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Uncommon Folk
Written by Virginia Wright
From "People, Places & Plants"
Winter 1998 issue, pages 52-55

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 school.

"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 son’s 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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