EAST HADDAM, Conn. (WTNH) – “The story I’m going to read to you today is ‘The Wonderful Mr. Beans’,” says author Jerry Markham.
Children listen intently to the story about a donkey who is moved from a farm when his owners get too old to care for him.
“Ray of Light Farm became Mr. Beans’ home,” reads Markham.
Markham refers to Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, home to dozens of rescued animals.
Markham, a grandfather of six, moved to Connecticut during the pandemic and started visiting the farm for a meaningful activity. He asked founder Bonnie Buongiorne if he could adopt an animal.
“She said, ‘One just came in, and his name is Mr. Beans!’ And what’s not to love about Mr. Beans, right?” laughs Markham.
Writing the book, illustrated by Markham’s daughter, was just a natural way to pass the time while supporting this lovely place.
“I showed it to my wife, and she said, ‘That’s pretty good.’ I showed it to my grandkids. They thought it was pretty good!” says Markham.
“It’s delightful. It captures the spirit of the farm in a way that we couldn’t do,” says Buongiorne.
Markham is also part of the farm veterans program, which aims to be “a healing presence in a wounded world.”
“They can come relax, do gardening, play with the guinea pigs, play with the horses,” says Buongiorne.
“It’s camaraderie, and I learn a lot,” says Markham.
In the end, Mr. Beans learns to receive and return the visitor’s love.
“Mr. Beans loved to have his ears scratched,” reads Markham, who calls it “a living book” because parents can bring children to the farm to experience the book’s meaning in their hearts and in person.
“When I sign this, I say, ‘kindness matters,’ and that’s what you see all around here, and it’s a very special place,” says Markham.
Proceeds from “The Wonderful Mr. Beans” sales support Ray of Light Farm.
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