Readers respond to columns about farming, personal space and reflecting

The moon turns orange-red during a lunar eclipse as it begins to set below a tree in Clovis just before dawn on Wednesday, Jan. 32, 2018. The moon is often a subject of poetry.
The moon turns orange-red during a lunar eclipse as it begins to set below a tree in Clovis just before dawn on Wednesday, Jan. 32, 2018. The moon is often a subject of poetry. Fresno Bee file

The readers of this column have been active with their comments, so it’s time now to give them their space.

Many readers thanked me for the column I wrote about David Santos and his 49 years in farming. Most of them talked with me in grocery and drug stores and other places in Los Banos. One reader took the time to write:

Dear John, I just read your article in the Enterprise about David Santos. My father, Mateus Souza, took David under his wing and treated him like a son when he was very young and began farming. He would give David advice and made land available to him at a reasonable rate to help him get established. My father was a dairy farmer who also raised alfalfa, corn, melons etc. After he sold the dairy, he continued to raise crops and sold heifers. He would go out in the middle of the night and drive a tractor for David at no charge to help secure success for David.

He wanted David to be successful and helped him out. My father had three girls, so David was like a son to him. I’m proud of my father for being instrumental in helping David get started in the farming industry.

— Lori Souza Ingram

Lori, thank you for your email. When I interviewed David Santos for the article, he talked about your father’s help and how much he appreciated it. Unfortunately, that was one of the many pieces of David’s life I had to leave out due to the limited space of my column.

Several readers told me they enjoyed my column on “The Poem of the Day,” including this one:

John, thank you for this column. I periodically read poetry. I simply HATED e. e. cummings! But my professor brought him to life by bringing in a 78 record of cummings reading a few of his poems. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and resonance of his voice.


I appreciate your enjoyment of poems; I, too, like e.e. cummings.

The recent column that received the most feedback was “A Room of My Own.” It struck a chord with many people who appreciate individual spaces. One reader pointed out that with a room of my own comes additional expectations:

Dear John,

Congratulations on all that space. Fancy having a room of your own and one for your wife. Now we expect more written production. Stay with the meditations!


Thank you for your congratulations, and I appreciate your expectation. However, the goal of a room of my own is not to produce more but to reflect more. However, I like your encouragement to stay with the meditations. That, indeed, is what I intend to do.

One of my readers was especially empathic with my thoughts on a special room:

Hi, John,

I enjoyed your article ‘A Room of My Own.’ I, too, think it is important for a person to have a place to call his own. I have been lucky that for years I have had a studio where I can paint and not have to put everything away.

When we purchased our home in Los Banos, I had a large bedroom that I turned into my studio. Upon moving to Roseburg, I turned my master bedroom into my studio.

I am happy you now have a room just for you. May you have many hours of simple pleasure in your study.

I look forward to reading your articles. Keep up the great work.

— Dorothy

Thank you for your thoughtful email. I am glad that you have a room of your own that reflects your interests and talents, an art studio. I think everyone should have a space like that.

Another reader empathized with me:

Dear John,

I’m now retired. I’m gradually ‘processing’ all the books and papers of my working life. I so enjoyed your article; I identified immediately with the thoughtfulness of matching room utility and design with the time in one’s life and what one values.

My best,


John, I can understand your identification with my column. Retirement is a time for taking inventory of what a person has and what a person still needs.

You are processing before I did. I procrastinated for years after my retirement until moving into a different home forced me to re-evaluate what I have.

In the move, for example, I ended up giving away many books I’ve had for years, but I kept the books I most treasure. That told me much about what I currently value.

John Spevak wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. His email is john.spevak@gmail.com