(for the TWATl December 2011)
Open the south gate and step one foot into Skidaway Farm and you will tread on the pathway named for Dr. Charley Caldwell…Doc Charley Lane.
Yes, he was father to Skidaway Farms’ organizer, Blake Caldwell…and husband to one of the Farms largest benefactors, Nancy Dancu. He was a Harvard educated surgeon who cherished the hours he got to spend cultivating his orchards and tending the vegetables on the family farm in Danville, Kentucky. Doc Charley passed on in January 1999 but his memory is now marked at the Farm by the wide boulevard that leads to Valley Crest Square.
The Caldwell men had been farmers as far back as anyone could remember…raising tobacco, cattle and vegetables… but it was the fruit trees that Doc Charley was most fond of. Nestled on the hill beside his house, there were dozens offruit trees… mostly apple, but also a few peach and pear.
Doc Charley operated in Danville for more than 40 years and was Chief of Staff at Ephraim Mc Dowell Memorial Hospital for many of those. Those lucky enough to be his patients, recall the many wonderful conversations they had with him about farming, fishing and hunting. Some called him a man’s man… others called him a Renaissance man because of his love of opera and his voracious reading. Charley could have a conversation with anyone on any subject but it was his love of nature that rescued him after retirement and became a fulltime activity.
Doc Charley passed on his love of gardening to his daughter…and we at Skidaway Farms have reaped the benefit of that tenfold. Charley would have loved Skidaway Farms…no fruit trees but… somehow…Doc Charley would have planted them nearby just so he could have climbed up and…from his high perch…watched the goings-on inside the double-deer fence. He would have been proud. (11/16/11)