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Gary is the longest serving employee currently working at Pearson Farm. Like so many others, Gary came to the Farm because he had a family member working here. He has held many jobs over the years but today he runs the specialty pack line during peach season and co-runs the cleaning plant with Frank (you met him a few weeks ago ) for pecans. I always ask our full-time Pearson Farm “Family” members which season is their favorite. The seasons are equally busy but at the same time very different so I'm always interested in hearing their opinions. Gary told me that pecan season is his favorite but as I listened to him talk about his job it became clear that his favorite time on the Farm isn't during a season at all. It's that lull between the seasons. The dark, cold and blustery months leading up to Peach Season and the brisk, changing, and colorful months before we start harvesting pecans. It's during these days that Gary gets to spend time with Mr. Al. They lay out new plans for the packing house and cleaning plant. They spend countless hours repairing machinery, installing conveyors, belts and drives as well as cutting, welding and even making from scratch, new equipment for the packing house and cleaning plant. And since Gary has been here upwards of 20 years, he's spent some real quality time working side by side with Mr. Al. They're close, they're friends….. they're “Family.”On Monday of this past week, Gary celebrated his 50th Birthday! I watched in amazement as “Family” members began whispering, collecting money, and making plans for a surprise lunch time celebration. It was so much fun watching him as they gathered around and sang “Happy Birthday” and I think he really was surprised. I spoke with others throughout the week that shared special birthday messages they had sent to him and was even able to pass along one such message. It is abundantly clear how everyone at Pearson Farm feels about Gary.One of my favorite movies is “Doc Hollywood.” I love the scene where Doc Hogue is in his hospital bed recovering from a heart attack surrounded by his friends when Dr. Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox) walks in the room and throws away Ms. Maddie's sweet potato pie, he takes away Doc Hogue's pipe and tries to shoo away all the visitors and Doc Hogue says, “Oh don't mind him, Hollywood doesn't know what it means to be beloved.” When I first saw the movie, I didn't know exactly what beloved meant either but I loved the line so much that I looked it up and here is what I found…… beloved means "much loved." It's a word commonly used as an adjective, like describing a beloved pet or beloved friend but when we use it as a noun it's meaning seems somewhat more powerful. As I prepared for this week's “Family” post, talked with many around the Farm and watched everyone make special plans to celebrate Gary's birthday, that word, “beloved”, kept coming to my mind. I can't think of any higher compliment you can pay a person than to say they are beloved. I sure hope Gary knows what it means, because within his Pearson Farm "FAMILY", he is most definitely BELOVED!!

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