Many, many years ago I happened to be present on the day that Stefan Kirkpatrick was born. His parents were good and trusted friends, and I was happy to be a part of both that day and the early part of his life that followed.
When Stefan was two-going-on-three years old, I was, for a heady couple of months, his nanny. In El Paso, Texas. Which is a longer story for another day.
One of the elements of our daily life during that period, Stefan and I, trapped in suburbia on the cusp of America, was a cassette tape of The Three Little Pigs.
Stefan loved that tape, and wanted to listen to it over and over and over and over. And over.
I am, I think, a patient man at heart, but the 339th listening of The Three Little Pigs almost pushed me over the edge.
But I survived.
That I was able to emerge with my faculties intact from that nannying experience was, in no small way, what gave me the confidence to think that I had it in me to be a father; I owe him a great debt for that.
Young Stefan is now slightly less young: he is in his twenties and lives on the shore in Nova Scotia. He is a parent himself. And, with his partner Desiree Gordon, a farmer of water buffaloes. Which is what you hear Stefan and Desiree talking to CBC Information Morning’s Phlis McGregor about in this radio piece.
My favourite part of the interview is when Stefan talks about the nature of the water buffalo as a large, dangerous, friendly beast:
They’re so gentle. It’s like any kind of large tool that can kill you: you still have to be cautious of the fact that they’re massive creatures. But they’re really easy to get along with. Really friendly.
My small slice of a contribution to Stefan’s upbringing was likely insignificant in shaping what he’s grown into as a human being, but could it be that whatever patience allowed me to play The Three Little Pigs for the 340th and 341st times engendered both the patience for and interest in small scale agriculture? Let’s say yes, just for fun.