Walsh River Community Centre - 2001
"I really like living here," he says. "I love the black night skies so you can see the stars, and I'm vaguely irritated that the coming of electricity will change that. I also like the space between people."
Not that Jerry is a loner - Jerry's children are welcome visitors from the US. In fact Jeremiah is here for three weeks right now and stepdaughter Redbird is regularly seen at Jerry and Melissa's property.
People who know Jerry are familiar with the broad expanse of his experience. So it might come as a surprise when his response to being asked "what was the most important thing you've ever done in life" was a refreshing and immediate "having kids".
Like any father, Jerry has hopes for the future, while having lived a life that will leave a legacy to both his family and those with whom he has come into contact.
Looking ahead, his greatest desire is to continue to live out the rest of his life with his wife, without health problems or other dramas. He'd like to have enough money to make the occasional visit to the kids still living in the States.
Maybe Jerry's love of "work" will provide the necessary income. "I'm interested in anything visual or tactile. I enjoy weaving from Melissa's spinning...taking pictures...or simply encouraging people to notice the wonderful visual things that they have around them...."
"Many years ago, I had a wonderful experience," Jerry recalls. "I met a group of people travelling in covered wagons drawn by draft horses. They started in Canada and slowly moved down the West Coast of the USA. They had been on the road for 2 years. Wherever the group stopped, they put on a play under a large marquee with hay bales for seating. After the performance, people in the audience sometimes exclaimed how they wished they could join that travelling company. 'Join us,' was the reply. 'You don't have to know how to act or how to drive a team of horses. Just come along and learn as you go.' Most people smiled apologetically and went home. From these people I learned that nothing stops you except yourself."
"I hope my legacy will be to help my family and friends to be aware that they are in charge of their own future. So many times people just accept what is given to them. But they really have both the power and the ability to do far more things than they believe."
A fitting philosophy indeed....Jerry Jeffress is living proof of his own beliefs.
Photo and Valley Vibe Interview by Eunice.
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