Back in May 2007, I posted on Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World. I was surprised and pleased to receive the following email from one, Robert Skoglund. He was nice enough to title the email, “Robert thanks the Squirrel”. I liked that. Robert, you’re most welcome and it was my pleasure.
The painting features Christina who had a degenerative muscular dystrophy disease, crawling back towards her home on a small hill after visiting her parent’s graves on the farm’s ground. It transpires that Robert was a close friend and neighbour to both Christina’s and Andrew’s families.
Robert Skoglund is himself a Maine institution and has even been described as a National Treasure. He has been broadcasting on Maine Public Broadcasting Network for 28 years. He is known as “the humble Farmer” and his program plays jazz music which is interspersed by dry, witty commentaries by Robert about the world around him. He has a large following of fans both in Maine and beyond.
However, the same witty remarks or “rants” as he calls it, got him in trouble with Network bosses when his comments on President Bush was viewed as too political. When the humble Farmer stood his ground, the Network shut down his program in June this year. There have been a number of ground-swelling of expressions of support from his fans and a number of petitions to have his show re-instated.
“The kerfuffle started Nov. 3, days before Maine voters were to decide on a so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights—a tax-restraint measure of the kind that could cut spending on state-subsidized services such as public broadcasting (they defeated it.) On that evening’s program, Skoglund read a letter from a Maryland listener outlining negative effects of a similar measure in that state.”
“In February 2003, as war with Iraq appeared increasingly inevitable, he read a commentary in which he condemned war and an unnamed “war-mongering, rat-faced wimp” who “calls himself the leader” and is spoiling for a conflict.”
I hope that the humble Farmer wins his battle with what he views as agents of censorship – which I agree with him. I wish him and his wife well and thank him for taking time in the midst of his radio program troubles to write me a short but meaningful email.
Robert Thanks the Squirrel
I read your interesting Blog on Christina’s World. I live about a mile from that house and bought a table for a dollar or so when they sold all the furniture out of the house 30 or 40 years ago. We keep the toaster on that table in our dining room.
Andy painted me in 1951, but left me out of the final draft when he finished the painting.
You’ll find a picture of Christina’s house on my RadioFriends web site. Also pictures of Andy’s brother in law, my friend the late Dudley Rockwell, who was docent at that house for years.
Thanks for an interesting web site.
Robert Karl Skoglund 785 River Road St. George,
ME 04860 207-226-7442
MORE LINKS TO “the humble Farmer.”
A page of links to humble’s fun-filled radio show. Did you know that Robert Skoglund, The humble Farmer, stands on stages and tells funny stories? Ask humble to entertain you and your friends with dry stories like these: http://www.thehumblefarmer.com/PortlandA.html
2/22/07 Christian Science Monitor Profile on humble http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0222/p20s01-algn.html?page=1
You are invited to stop by for supper anytime.
Robert Karl Skoglund 785 River Road St. George, ME 04860 207-226-7442 http://firstname.lastname@example.org