Imagine, for just a moment, this utterly impossible, crazy vision: An entire town full of thousands of professionals, laypersons, families, cowboys, seniors ... you name it. All of those people with overly-full plates, busy lives, and no time left over to enjoy their beautiful surroundings or to even get to know their neighbor. Then imagine this whole town, in groups large and small, Democrats and Republicans, tattooed skaters and home schooled children, Grandmas and little ones, stopping for a season to rally around a common cause. An entire town putting itself on the map because each citizen agrees that it's a crime to let millions of gorgeous apples go to waste when their neighbors are hungry.
Impossible? Tell that to the 85-year old man who, throwing his head back in laughter, held onto his corner of the tarp alongside four rambunctious children last month while their Mama shook the branches and everyone got pelted on the head with apples. Or the complete stranger, new to Payson, who wanted to meet others but didn't quite know how. Or the busy president of Rotary who took his family and spent a delightful afternoon in a beautiful orchard alongside old friends.
The countless amazing people of Payson whom we had the joy to discover and work with over the past month proved to us that this vision was and is not only possible, but something very good indeed. You know who you are. You are the people who offered up your apple trees, promoted the campaign, picked the apples, and, when you could not join in, supported us with prayers and encouragement. You caught the vision and helped make it happen, and may the loving God who so abundantly gave our town this year's awesome harvest also bless you abundantly.
A special "thank you" goes out to Payson Roundup, KRIM, KMOG, KCMA, Bashas', Safeway, Zell Properties, Rose and Gary at ERA, Boy/Girl Scouts and the church groups and Payson volunteers who came out to pick apples. We had a great time and sent tens of thousands of apples to where they were urgently needed. With each coming year and more folks catching the vision, we look forward to watching Payson feed hundreds of thousands of hungry people, and in doing so, setting an example for others of which we can all be proud.
The Apple Lady (a.k.a. Valeri Marsh), Payson