News from Vermont #
November 27, 2015
Hello again Maple People,
Our most recent deer hunting season has now passed and, once again, I didn’t get out and join the ranks as a hunter. Not being in the hunting “loop”, I even forget to dress for the season when I go out on our acreage. The other day as I headed to cut Balsam boughs, one of the girls who works in our farm store stopped me. “Burr”, she said, “You can’t go like that. You’re dressed just like a deer!”. My eyes cast downward past my brown winter jacket to my tan trousers. Without missing a beat, Jake from mail order chimed in, “Don’t we have some antlers around here somewhere?”.
Jake, my nephew, is always joking…heck, he even jokes about being my nephew. Many times when I introduce him to other folks, he reacts to their questioning look by siding right up to me and saying “don’t you see the family resemblance?”. You see, Jacob Shattuck started his life far from the hills of Vermont in a South Vietnam orphanage. My sister Susie and her husband Dean adopted him when he was just a toddler. They had only seen him in pictures and read of his lineage, but that was enough…they knew that this little guy would be their son.
It was November 9, 1973 and I was part of a Morse/Shattuck contingent heading toward a different kind of “birthing room” at Kennedy Airport. Our baby arrived at 2:55 PM on Air France Flight 77. We watched through big glass windows as tired looking people started appearing from an international flight…businessmen, college students, men in turbans, women in sarees. In the middle of this human stream was a group of Vietnamese orphans and their chaperones. The children’s faces showed fear or outward tears, sans one…our Jake, an undersized two-and-a-half-year-old toddled along holding the hand of a woman. He looked up at all of us with a huge grin on his face, a grin that said “I know you guys. What took you so long?”. My father always said the grin was especially for him, Jake’s new grandfather but, as we would find, it reflected a love for us all. It not only has remained indelible for the last forty-two years but has represented one of the most “giving” people I’ve ever known.
Jake has spent most of his work life “bouncing” between Vermont’s biggest corporations, Ben and Jerry’s, Burton Snow Boards, and Green Mountain Coffee, but never quite found the right fit. A couple years ago, my son Tommy suggested we hire him at Morse Farm and I jumped at it. I knew he’d be a good employee but I didn’t know just how good. He’s been in charge of our mail order for a year now and goes above and beyond with every package and every person. I recently heard him saying something like: “being here just somehow seems right” and that’s obvious…the grin speaks again. Whether it was starting his life a malnourished toddler a half world away, or just part of his DNA, he has a world-class attitude and knows where he belongs…Jacob Shattuck, great Vermonter and Morse Farm employee.