Written by Virginia Wright
From "People, Places & Plants"
Winter 1998 issue, pages
THE 16TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 1997, dawned as a resplendent
sunny postcard in the foothills of western Maine. With the crisp autumn
air providing the happy suggestion of a busy season at hand, Betsey-Ann
Golon and her husband, Dale, worked briskly, yet easily, alongside their
crew at Common Folk Farm.
Six years after buying a windblown farm house on
the back roads of Naples, the Golons had finally hit their stride in
a business known nationwide for its herbal teas, potpourris, cider and
soup mixes. By mid-October, their oldest son, Nathan, was well into
the first semester of his sophomore year at college. Their younger son,
Nicholas, was off enjoying a homecoming celebration at the local high
"It started off," Golon said, "as
the most glorious day you had ever seen."
As quickly as Maine's blue skies can turn to gray,
however, the mood changed. Word came that Nicholas had been in an auto
accident. Rushing to their son's overturned pickup truck, the Golons
watched helplessly while rescue crews from three neighboring towns worked
more than two hours to cut open the vehicle. Nicholas' wounds, though
not fatal, were catastrophic.
For the next six months, through their busiest time
of year, and then a January ice storm that knocked out power at the
farm for nearly two weeks, Betsey-Ann and Dale were at their sons
side almost constantly. They helped him, first to breathe again on his
own, then to feed himself. They held out hope that their rambunctious
16-year-old would learn again to walk.
In the aftermath, the business that had once been
all-consuming could reasonably have disintegrated under the pressure.
It might have, said Betsey-Ann Golon if not for the magic of an October
day that began so well, turned so tragic and then ended so lovingly.
"That night, Dale had to go back to the farm
to gather some belongings," she said, almost a year later. "There
were all kinds of people from the town, our friends, keeping the woodstove
going, putting supper on the table, packing up an order for L.L. Bean
that was due the next day. This has been one of those tests in life,
but Dale and I began counting our blessings right then.
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