Farmer behind legendary corn maze makes remarkable recovery

PORTSMOUTH, RI (WPRI) – Louis Escobar stepped onto the land that his family has farmed for eight decades for the first time in months, and it almost brought tears to his eyes.

He’s a tough man, but not the least bit shy about expressing his passion for his 98 acres or his profession.

“Farming is hard work,” he said with a smile. “But it’s fun. If you love what you do, it’s fun.”

In early June, Louis was having fun, rushing his tractor through a day of work.

“I was going a little too fast. And I went over into a pit. It was a 10 to 12 foot drop, and I banged my head. Broke four ribs. Almost bled to death.”

He said he was initially a quadriplegic but doctors were optimistic after Louis realized he had feeling in his toes. Months of hard work at Saint Elizabeth Manor in Bristol have helped him regain some control of his arms and legs, but he admits he has a lot more work to do.

Still, this week brought an opportunity for a field trip and there was only one place Louis wanted to go.

“I am so happy to be here,” he said as his wife drove him onto their farm. “And every thing is doing well. The lawns are all so green. Our corn and our hay.”

And the maze, an annual rite of Autumn that the Escobars say attracts more than 10,000 people to the farm. It’s up and waving in the breeze for the 16th year.

“I mean a fun, fun time,” Louis said, referring to his visit. “What a thrill! Christmas ten times over!”

He added that there was never a thought to skip the corn maze this year, despite the accident.

“After a rainy day. The sun will shine again. And so that’s how I’ve always looked at life.”

His father bought the farm about the time he was born, and Louis insists he’s loved every minute of it. He is also a self-proclaimed optimist who believes he has the type of attitude needed to endure the grueling recovery he’s going through.

“I’ve been spared from a serious situation. So there must be a reason. I am going to do the best I can under these conditions.”

The brief visit made him realize something more somber; that the farm can survive and thrive without him. So he knows when his time comes to an end, the farm will live on into the future.

“So that if I wasn’t here or I’m no longer here, others can still continue this beautiful farm that I love so much.”

Louis will be home for good in a matter of weeks and he’s not worried whether or not he’ll be as mobile as before. For him, a slow day on his farm is better than being anywhere else.

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