Day 171. My Open Letter to the Farmstead

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today, we went to a farmstead park thingy. You know, one of the those places where you can feed goats, ride ponies, watch geese, and such things. Well, it seems that you are encouraged to do such things only if you are little kids. Bullcrap. It’s time they heard from me.

Dear Farmstead in Kansas,

I’m writing to you as a 33 year old concerned citizen. I had the occasion to visit your establishment today, and I have to say, I came away disappointed. I was there with my family. My parents, my brothers and sister, as well as six nieces and nephews were all in attendance.

Let me start by saying, the grounds were beautiful. I thought that the big red and white barn motif was excellent for the entrance. In fact, the site of the place was the very thing that got me excited. It was only after the entrance that my experience turned from jovial to scorned.

It seems as though your cadre of staff and volunteers are under the impression that Farmstead is only for the enjoyment of young children. I was met with dirty looks, nasty words said under breaths, and occasional direct confrontations in my attempt to enjoy myself in your establishment. Let me be clear, you and I both know, that nowhere in your literature does it say that there is an upper age limit for fully experiencing your farmstead.

Case in point, the pony rides. I excitedly waited in line for the chance to ride a pony with the other patrons. When I got near the front, I stood next to the “You Have to Be This Tall to Ride a Pony,” sign, and I was tall enough by probably three feet. Great, I had fulfilled the qualifications for a pony ride, I was tall enough, and I had an excited attitude.

When it was finally my turn, Krista, the staff person and I had the following conversation:

Me: “My turn, my turn.”

Krista: “Do you have a child?”

Me: “No.”

Krista: “And yet, you want to ride a pony.”

(Can you hear the disdain in her voice?)

Me: “No, I don’t have kids yet, I’m putting my career first right now. And, no, I’m not going to leave until I ride a pony.”

Krista: “These ponies are only supposed to carry up to 90 pound loads.”

Me: “False! What’s this on my phone, Krista? It’s the Wikipedia entry for ponies. And I quote, ‘The American quarter pony can carry loads of up to 200 pounds.’ Guess what I am, Krista, I’m 175. Put me on a pony.”

When the pony came around, Krista, helped me mount the pony. She pushed my bottom up on the pony in the most condescending way that a person can possibly do it. Even the pony, Butternut, groaned under my weight in a deliberately sassy way. Derek, the 17 year old, who is clearly just doing the job as a summer job, and not as a life passion, led me around the fifteen yard loop. I will be blunt, Derek is a shithead. Upon dismounting, I gave high fives to the waiting patrons in line and left.

I did not embellish this story in the least. I consider myself a journalist, and as such, I am only telling the facts. In that vein, I will tell about the goat pen, which does not necessarily cast me in a good light. It was my fault, I missed the sign saying you cannot ride the goats. I was properly reprimanded, as was a nearby child named Madison. I offer my apologies, and only hope that the goat will make a full recovery.

It seemed that word quickly spread of my enthusiastic presence in the facilities, as parents soon joined in the hurtful comments.

Here is a sampling of comments I heard while at the Farmstead:

“What is he doing here?”

“Is he wearing diapers?”

“Why would an adult have shoes that light up?”

“No, I don’t want to see how fast you can run.”

“That guy just pushed my kid into the turkey pen.”

I understand that you have no control over the parents, but your staff clearly poisoned the atmosphere, which led to the berating.

I am certain that you, in management, are fair people and would rather know about the horrific actions of your staff, than be blindly unaware. I would hate to bring an agism lawsuit against you. I am not a lawyer, but I do DVR Judge Joe Brown. In a spirit of penance, I propose that you offer me a summer pass to your establishment for the remainder of the summer. Come to think of it, I live out of state and would not be able to return this summer. As a replacement, I am requesting season passes to nearby Disneyland and Sea World, and an acting agent.

I will follow up soon on this matter if I do not get a response from you.


Jeff Houghton



Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “Day 171. My Open Letter to the Farmstead

  1. Allan

    You mentioned geese. In my experience, Geese are always interested in seeing how fast you can run. And I would push any kid into a turkey pen to get away from geese.

  2. Aunt Cathy

    Jeffrey – this is hysterical!!

  3. “Why would an adult have shoes that light up?” = awesome.

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