Ask for the Gnome Man and He Will Come (Eventually)

May 30, 2023 |
by: Mark Sachon

Located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, just a wee bit south of Lancaster, is a local paradise of sorts that goes by the name of Gnome Countryside, owned and built by the Gnome Man himself, Richard Humphries, in the spirit of giving back to nature and to all of those who visit.

Richard is no stranger to our LAMP family, having been a repeat attendee of our Somatosensory art shows and a patron of ours for years, over which time we have built a relationship that spans decades of mutual admiration.

When I learned from one of our Reader Advisors that Mr. Humphries was also the author of a book, I asked to know more. I learned about how that book was his biography and told the story about how his blindness was a blessing of sorts. “How could that be?” I thought. “How can an affliction of a visual loss be a blessing?”

Roll back to three years ago. We had made plans for the week of March 9-13, 2020, for Mr. Humphries to visit LAMP’s recording studio in Pittsburgh and to bring along his friend Robin Moore to do the narration of his book A Sweet Life – Seven Unexpected Blessings of Living with Diabetes (DBC 25024).

Well … we all know what happened that week, but over the interim we kept in touch and eventually we brought Richard and Robin back to LAMP to record his book.

It might have been the fact that Richard sat next to me while the narration was being character acted by Robin. Maybe it was hearing his story for the first time while I read along. Maybe it was his struggle to separately bike and walk across America to raise awareness of diabetes and vision loss.
Perhaps all of these things left me in an emotional state that’s hard to describe beyond simply saying he affected me deeply.

If you would like to read Mr. Humphries’ book and find out what led him to view blindness as a blessing of sorts, contact the library and request a copy today.

Note: LAMP has a state-of-the-art recording studio that has added more than 700 audio books to the Library of Congress’ National Library Service Catalog. Working over a span of years that began in the early 1970s and continues today with two accessible sound booths and a full digital array of equipment and support systems, we provide a unique and accessible service that adds locally themed books. Our motto: Leave no Pennsylvania book behind!