To the editor,
I read and absorbed every word of your eloquent tribute piece to Kline Cash (The Produce News, Nov. 2, 2009, Vol. 112, No. 44). Your account was heart- warming, filled with emotion and precisely accurate.
I was fortunate to know Kline Cash in the 1980s during those tough years in the Southeast peach business that was mentioned in the Tribute. I was working for a marketing company that helped Kline sell his peaches, and I spent countless hours at his packing operation in Cowpens, SC. As was written in the article, they were very tough times because of crop failures due to cold weather or cold damage to the fruit.
Each day those problems would continue to show their ugly heads and cause insurmountable aggravation and disappointment for the growers. Sales were always a challenge because of poor prices or lack of demand, and all this stress would come back to the farm each day of the long season. Each day usually offered yet another test for the Cash family, whether it was drought conditions, a freak hailstorm, cat claws on the peach crop, poor market conditions or another of the many problems.
As a northerner, I had difficulty tolerating the stifling heat. While I whined about being hot, Kline would just smile and never complained about anything. During those days, I was often invited to have lunch with Kline and Vicky, and each and every day, Kline bowed his head at noon to thank his loving Lord for his family, all that he had and all that he was blessed with. He only asked for the strength and guidance to be a better Christian. I remember as if it was yesterday, the noon blessing, only hours after a hailstorm had wiped out a large peach block. His thankful words were no different then the day before. That was Kline.
Reading your excellent Tribute brought back so many fond memories of Kline and his family, and I truly hope that is the case with others who had the pleasure of reading your story and knowing Kline.
It also reminds me not only of the character of Kline but also of the great folks who you included in the story. Some of the most reputable names in the peach industry in the Southeast all shared almost identical thoughts about Kline and are all cut from the same cloth.
You cannot talk about the South Carolina peach industry without including such prominent names as Watson, McLeod, Yonce, McCurry and Eubanks. And if space would have allowed it, you could have filled another page of quotes that accurately described the greatness of Kline Cash.
My friends Bob McCurry and Martin Eubanks both summed it up so perfectly. Bob commented that "Kline showed his Christianity by example, not by preaching to you," and Martin closed with "Strong Christian faith, do unto others as you would have them do on to you and that's how I'll always remember (Kline)."
My most sincere compliments to your wonderful Tribute to Kline. You captured perfectly his strengths, his unyielding Christian beliefs, his love of family and fellow man, and his character and integrity.
James Allen, president, New York Apple Assocaition, Fishers, NY