Until five years ago I was a co-owner of the farmland on Jones Rd. near Bloomingburg that contains the 20 acres currently under contention due to the very controversial mega-hog-factory project of an out-of-county businessman. In fact, as the administrator of the estate of my mother, Theresa Craig, who had inherited the land from her parents, I was the person who facilitated its sale.
And would you like to know why the land was offered directly to one particular family of hardworking, reliable farmers rather than going up at auction for sale to the highest bidder, which would have been more profitable for us Craigs? It’s a simple tale of LOYALTY, usually thought of as a good trait.
Theresa Craig said often in her waning years,“I hope the farm won’t have to be sold while I’m still alive … but after I’m gone, please give Duane Matthews first chance at the land.” She felt LOYALTY to Duane and his son Jarod for having helped her husband Harry farm the land. She believed that the Matthews men loved the country way of life, that they had farming “in their blood.”
And I felt LOYALTY to my mother’s wishes, so I encouraged my fellow co-owners—sister Anne Droste, younger brother Richard Craig, and the two children of my beloved late brother David: Jill and Kevin Craig—to offer the land just to Duane, and at a comfortable price. He quickly secured bank financing for the first half of the acreage, and then the next year, for the second half.
My mother had realized after a couple of trips abroad that her greatest pleasure came from the land. In the summers she had enjoyed running sandwiches and sweet tea out to her husband and Duane—working the very fields now in contention. But most of all, Theresa Craig had loved sitting in the evening on her back porch, gazing toward nearby Compton Creek and the fertile fields beyond it, hearing the bullfrogs in the creek and breathing in the fresh air, and feeling a sense of peace and serenity.
How BETRAYED Theresa Craig would feel now in 2016…!