Robert Thanks the Squirrel

on Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dear readers,

Back in May 2007, I posted on Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World. I was surprised and pleased to receive the following email from one, Robert Skoglund. He was nice enough to title the email, "Robert thanks the Squirrel". I liked that. Robert, you're most welcome and it was my pleasure.

The painting features Christina who had a degenerative muscular dystrophy disease, crawling back towards her home on a small hill after visiting her parent's graves on the farm's ground. It transpires that Robert was a close friend and neighbour to both Christina's and Andrew's families.

Robert Skoglund is himself a Maine institution and has even been described as a National Treasure. He has been broadcasting on Maine Public Broadcasting Network for 28 years. He is known as "the humble Farmer" and his program plays jazz music which is interspersed by dry, witty commentaries by Robert about the world around him. He has a large following of fans both in Maine and beyond.

However, the same witty remarks or "rants" as he calls it, got him in trouble with Network bosses when his comments on President Bush was viewed as too political. When the humble Farmer stood his ground, the Network shut down his program in June this year. There have been a number of ground-swelling of expressions of support from his fans and a number of petitions to have his show re-instated.

"The kerfuffle started Nov. 3, days before Maine voters were to decide on a so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights—a tax-restraint measure of the kind that could cut spending on state-subsidized services such as public broadcasting (they defeated it.) On that evening’s program, Skoglund read a letter from a Maryland listener outlining negative effects of a similar measure in that state."

"In February 2003, as war with Iraq appeared increasingly inevitable, he read a commentary in which he condemned war and an unnamed “war-mongering, rat-faced wimp” who “calls himself the leader” and is spoiling for a conflict."


I hope that the humble Farmer wins his battle with what he views as agents of censorship - which I agree with him. I wish him and his wife well and thank him for taking time in the midst of his radio program troubles to write me a short but meaningful email.

Robert Thanks the Squirrel


I read your interesting Blog on Christina's World. I live about a mile from that house and bought a table for a dollar or so when they sold all the furniture out of the house 30 or 40 years ago. We keep the toaster on that table in our dining room.

Andy painted me in 1951, but left me out of the final draft when he finished the painting.

You'll find a picture of Christina's house on my RadioFriends web site. Also pictures of Andy's brother in law, my friend the late Dudley Rockwell, who was docent at that house for years.

Thanks for an interesting web site.

Robert Karl Skoglund 785 River Road St. George,
ME 04860 207-226-7442

MORE LINKS TO "the humble Farmer."

You can hear humble's radio program for this week on humble's web page:

A page of links to humble's fun-filled radio show. Did you know that Robert Skoglund, The humble Farmer, stands on stages and tells funny stories? Ask humble to entertain you and your friends with dry stories like these:

2/22/07 Christian Science Monitor Profile on humble

You can visit humble and Marsha at their Bed & Breakfast on the coast of Maine.

You are invited to stop by for supper anytime.

Robert Karl Skoglund 785 River Road St. George, ME 04860 207-226-7442


Josie said...

Omigosh....!!! LGS, that is absolutely wonderful. "Robert thanks the Squirrel". Amazing.

I'm sorry to hear that Robert Skoglund has been censored. There has been so much censorship in the States lately. It's frightening to see what is happening to that country. I'm going to check out the links you posted.


Josie said...

P.S. I love his New England accent. said...

Good on Robert.
Good on Lone Grey Squirrel.

Now see how many are on Robert's side.
How many on the other?


Dr.John said...

I am against censorship of any kind. I hope they give him back his program.

meggie said...

A very interesting post.
The land of the free?? Not true.

Janice Thomson said...

Sheesh I was on Robert's links forever...finally I bookmarked to read at a later time :) I certainly hope they reinstate him. Excellent post Lgs

Anonymous said...

I love Public radio! I wish him the best of luck in getting reinstated. Thank you for bringing is cause to our attention.

I learned about a guy in Maine, thanks to a guy in Malaysia. hee,hee,hee.


geewits said...

That's creepy. The pres has gone to hell with all his stupid mistakes and people are being censored for DISAGREEING with him? That sucks. I think Robert (and all of his fans) should contact the biggest name in Maine, Stephen King. I bet he'd be interested in this.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I was surprised and thrilled to get his email.

As to all that censorship in your southern neighbor, I think Ruth said on her blog something about reflecting on what July 4th stood for and how many seemed to have forgotten of late.

How is an New England and a Newfie accent similar as well as different?

As a writer, I am sure you support Robert's right to call his leader a "war-mongering,rat-faced wimp." LoL. Ah, democracy is a funny thing.

Dr. John,
Couldn't agree more. Amen.

Reminds me of the lyrics from West Side Story, " I like to be in America, Everything free in America, for a small fee in America!"

Thanks. I hope you enjoy the links.

We don't have public TV and Radio in Malaysia. What an interesting concept. :)

I wonder if Mr. king would ever write a novel about how the President was actually a demon and would that be banned or become a bestseller. just wondering. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow that's fascinating you heard from this gentleman because of a post you did.
I remember that painting well.

evalinn said...

Another great post LGS.

Whatever happened to the freedom of speech? Does that only apply to pornography and racist speeches nowadays?

...Kat said...

very very very very cool

MedStudentWife said...

Its great to be recognized for that which you write..kudos LGS !!

We need more people like Robert and his wife - the ability to stand for what they believe and just plain friendly and welcoming into their home !!

I've just started to read the links. I'll be sending this blog link to Fidel to read - we were just talking about something similar.

Cheers LGS :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

top cat,
It was fun to hear from him. Makes the painting more real when you make contact with th real people around it.

I know what you mean. The interpretation of the law increasingly seem to favor injustice and inequality.

thanks. i think so too.

It's nice to meet someone who is closely assocaited to the lives associated with the painting. It's a real thrill.

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