THE BROTHERS GREEN
Ages: 80 & 85. Farmers; retired. Condition: Gall bladder, arthritus, gout, insomnia, aches & pains, old age & sour grapes.
Bud and Herb Green have been farmers all their lives. They are brothers, born at home, born to farming. Herb was actually born in the cellar during a thunderstorm. Though they are five years apart in age, they've been living together on the family farm in Michigan so long they have become like twins. They dress alike, in work shirts, denim overalls and straw cowboy hats. They walk and speak alike, and even finish sentences for one another, just like an old married couple.
The brothers had not seen much of the world. The family had been there for several generations. Their parents had died and left the farm to them. They continued to live as generations had done before them, farming the same ground, raising vegetables and fruit and chickens and eggs and honeybees and all the things they needed for themselves. They cut their own firewood for winter heat. They grew a small crop of fruit in the orchard, which they sold for expense money. They baked their own bread and made their own wine. And they distilled a small amount of corn liquor and brandy on the kitchen stove, for medicinal purposes. They even saved seed from the pumpkins and corn and squash and tomatoes and cucumbers to sprout and grow next year's garden, so they wouldn't have to spend money to buy seed.
The Brothers Green were self-sufficient, able to produce all the essential things they needed to survive, seldom having to leave their own property. Their bank was an old sock, hidden in the bottom of their tackle box. They did not have TV. They did not take the newspaper. Visitors were rare. Bud and Herb lived a quiet, peaceful country life, for 80 plus years, with little contact with the modern world. For them, time stood still.
Then one day an engineer advised the state that the farm belonging to the brothers Green would make a good route for the new Interstate highway. Bud and Herb had never seen an Interstate highway. They were still driving their antuque Dodge pick-up on dirt roads and shooting deer over the hood when they got the chance. When a guy with a bulldozer showed up and started knocking down trees in their orchard, Bud gave him a warning and then peppered him with rock salt shot from his old shotgun. He had planted those trees bare root and tended them all their lives. Who was this madman on the bulldozer?
The bulldozer driver found himself back in time about 100 years, the rock salt beginning to sting. Shotgun shells loaded with rock salt instead of lead pellets is an old country remedy for thieves and other pests that you don't necessarily want to kill. Though, they'll remember which farm to avoid. Not prepared to deal with an armed attacker or rock salt, the bulldozer driver ran off leaving his machine behind.
Pretty soon, the riot squad came crawling up, surrounded the farm and contained the situation. They arrested Bud for assault with a deadly weapon and ran him through the system, judged him mentally incompetent and locked him up in a mental institution. Welcome to the future, Bud.
Bud's daughter is a friend of mine, living in San Francisco. She went to Michigan, to petition the court to release her father into her custody, with the assurance that she would sell the family farm and take her father to live with her in California.
Her request was granted. She sold the farm and brought Bud and Herb to live with her in California. With the money from the sale of the farm, and a little more donated by friends, she was able to buy a foreclosure property, a small country cottage on a single acre, with some river frontage. Bud and Herb were happy. They grew a large vegetable garden and fished in the river. They had their social security now and did not need to raise an orchard crop for income. Life was pretty good. Then Bud's gall bladder gave out.
Bud had been a wine drinker. There was always a gallon jug of "100% Pure Wine" sitting on the round oak table. Bud offered the jug and a clean jelly jar to every visitor. He sipped wine all day and a little more heavily in the evening, sitting next to the cast iron wood stove in the living room. Yes, life was pretty good.
But then the gall bladder had to be removed. Which meant that Bud could no longer drink his wine. And that was a serious matter. Without the wine, life was not so good. Bud was unhappy, cranky, his sleep was disturbed, the arthritus was troubling him, painful gout flared up, digestion was affected.
So one day I gave Bud some marijuana seeds and informed him that with these he could grow some medicinal plants in his garden that would replace or exceed the benefits he had been getting from the wine. I warned him that these plants were illegal in the eyes of the federal government. "So is making corn liquor," he responded. So Bud planted the marijuana in his garden, behind a patch of corn which shielded the marijuana from view from the front of the property.
Being an experienced farmer, Bud raised a fine crop of marijuana. His plants were more than 12 feet tall, and the sun leaves measured more than 15 inches across. The strain was Afghan #1. Once the first crop came in and Bud began using it, he wondered why he'd ever been a wine drinker. Instead of his wine jug, he now keeps a Half&Half tobbacco can on the table, full of marijuana buds. Now, instead of wine, he offers marijuana to his guests. He fills his old briar pipe with marijuana. And life is good again. Or was. Until the fight.
One afternoon, Bud and Herb got into a fight. No one remembers why. But these two old fellows in their eighties were out in the driveway in front of their house, yelling and cursing and throwing empty gallon wine jugs at one another, that Bud had saved and stored beneath the front porch. The jugs were breaking in the driveway and street. The noise of the yelling and breaking glass caused neighbors to call police.
When the sherrif arrived, a deputy spied the marijuana growing above the corn! Though the corn was 12 feet high, the marijuana was even higher! Bud and Herb were arrested and charged with cultivation with intent to sell marijuana. All of their marijuana was cut down and confiscated. It filled the back of four sherrif's cars.
At the arraignment, the judge asked Bud why an 80 year old man was cultivating marujuana. Bud explained about the gall bladder and the wine and how marijuana was a good substitute.
The judge did not think these two old men were drug lords. If they were not medical, they plainly should be. So he dismissed the charges, with a warning to Bud that he should not grow any more marijuana. Bud responded by saying "I'm an old man. My health is poor and I don't have much time left. Life is not good without my wine. Marijuana makes a difference. Your deputies have destroyed my garden. I'm going home now to plant some more."