That little farm boy is now Northampton County Executive John Stoffa. He's halfway through a corn row of really deep weeds left by his predecessor, more than he thought he'd ever see. For the last three years, he's been yanking away, but his job is far from over.
He's pulled away at a nasty play to pay political system, refusing to accept contributions from people looking for jobs or contracts. He has refused the temptation to respond to constant scurrilous remarks made by Council members Charles Dertinger and Lamont McClure. He shied away from partisan politics, choosing a competent staff over the usual political hacks. He has taken a county on the brink of financial disaster and restored it to sound footing, resisting the urge to "just do something" without having clear goals in mind. He even refused to accept a privileged parking spot, walking up a steep hill day after day until forced to undergo a hip replacement.
A tall and gangly man, people inside the courthouse often laughed at him, underestimating his intelligence and passion. Stoffa continued to yank away.
I'm sure those shade trees look as inviting now as they did when John was just eight. I could not blame him if he stopped now. But his successor, whoever he or she may be, will just plant more weeds.
Run, John, run!