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A father and farmer nearing retirement with 3 adult children.

Dear Anna, Peter and Eddie,

Although I have recently been diagnosed as a man in "tip-top condition" by Dr. Lewis, I am nonetheless reminded that time is still passing, and in a couple of years I will have to retire from commercial farming. Don't worry; I'm leaving farming with little in the way of regrets. It has provided your mother and me with enough money to retire.

While tobacco and dairy farming gave my grandfather, father, and me a solid, respectable way to care for our families, I know each of you has other plans for your future. I want to say that I am not disappointed in any of my children for choosing other ways of life. You have each made me proud in your own way.

I am a quiet man, and I know I have never offered much in the way of spiritual guidance. However, I hope that my manner of living has served as a living example of my own moral code.

As you know, this family has had its roots here at Otter Creek since your great-grandpa Jack settled it way back in 1867. I certainly don't expect you to keep the farm; I realize that even little Eddie will follow his big brother and sister to the city. My only request is that the house and the 15 surrounding acres be preserved as a family vacation spot. I want you to bring your children to relax, fish, swim, and have fun pursuing life's simple things, but most importantly, to stick together as a family.

I love you all,