An Introduction to...
By Andrea Gram
Greetings! I'm the newest addition to the Polyface team and I'm writing to welcome you back for another exciting season and to kick off a new series in our newsletter called All Stars. This series uses a sports analogy to describe our infield positions and aims to help you all get to know some of the faces behind your food.
Since I'm the one pitching this story - and not because I'm vain, mind you - I'll start with my own position first. Sheri here, interupting this letter with a secret question. What are two kinds of chickens that Polyface currently raises on the farm today? Respond to this email with your answer. All correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a free Polyface t-shirt. Drawing will take place on March 25 and winner will be contacted via email as well as announced in next month's newsletter. Now, back to Andrea. It is my sincere hope that you'll enjoy the striking contrast and therefore awe-inspiring beauty of our team. I certainly do!!!
Bath County Chargers, 1994
I hated the batting cage. Just the sound of the machine releasing the ball made me flinch terribly. How was I going to hit the little fear-stitched monsters with my eyes closed? I wasn't. They'd come at me so hard and so fast that I'd freeze up just long enough to strike out every time.
Consequently, the coach stuck me in right field during practice. He even let me bat at the end of a game or two – when there was absolutely no danger of losing. Invariably, I'd hit a fly ball and wind up right back on the dusty shelf. In fact, the only real action I saw for the entire first season was a foul ball that hit me in the head and almost knocked me off the bench. Heck, even if I couldn't be one, at least I could see some, right?
It was humiliating. I wanted to run away and never show my face again. I'm certain I would have if there had been even slightly more than 300 kids in my high-school body. Frankly, there just wasn't a big enough sea of faces to fade into and any hope for the grace of anonymity was quickly dissolved.
My dad must have known what was at stake because he kept encouraging me to practice. He'd drag me over to the baseball diamond beside our house and we'd practice pitching. Fortunately, the danger of playing the position of a reverse jack-in-the-box didn't seem to deter him any. He loved practicing with me no matter how awful I was.
At our first practice the next season, the coach had us fan out around him and pitched to each of us randomly. Afterward, one of our better short-stop players approached and commented that I'd really improved over the summer. I was immediately suspicious but noted that she rarely ever spoke let alone handed out compliments. To my horror, the coach confirmed that if I kept pitching like that, I could expect to start by the end of the season.
Fast forward 20 years and here I am back on the pitchers mound. I finally made it into the major leagues last summer and I can't even begin to describe how proud I am to be a part of the team here at Polyface. What a tremendous blessing it is to work with such a sparkling group of All Stars!
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, if you read this series and don't see any beauty here in this little piece of the promised land, rest assured that it isn't because it's not there. It's more likely that you've got a stye in your eye or that I've fallen into another dreadful bout of blind batting. That seems to be the way of it – life in general.
Last, a warning: not unlike some of the other eco-preaching lunatics around these parts, I'm not sure I could refrain from using my super-power even if I wanted to. What's my super-power? Why, it's my super-curse of course: I tend to see the best in others. I know, I know... how convenient! “I just can't help but tell my co-workers how wonderful they are!” Well, consider it more like the art of sincere flattery. Is there such a thing you ask? Stay tuned to find out.