Adorable new book is based on a local farmer

2 Aug

If you’ve ever driven down Lake Road in Ontario, perhaps you’ve occasionally seen a farmer standing by his fence giving you a huge smile and wave. If so, then you’ve “met” Bob, the main character of a brand new children’s book written by Pultneyville resident Keith Herman called Baby Donkeys for Sale.

Bob and his wife Karen own Wychmere Farms, a large, picturesque farm about a half mile east of Ontario Center Rd. For years, whenever Bob’s been out tending to his land and donkeys, he’s tossed a friendly wave to each passing car. For folks who frequently travel along Lake Road, Farmer Bob has become kind of a local hero. His friendliness has brightened the day for thousands of travelers, usually eliciting smiles and hearty waves in return.

Keith Herman is one of those thousands whose life Farmer Bob has touched. He has smiled and waved back along with everyone else. But he also decided to write a book about the farmer’s kindness.

Herman remembers when he started seeing the friendly farmer.

I would drive from Pultneyville to my office in Webster on a daily basis. After a while I started noticing a couple of things. There’s this majestic farm, cobblestone with silos, barns, split rail fences and some livestock. On occasion I’d see this sign out by the road in front of their house that said “baby donkeys for sale.”

But then something slowly started happening over time. If the farmer was out he would give me a wave. He didn’t know me. He would just give me a wave. And not just a wave. A kind of big wave.

It was hit and miss, but I would look forward to seeing him again.

One day, Herman decided to stop, pull into the farmer’s driveway and thank him for taking the time to wave. It was the beginning of a long friendship.

The more Herman got to know the farmer, the more stories he’d hear about others who stopped to say thank you. Like the neighbors who tucked a note into his mailbox which read, “You don’t know us, but know how grateful we are that you keep waving to people.” Or the woman who stopped and handed him an apple pie, telling him how much his waves made her day.

It was about three years ago that Herman decided to turn the heartwarming story into a children’s book. The idea came to him when he and his daughter Emily were doing some offshore sailing, working toward a goal of sailing around the world. It’s a sport which Herman characterizes as “99% boredom and 1% sheer terror.” It was during one of those exceedingly boring spells when he decided that writing a series of children’s books would help pass the time and give more purpose to their sailing quest.

Oliver visiting with a donkey

Baby Donkeys for Sale draws on Herman’s experiences and the stories Farmer Bob told him. It’s told through the eyes of Grampy (Herman himself) and his real-life grandson Oliver. (Oliver, naturally, is more interested in the donkeys than chatting with the farmer.) It’s beautifully illustrated by one of Herman’s Pultneyville neighbors, nationally-known watercolor artist Roland “Chip” Stevens.

It’s a simple story about how a small kindness can make a big impact, even though it might be subtle.

“I think the message would be … if you extend yourself and show kindness to people, it comes back to you in unexpected ways and you’re going to have a better life,” Herman said.

Herman says he’ll probably wait until he’s back on the sailboat, “bored out of my mind,” before he starts working on his next book in earnest. In the meantime, however, you might see him walking with his golden retriever around his Pultneyville neighborhood, waving at everyone who passes by.

Baby Donkeys for Sale can be purchased on Amazon.com and Bookbaby.com.


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One Response to “Adorable new book is based on a local farmer”

  1. gwen coleman August 4, 2021 at 8:24 pm #

    I just bought the book on Amazon. Thought Carly might like it.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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