Posted 7/20/11 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
It’s been another one of those weeks for me as I’ve been chasing myself ragged trying to keep up with everything that is going on around the area (Homefest, Arnegard’s 4th of July and the McKenzie County Fair to name just three) while trying my hardest to find some free time to enjoy the summer season. And like virtually everyone else that I’ve visited with, the pace of work is getting the best of all of us and the days and weeks are becoming a blur.
Oh, I’m not complaining (actually I am) about being busy. Given the choice of being busy or wondering what to do, I’ll always choose being busy. But maybe not busy 18 hours a day/seven days a week busy.
So with that little excuse, after staring at my computer screen for the past hour and dreading the lack of any creative thoughts on how to fill this week’s column, I’m going to dip into the file that I keep for just such occasions.
And when you talk about being busy, one vocation that comes to mind of most of us who grew up in farming communities, is that of farming. So this week’s column is a tribute to all the farmers. While the author of the column is not known, it was delivered by the late Paul Harvey to the American Farm Bureau Federation in 1987.
SO GOD MADE A FARMER!
And on the eighth day, 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 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 township board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to cradle his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure to come back real soon and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse, who can fix a harness with hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, put in another 72 hours.” So God made the farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the 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 help a newborn calf begin to suckle and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower in an instant to avoid the nest of meadowlarks.”
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, brake, disk, plow, plant, strain the milk, replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with an eight-mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his family says that they are proud of what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.”