Willie Nelson's been busted for pot possession again. So here's an old favorite I hope ya'll enjoy:
Dear Willie Nelson,
Something amazing comes out just about every time you open your mouth, man. I just wish you'd have kept it shut before your concert last week at the Ohio State Fair.
You're a hero of mine, Willie. I'd love to visit one of your barbecues, just like Hank Hill on that TV show - maybe take along my mandolin, get real mellow, do Merle Haggard's part on Pancho and Lefty.
But you know the conversation would turn to politics, and before long you'd start in about Farm Aid, just like you did at the fair, and pretty soon we'd both be cussin', and then somebody would break a whiskey bottle against the fender of somebody's truck, and the evening would go downhill.
Willie, you said we've got to defend the family farmer and shut down factory farms like the Buckeye Egg Farm.
Family farmers, you said, care about the people and the land. You say there's something especially spiritual about family farming.
Willie, I admire American farmers as much as anyone else. They feed the world - not because of some weird mojo tying them to the earth, but in search of an honest buck. And they do a heck of a job.
But barns are not cathedrals, Willie. Grain silos are not shrines. Only one stable I know of qualifies as a holy place, and that's 8,000 miles east of here.
Family farms are just like family funeral homes or family pharmacies: small businesses that have to pay the freight or go bust.
Farmers are no more saintly than blacksmiths, and who today misses the family forge, Willie? Factory farming, like factory smithery, is not necessarily a bad idea. If the government had protected smithies, today 1,000 little forges might be standing between here and Nashville.
Of course, only the wealthy could afford nails. (And the pollution from 1,000 scattered coal furnaces would be a lot worse than from one factory smokestack.)
Factory farming holds out the promise of cheaper food for all mankind. That's got to mean something.
Willie, it's easy to sit on our lard-filled American butts and argue that higher food prices are no big deal, but a difference of a few pennies a bushel in the price of U.S. wheat can feed a lot of hungry villages in Africa.
OK, Willie, I've said my piece. I hope you don't think too poorly of me. As a peace offering, I wrote you this song, set to the tune of Poncho and Lefty:
Buckeye (Egg Farm) and Lefty
Livin' on the farm, my friend
Is gonna keep you poor and lean.
And now you plow your fields like sand
And rain's more scarce than gasoline.
You weren't your banker's only mark
But his favorite one, it seems.
He began to sigh when you said goodbye
And sank into his schemes.
Buckeye was a factory farm.
Investors wanted dividends.
They piled all the cages high,
Containing fifty thousand hens.
The farmers met their match, you know
In a field in Croton, Ohio.
Nobody begs to buy their eggs -
Ah, but that's the way it goes.
All the family farmers say
You'll love our hen manure's bouquet.
Big business chicks don't smell that way
You've got to hold your nose.
Reporters tell how Buckeye errs
With flies in all the neighbors' hair.
The dust that chickens peck and claw
Ends up in Licking County's craw.
But the day they lay old Buckeye low,
Egg prices rise in Ohio.
Then where the poor will get the dough,
There ain't nobody knows.
Farmers they can't reap the checks
All year long for growin' nix:
The budget's tight, the Congress cold,
And so the story ends we're told.
Farmers need your prayers, it's true
But save a few for Buckeye, too.
They only do what they have to do
To keep their omelets sold.
So Willie, about that barbecue? I'll even leave my mandolin home.