Introducing Gardner Waldeier
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The decision of Verlyn Klinkenborg of the New York Times to hang up his typewriter prompts us to begin publishing the short essays and videos of Gardner Waldeier (his work has begun appearing in the Sun in recent weeks). We’ve always enjoyed Mr. Klinkenborg’s short, beautifully crafted essays on the country life. He worked mainly in print. Mr. Waldeier is different. There’s no telling up with what he might fetch — a written essay, a video, a spoken podcast, a recording of sounds, or a piece of music he’s written or some recipe that seems unlikely until you try it.*
We first met Mr. Waldeier on a dirt road in Maine. Our wife and we had gone out for a walk with our dogs and found ourselves approaching a lovely, white clapboard house with green trim. A lady there was watching over her Airedales. So we introduced our Labradors and fell into a conversation. She turned out to be Carol Waldeier, who had been married, until he died, to the principal of the local school district. Presently our eye fell upon a pickup truck parked on her lawn.
On its rusting sides was emblazoned the Web site www.RonPaul2008.com. “That your truck?” we inquired. “Oh, that belongs to my son, Gardner,” she said. This is how we discovered that just down the road was a household filled with enthusiasm for the Austrian economists and for the congressman from Texas who was then leading the effort to restore to America a monetary system that would comport with the ideas of the Founders. So we left Mrs. Waldeier with an invitation for her and her son to join us the following day for breakfast.
Gardner showed up bearing a jar of the richest maple syrup on which we’d ever floated a stack. He’d made it himself, in a sugar shack he’d constructed himself using wood he’d chopped, cut, stacked, and dried himself and a bottling system he’d organized himself. The breakfast turned into a rollicking tour-de-horizon of political economy and constitutional idealism, along with asides in which he sketched his favorite recipes, sang occasional ditties, and offered insights into lake water, motorcycles, ice, canine psychiatry, and central banking.
It happens that a month or so later Congressman Ron Paul, then chairman of the House subcommittee on monetary affairs, was a guest at an editorial dinner the Sun was hosting in New York. So we sent a rider to Maine to inquire whether Mr. Waldeier owned a suit. Turns out he did, and he joined us for a memorable editorial evening that included not only Dr. Paul but also the very band of scribes — John Stossel, James Grant, Paul Gigot, Mary Anastasia O’Grady and a few others — who were Mr. Waldeier’s journalistic heroes.
Anyhow, this is how the match was made between Mr. Waldeier and the Sun and how we came to be receiving and publishing his short essays on the country life. Some of the accompanying videos are attributed to one “Bus Huxley,” which is one of Mr. Waldeier’s noms de film. Anyhow, we can’t guess whether we’ll be able to keep Mr. Waldeier down on our own journalistic farm as long as the Times was able to keep Mr. Klinkenborg. But so long as we do, we hope you’ll enjoy.
* A jar of Mr. Waldeier’s kimchi, the recipe for which is sketched in his video above, arrived the other day by Federal Express. It was refrigerated for a few days while we acquired from the meat counter at Le Marais a suitably thick rib-eye. When that was grilled to perfection, we put it on a plate with some salt and a side of the cold kimchi. That was all. We later sent a cable to Mr. Waldeier saying it was one of the five best combinations we’d ever encountered.