woods had moved up here because my carrot tops were tastier than his. Although the deer didn’t touch my young peach trees, they certainly eyed them and are saving the tender young shoots for the days of deep snow.

The day after hunting season ended, four deer – father, mother and two youngsters who gamboled like small calves – blatantly browsed on my back lawn. Deer seem to know.

Whatever happened to the deerslayers of yore? Too many Maine men are now sportsmen instead of hungry hunters. They cross my lawn carrying gun, thermos and heated stool. At dusk they stop in and tell me that the peace and quiet out in my forest was wonderful. They saw a huge buck, but he was too beautiful to shoot and can they hunt again tomorrow.

While lying in bed I also think of things I used to do. It’s comforting because I don’t have to do them again. Sixty years ago, I stopped buying shaving cream. You might remember shaving cream. It came in a can and there was a picture of a muscular man in the ad, standing by a bathroom sink, with a face that looked like it had been shoved into a banana cream pie.


I have vague memories of reading that President Kennedy shaved in the bathtub, which sounded like a good idea. The only problem was finding a can of shaving cream that would float in the tub. That must have been when I discovered that I could use soap to shave. For years I had been conned by the purveyors of shaving cream.

Perce was an old rum runner from Milbridge who showed me how to sharpen a razor blade by rubbing it inside a glass so I could get a year out of a blade.

There came a day when I started taking a shower instead of a bath. Is taking a bath any different than a water buffalo soaking in a small, muddy pond? Yes. I got that from a story called “My Grandmother and the Dirty English,” and you know how hard it is to let such an image go. Also, since way back then the razors with the blue plastic handles have been improved – to the point where I got one yesterday that would not shave at all.

Before we put a man on Mars, I’d like to see modern technology produce a razor blade that can be sharpened inside a glass. I’d also like a fence that will keep Jay Cook’s deer from eating my young peach trees.

Sports like cribbage, bridge and scrabble do not interest me because they entail competition and I pride myself upon never voluntarily having competed in anything. So it might surprise you to hear that, at the age of 87, I have taken up a sport that can be practiced while lying flat on my back in bed.

In my left eye is a round, clear, floater that resembles a small drop of water. There is a round, recessed light in the ceiling directly over the bed, and the sport works like this: I try to move that floater into the round light into the ceiling, much like Larry Bird would try to put a basketball through a hoop.

My game is more difficult than basketball and is more like the Aztec game of getting a ball through a stone hoop fastened sideways on the wall. The only difference is that when you are playing at home in bed, and not on the Aztec court, you do not get executed for losing.

You are, however, very likely to hear a voice from the kitchen suggesting that you get up and do something.

The humble Farmer can be visited at www.thehumblefarmer.com.

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