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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerFall 2008Editorial – Richard Parker   
 Twenty-three Actions to Take, in Memory of Richard Parker Minimize

Richard Parker and Greengrass
Dick Parker and Greengrass.
Illustration by Nell Parker.

by Jean English
Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener

In my imagination, long-time MOFGA member and dedicated supporter Dick Parker will be sitting in his little folding chair on the Common at the Common Ground Country Fair, listening carefully to all three keynote speeches; sorting, synthesizing and storing the broadcast information; linking anything new and interesting to a vast store of wisdom.

Alas, Dick died last spring, seeming to leave a huge hole in the lives of many and in efforts to steer the world on a better course. At least that’s how I felt until Dick’s memorial, when his talented and resourceful extended family and great network of friends celebrated his lifelong pursuits through poems, songs, memories and a potluck (with compost container). From his daughter Nell came a valuable list of simple and not so simple actions we can do to keep Dick’s spirit and work alive; to help ensure that all of us continue to move the world along the course he envisioned. Here’s the list, with gratitude to Nell.
Teach math to a child.

Wash dishes by hand.

Read out loud in the evening to your family.

Climb Mt. Battie with your child or grandchild.

Sit quietly in nature.

Learn to make the perfect soft boiled egg.

Bake bread. Begin by grinding the grain in a hand grinder. End by bartering a loaf with a friend.

Listen when others are speaking. Think before speaking yourself.

Make pancakes on Sunday morning, and play a Bach cantata.

Work for an integrity in all levels of your life that aligns actions with principles.

Try to understand how scientific and mathematical principles underlie daily life.

Embrace your civic responsibility. Vote. Write your congresspeople. Attend town meeting. Speak out.

Write a poem in thankfulness and praise of life.

Read labels. Read poems. Read the newspapers and magazines. Read the fine print. Read instruction manuals. Read before signing.

File neatly what is necessary to keep.

Consider the future consequences of any action.

Eschew air travel.

Research and explore the greater complexities of any problem or question.

Be kind and patient.

Make compost.

Give more to others than you ask in return from them.

Savor and support art, music, theater and literature that encourages people to think more deeply.

Find places where it is dark enough to see the stars.

Someone at the memorial also mentioned the many pleasant memories of having afternoon tea with Dick and Beedy; and I myself spent many hours sitting with the couple in their sunroom, sipping tea while getting valuable input and reflection that helped with editing The MOF&G. Beedy reminds me now of Satish Kumar’s philosophy: “Any time is tea time!” I am grateful for the tea time spent with Dick, for Nell’s uplifting list – and for Nell’s accompanying illustration of Dick with a pet parakeet that liked to perch on heads. Our sympathy goes out to this outstanding family.


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