October 3, 2010
On Hatteberg's People, it is the month for ghouls and goblins, pumpkins and mayors. Whoops, Mayors you say? That doesn't exactly fit. Actually it does if you meet Jill Stimatze, the mayor of St. John and a pumpkin grower. Stick with me for a minute and see why Jill doesn't have to go to the gym at the end of the day.
"It feels good to be out there and to be breathing all that fresh air.....I could be in that pumpkin patch all day long."
She could, but she won't. In the fall of the year, there is a 'spring' in her step. Jill Stimatze is also the mayor of St. John, Kansas, a small community in Stafford County.
"A challenge at times...fun, yes, it's fun."
"Hi Jerry got anything to sell today?"
"Everything is for sale, what are you doing?"
"I'm selling pumpkins, do you want any pumpkins?"
"Sure you do, you'll have lots of people coming in here to buy pumpkins. Whoever will buy, I'll sell."
With a personality that sparkles, she does the mayor's job while she farms 30 acres of pumpkins.
"Everybody that does know me, knows that I was raised on a farm with eight kids, south of Macksville and we worked. We did not have a choice. We were taught to work hard and not to stand around and watch someone else work."
With the pumpkins are 10 acres of watermelons and 10 of cantaloupe. The pumpkins right now are the crop in demand. To say she is busy....is an understatement.
"The field is beautiful, with great big leaves, and great big vines. The blossoms are just wonderful. It looks like an orange ocean of pumpkins out there laying everywhere.
If the work in the field and that of mayor weren't enough, she is also the girls basketball coach and mother of two. It seems a woman with no time to spare always has spare time for others.
"The best part of my life is my kids.
With all that is going on in Jill's life, she also sells and delivers her pumpkins to Wal-Mart. She is one of the fortunate 'local' growers whose produce finds its way to the shelves of that gigantic retailer.
"Life is very good, life is great."
"Like I said, there is a pumpkin for everybody."