TASHA GORAL'S STORY
“We get sprayed more and more each year. It’s presently so bad that we may have to leave our farmstead.” And she makes reference to her connection to Ginkgo Tree Cafe, in Dixon. This caught my immediate interest. Soon as I spotted a hole in my demandin' schedule, me and my dogs in pickup, were on our way ta Dixon.
Ruby May had pre-scouted this Ginkgo Tree place out. Told me where it was, the good impression that it left her with. She gave it high marks fer bein' done in quite a tasteful fashion. I wasn't disappointed. Not in the least.
This was spur-of-the-moment, ya understand. I'm un-pre-announced. “Tasha?” I question ta the first young lady I run inta.
“She's in the back, at the kitchen,” I get in response.
Ruby May had told me of the somewhat unique kitchen arrangement, also givin' it high marks. Ruby May's been around. Positives don't flow from her flippantly. Again, she was right.
There are several females scurryin’ around these big stove tops and ovens. Gosh! Did the food cookin' ever exude delicious, mouth waterin' aromas.
“Tasha?” Again I question, this gettin' a brief relay to Tasha, who's just then deep in the back. She gets the idea that there's this gray old fart at the counter wantin' ta talk with her. Wipin' her hands on her apron, she marches right out. I introduce myself, briefly relay reason fer me bein' there, right then. We share hand shakes. First impression, this lady wasn't no lightweight.
I love smart and beautiful females. I had no problem what-so-ever, bull-shittin' with this very agreeable personage. She opened up with her frustrations with very little probing. All the sickness they'd, at first mysteriously, gone through. Herself, her two young and lovely daughters; one was hangin' right there, all ears at first, looked ta be maybe six er seven. And their father, too. He'd really gone down hard, several times, that they directly tied to aircraft applied chemicals. On way-too-windy days they'd experienced drifted toxic sprays that had set them on a dead run fer the house. But you could smell it some even in there. “We could taste it, it was that strong.”
COMPLAINTS DID NO GOOD
Complaints to farmers did absolutely no good. A complaint got made to Il. Dept. of Ag. An investigator came out but admitted there was very little he could do. Having not been on the scene when the incident occurred. There’s like one investigator for a multi county area. An area impossible for him to police.
They love their six acre place. They'd always wanted to grow their own clean fruits and vegetables. But bein' bordered by chem. ag., they're findin' that ta be impossible.
How many others dream of just five er six acres, out in the country, and doin' just about what they'd planned? Hell! A hundred acres, surrounded by hundreds of other non-ag. acres, wasn't enough fer us. The truth is...there's almost no escape if you live in or around chem. ag. Those livin' in towns ain't free from chem. ag.'s ill effects, either...they just don’t know it, don’t experience it quite so directly.
Easy as I found her ta talk to, I had ta push off. The father of them two kids, who'd got knocked flat by aerial spray, he was next on my list. Dion. He's a barber with a shop just a good block away from the Ginkgo Tree.
Dion's a friend of the Rev. Marques, who's a regular at our Grove Creek Chapter of the Church of the Earth Firsters gatherings. More er less, the Rev. had sorta prepped me.
THE DISGRUNTLED BARBER
He was busy cuttin' hair with a couple customers waitin'. I introduced myself and, yeah, Marques had told him of me.
“I didn't meet you, but I met one of your dogs, just the other night,” Dion states. Yeah, I was aware that he and my all-around guard dog, Candy, had met several days before. He was workin' his way to Marques' far-back-in-the-woods, sugar shack. Among other things, Marques taps maple trees.
I was on another trail, headin' in the opposite direction, back to the warmth of the wood stove, here in my ratty-ass little cabin.
“I just finished interviewing yer wife. And I like ta get yer insight on your chemical problems,” says me.
He comes on sorta aggressive, exclaimin' that he had absolutely no faith that anything can be done. He's a complete skeptic with respect to any governmental agency. IL. Dept. of Ag., EPA, “None of them agencies are workin' for us, none of 'em!” He settled some, perhaps understandin' that he was preachin' to the choir. He is a very active speaker, he puts his whole body inta it.
He confirmed Tasha's account of family sicknesses. His own he claimed as quite severe incident after severe incident. He then set to unfolding. To say that he was not in love with chemical ag. is a bit of an understatement.
He told of an incident that occurred there in his shop, just two seats to my left. An investigator of some sort from either the EPA or IL. Dept. of Ag., he couldn't remember which, interviewed him with respect to aerial spraying complaints.
After the interview, to which Dion didn't give up much, the guy took off his credentials and said he could now vent his anger however he felt; indicating that he felt just about the same as Dion, admitting there was almost nothing he could do within the prevailing agency's policies, which was to find every way possible to support chemical ag.
“Corn is king,” was the statement Dion took away from this encounter. “You've got to understand that here in Illinois, corn is king!” this investigator repeatedly stated.
“Them little yellow planes!” he comes out. “When they show up we pack up the kids and escape ta town. You can still smell that stuff when we get back. Wind! Hell, that doesn’t stop ‘em. You can see the stuff blowin’ like crazy, but that don’t stop ‘em.”
CORN IS KING!
Dumb me. Imaginin' me thinkin' that in a free and open democracy the people were sovereign.
Dion gave me several leads, others I could talk to, fellow complainers. Naturally, I'll follow 'em up.
“You know, Brother David, we’re getting more information and leads on chemical complaint stories than you can possibly keep up with,” Kendra wants me ta know.
“Yeah. Whew! When we first started this Eco Vig, I was a bit concerned with havin’ enough material ta keep writin’ this stuff. Not anymore, though. Shoot no! Oh what luxury ta be able ta pick and chose.”
“Why don’t you do that crop duster plane without traceable owners, or numbers one?” Ruby May wants to know.
“Ain’t researched it, quite enough, yet. But I’ll definitely do it.”
“How about the bees and the butterflies then?” Marques asks.
“The bees, the butterflies. Yeah. That better suits my ‘right now’ mood.”