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A special sale honoring a special lady and a special program

Nana out on a cool day this spring at the egg mobile.

This next Wednesday, Nov. 28th, EVERY penny will go to Hospice of the Piedmont to honor this lady, Nan Brewer, my mom. Some of you met her at the egg sales, some of you know her only through my mention of her. What you may or may not know is that a few weeks ago she went home to be with Jesus.

In addition to 100 percent of the money from egg/shirt/jam sales going to the non-profit Hospice of the Piedmont, Farmer Tom and Kathleen will also match it all from our personal savings. That means if you get a dozen eggs and put in $10 instead of $5, we'll match your $10 by donating an additional $10 to hospice. So if $20 goes in for eggs, we'll add another $20 to it. We're hoping our customers might pay in a little (or a lot) more than normal, and that when we match it, the good folks at Hospice of the Piedmont will be able to feel the warmth and kindness of Earlysville that is known to those of us who live here. It also means next week, Nov. 28th, we'll be asking you to make checks out to Hospice of the Piedmont, NOT to Jolly Folly Farm when you pay.

Why do something like this?

Well, just because, that's why. If you've been buying from us for awhile, you know that a few times a year we give all our egg sales away. Not our profit, but ALL of it. And, to be honest, if you know us, you know we couldn't give away our profit anyway because our commitment to the best feed, ecologically sound cartons and humane practices means we lose money on every dozen eggs we produce (that would NOT be a good deal for any charity or needy cause to get a negative balance donation).

Right, so we lose a lot of money every year producing eggs -- so you're asking again, WHY are we giving away what we take in? Because it's the right thing to do. I learned a lot from my mom (some good, some bad). But she was a prime example of if you can do something, do it now. Like right now. Get off your butt and do it. NOW! (She was a tough lady). It was this example that has allowed me to try, finish, or accomplish anything in my life. She lived it and she demanded it of her children (admittedly, I've not been as good about demanding it from my kids). It's also this example that allowed me to get up and dust myself off after, well, anything. I'm grateful for that and it allows me to look at anything and say "So what? Just do something."

My dad and I were able to take care of Mom because we were committed to just doing what we knew life expected of us. One of the hospice nurses who visited us, when we thanked her and said we appreciated her, shrugged and said "I do it because I can; if you can do it, you should." It's the reason we felt fortunate to care for Mom at home, it was something we were able to do, that not everyone can. It's the reason we use the most humane practices and environmentally friendly feed and supplies -- because it's the right thing to do and we can (don't worry, we still pay the bills, it's just they're paid from the other jobs we work). And that's the same reason we will be donating 100 percent of everything this week, plus matching it to Hospice of the Piedmont. It's the right thing to do.

Why this week?

Well, we would have been celebrating my mom's 79th birthday this coming week. And, as she taught us to do when we were growing up, when you're feeling bad, toss those feelings aside (or stuff them deep, deep down...) and stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something for someone else to make yourself feel better.

Why not just write a check instead of doing a sale?

Because we want you to know how great Hospice of the Piedmont is, and by doing a sale, it gives us a chance to shine a light on the awesome people in your community. Some of you reading this live far away, we encourage you to support your local hospice however you can (with a donation, a visit, or volunteering). Locally, our Hospice of the Piedmont is nearly all "hospice at home" care. Having grown up in an area where one "goes to Hospice" for end of life, I was surprised by that. The "hospice house" here is very small, which means most hospice patients remain in their own homes (which is really, what most of us desire -- a peaceful death at home).

That means out and about on these country roads you drive, there are scores of people, in their own home, receiving care from family members assisted by trained hospice nurses. One of our nurses said there are about 400 people in home hospice care with them at one time. That means thousands of family members and hundreds of health professionals working around the clock to provide the best, most dignified, end of life care possible.

I am fortunate to have a family who took the short end of the stick while I cared for my mom, but she was my mom, and I owed her that. The professionals at Piedmont of the Hospice didn't know my mom, but they came in and treated her with the utmost care, concern and dignity one could imagine. At the beginning of our short time with Hospice, they came once a week to check her and answer my questions. Near the end, they came for a visit every day to assess her, adapt meds on a daily basis and offer hands-on help. Diana the CNA, Sara the RN, Dinah the RN became part of a team with my family and they did so with grace, respect and professionalism that made a very difficult time a little bit less difficult.

There were other nurses who answered questions on the phone, substitutes who came when the regulars weren't available, and the night-time nurse who came one night in the small hours to help me make sense of what I was seeing. You won't know them until you need them, you won't see them unless they're coming to YOUR house, but it's important to let you know that up and down these roads are AMAZING people, driving to homes to help the dying and support the living in ways you cannot imagine until you are that person.

You know how we at Jolly Folly Farm are big about touting community. If we just write a check, it's nothing more than Farmer Tom and Farmer Kathleen returning something to Hospice of the Piedmont. Nothing more than two people saying "thanks" for a few nurses' help to one person. But by sharing their mission with you, it becomes something more -- a small community gratefully acknowledging Hospice's efforts for all of us who live out here: not only for the many they have already served, but to pay it forward for those among us who will call on them next.

For that reason, we hope to let them know their generosity of spirit will always be returned to them here in Earlysville. It's the way many of us out here live. My mom may have been the person they helped last month, but it will be someone else next week, next month or next year who needs them. When they are asked, they will come to Earlysville and do what they do best -- they will offer end of life care for your friend, your neighbor or your family member -- and we are grateful. We are grateful for their skill and knowledge, but most of all, we are grateful because they honor our little community by allowing us to die in the same way we choose to live -- RIGHT HERE, among the people and places we love most.

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