Life in small town America

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PQ Smith – The Farmer in the Park

North East is is a very unique town in many ways.  People congregate in Gibson Park for many fun activities, celebrations and just to sit and enjoy the summer. These people have taught me so much about life so you will read about them here.  The first one, PQ Smith, was laid to rest today after 86 years, and I know we are all better for having known him.

When I first came to North East, I was introduced to the Farmer in the Park.  His name was PQ Smith.   Being the nosy person that I am (must be the journalist in me), I blurted out ‘What does PQ mean?’  Paul, in his special and humorous way said, ‘Pretty quick I might mind my Ps and Qs.’

His sense of humor was the first thing that made me realize this man, who is part of the Greatest Generation, was someone who lived every day to the fullest.  He made me laugh at myself the first day I met him and that is a rich gift I will always cherish.
PQ initiated me into the Farmer’s Market experience right away by offering a small green pepper to me to eat while I was contemplating other vegetables to buy.  Since I love peppers, I bit this small version of what I thought was a sweet pepper.  Little did I know that it was a Jalapeno pepper that sent me racing to the park water fountain.  I also didn’t know that water made the burn even hotter.  With a blister on my lip and a new love for hot peppers, I knew from that day we would become fast friends.

PQ always entered his great farm fresh vegetables in the North East Community Fair and one day while he was placing his entries, he introduced me to his dear wife Madeline.  She and I were able to teach together for several years at North East High School .  It was fun having someone like Madeline who had read the same books I had to chat about on every occasion we could.  PQ, thanks for sharing your wife because she is a great book buddy.

This Farmer in the Park changed the way we viewed the town park.  Thirty-one years later, there are several farmers who set up tables with delicious summer fare on Thursdays. Come on Thursdays and you will enjoy the fruits of the Earth. PQ, you started something BIG! No, I won’t bite the Jalapenos!

Yes, I will miss this gentleman, who made everyone laugh and spread common sense knowledge though his use of puns and twists of language.