Farmer

A little off the bike/luge topic today. But worry not, cause this week is a luge filled week. There is a World Cup race in Lake Placid on Friday and Saturday. That means the worlds best athletes are here racing. That is followed by me racing in the Empire State Games on Sunday. That means that anyone who is left to watch after the pros leave, will be treated to comic relief Sunday morning.

Last night I was, like many, watching the Super Bowl. My beloved Packers lost earlier and so I didn’t really have a horse in the race. Well except I was enjoying watching the 49’ers loose (they beat the Packers and so I don’t really like them right now). I thought the commercials were ok. There were a couple of good ones. But there was one that was spectacular in my mind. It was the Dodge “And So God Made a Farmer” add. The commercial is a poem read by Paul Harvey about Farmers. Here is the text of the poem:

“And on the eighthday, God looked down on his planned paradise and said I need a caretaker- So God made a Farmer

God said I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk the cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board-So God made a Farmer

I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild; somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to await lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon, and mean it-So God made a Farmer

God said I need somebody willing to sit up all night with and newborn colt, and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say maybe next year. I need somebody who can shape an axe handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe straps, who at planting time and harvest season will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, will put in another 72 hours- So God made a Farmer

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to gt the hay in ahead of the rain, and yet stop in midfield and race to help when he sees first smoke from a neighbor’s place-So God made a Farmer

God said I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to wean lambs and pigs and tend to pink combed pullets; who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadowlark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, seed, breed, and rake and disk and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church. Somebody who would bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing; who would laugh and then sigh, and reply with smiling eyes when his son says he want to spend his life doing what dad does-So God made a Farmer”

What I was struck by here was how this poem so perfectly captured farmers. If you are from a farm family (like I am) this poem speaks to a truth that you know. If you are not from a farm family, read the poem again. That is the family farmer. Those are the people who help build and feed this country.

Farmers are amazing people. My uncles who farm get up at 4 am every day to work. They cows don’t care what day it is. It doesn’t matter if it is Sunday. It doesn’t matter if it is a holiday. It doesn’t matter if there is a wedding. It doesn’t matter if there is a funeral. It doesn’t matter if you feel good, or are sick as a dog. You do the work. I know this is true, because I have helped out on the farm on Sundays, on holidays, when everybody was sick, when we were getting ready to celebrate a wedding, and when we were getting ready for a funeral. Maybe its an overly romantic notion to view farmers this way, to tie farmers to a love of the land, to a “simple life”. Farming is a hard life. Farming is a dangerous life. But my family also found joy in that life. We found a sense of family, and community and a connection to the land. My uncles all have children who became farmers. And so there is some truth to that romantic notion.

Sometimes I think that what we are loosing in this country is that spirit. The do what needs to be done, do the hard honest work, dedicate yourself kind of spirit I saw with my family. The work hard and earn your place ethic. That ethic can so easily get lost in a Wall Street/Corporate, immediate gratification world.

Anyway. Here is Paul Harvey reading that poem. I love how Paul Harvey reads this. Totally worth a listen.

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