Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Wes Barrett's Retirement Song

by Noel McNaughton
On the occasion of Wes's retirement party, April 29, 2000
Photo: "Gardener Emeritoots" by Davide Pan

Wes scuplture

My name is Wes Barrett and I have now retired
From ten years of working where I first got hired
At a place that soothed my soul, and made my life feel warmer
A gardening education place they call the City Farmer.

I'm a whiz at making compost, cause I know just how to do it
You throw some green and brown together and let the bugs go to it.
Then put the green shag carpet on to give the heap some style
Cause like I told the folks on television I always cover my piles.

We get foul-smelling kitchen scraps that make most people gag,
But they never really bothered me, or made my stomach sag.
Spring snuck a fake rat in one day to cause me some suspense
But I never took a second look, just heaved it over the fence.

Key points must be emphasized when teaching compost classes,
With certain groups I've even tried emitting bodily gases,
I also play euphonium, and to me its just a hoot,
But now some folks are calling me the Gardener Emeritoots.

If you've got a knee-slapper, man I'm the one to tell
Cause I love a good joke and I always laugh well.
When others aren't quite sure just how good a joke might be,
All they simply do is rate it by how hard I slap my knee!

I spent ten years at City Farmer trying to keep things organized,
But now the phone lines are all twisted, and there's mice and rats and flies
So bad they've shut the compost down, and I know what's caused their trials,
They should have kept that green shag rug and covered up their piles!

I think life is too important to just work it all away,
So I've always tried to squeeze in work between my holidays.
Then come back and do some crosswords and fill the compost bins,
And help Spring and Mike get back on track until I leave again.

Now, strictly speaking I'm retired, though I'll drop in from time to time
To see the people and the garden that have blessed this life of mine.
Other folks will take my place and it will bless them too,
As I move on to other things that I have still to do.

In Memoriam

Arthur Wesley "Wes" Barrett

The love of our lives died suddenly on January 14, 2007. Born on June 12th, 1937 in Trail, BC, Wes lived his 69 years of life with great passion for whatever he was doing: teaching French; as head gardener at City Farmer's Compost Demonstration Garden; playing euphonium in the Little Mountain Brass Band; native wood carving; being a husband and father; and especially playing with his two grandchildren, Mira and Kai. Missing him desperately are his wife of 43 years, Barb; daughters Cathy (Terry), Debbie and Jennifer (Mike); brother David (Judy); sister Anne (Sam); and nieces and nephews Kirk, Tara, Seth, Kelsey, and Sean. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the David Suzuki Foundation or the charity of your choice.

See Also "Wes's Story" on Midlife Men

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Revised July 15, 2007

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture