My Uncle Martin Wood was a Saintly Man

My cousin Don Wood has been an avid hunter all his life. He told me that the tastiest game flesh he had ever experienced is the Canadian caribou. Don was born and raised on a dairy farm near Cobleskill (pronounced KOBOSKILL) NY and worked the farm all his life. In the 1950s the dirt road which ran for miles had about 40 active farms. Now there are perhaps only 2 or 3 active farms. His farm did not get electricity until the late 1940s. I once asked Don about politics and he explained that most farmers were Republican because they were small businesses. One truth, said in jest, was that the farmer is the only person who buys retail (a hammer in hardware, let us say) and sells WHOLESALE (to the dairy.) Don and his father Martin (my uncle) are two of the most moral men I have ever known in my life and I was around them for months at a time. Martin and Don only had intimacy with one woman in matrimony for their entire lives. Neither drank alcohol, used tobacco, used foul language, told dirty jokes or gossiped or spoke ill of anyone. And yet neither man was what you would call a church-goer apart from the occasional wedding or funeral. I questioned Don and his wife Lolita in detail once about their religious notions and they both readily agreed that once you die there is nothing beyond (no afterlife or rebirth). It was amazing for me to experience briefly the lives of people who are so upright and yet so secular. When I was ages 9, 10, 11 I spent a lot of time around both men as they worked and I totally TOOK IT FOR GRANTED that they were so virtuous. Only when I reached my 40s did I reflect upon how unique and saintly they are.

My uncle was a dairy farmer all his life. When I was age 10 I stayed there for the summer. I would get up at 5 am and watch him shave WITH A STRAIGHT RAZOR and a leather strop to sharpen it. Then he would cook up about 6 eggs and also have cereal with CREAM and milk. Of course the eggs and milk were from his own livestock. He did very heavy physical labor 7 days a week. He lived into his 80s. I am not certain what he died of. But obviously there are people who can eat lots of eggs and survive. I am sure the daily physical exertion played a key role in longevity.


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