July 5, 2020

From Mickey to Mick

I’ve known Gail all my life, but when I moved back to Maine 11 years ago is when I first spent considerable time with Michael (Zuck).

Every spring, until they retired from “The Business,” I worked alongside Michael in the planting of seeds and transplanting millions of baby plants.  He would regale me with stories of his youth growing up in New Jersey.  For one thing, he was always Mickey as a child, then Mick as an adult.  Never Mike. On the first day of working with him, he was spelling and pronouncing words backwards, like “itannicnic” (Cincinnati).

There were stories of his family’s cross-country trip to Oregon in the summer with four children and a dog, Annie.  Annie was a border collie who, one day while driving around New Jersey, saw a herd of cows in a pasture.  She leaped out of the window, rolled onto the grass verge, then took off.  By the time the car was stopped,  turned around and back, she had the cattle collected in a corner of the field.  It became apparent she belonged on a farm so they gave her to a happy farmer.

Michael was a good listener as well as a storyteller, and he was a generous person with his extensive knowledge of plants, his poetry and song writing.

Sally Witham