My dad, my brothers & I with our 400-horse power combine in 2006. Technology changed a lot during my father’s farming career, but the traditions he passed down to us continue. Traditions like taking care of the land so it can take care of you – a legacy I plan to pass on to the next generation.
We wrapped up harvest this week and as I watched the equipment make its final rounds through our fields, I could still see my father sitting in the cab, even though it’s been 10 years since his last tour of duty running the combine. This September marked the sixth anniversary of my father’s passing as well as the sixth birthday of my oldest grandchild.
My father never took much, if anything, for granted. He loved good food, a “good read”, the Chicago Bulls (Jordan Era) and he loved people. He also loved to farm and appreciated the technology that went with it.
Pulled out of school at 13 (during The Great Depression), his farming life began holding the reins behind a few horses (the four-legged kind) and ended 75 years later in an air conditioned cab, on top of four hundred horses (diesel) that used satellites orbiting the earth to guide it through the field. I could elaborate at length on how much he appreciated the advances in technology in his farming career, but just suffice it to say, “a bunch”!
He suffered through allergies (ragweed was the worst), long hours (never heard him complain much), and some daunting curve balls that “Mother Nature” threw his way. Embracing changes and advances in technology, helped alleviate his allergies, shorten his hours and helped him get a few hits off of some of the nasty pitches thrown his way. Thanks to the inventiveness of others (and some of his own), he provided for his family, made time to spend with his family, and left us a farm that was in better shape than when he acquired it.
As I mentioned, my father didn’t take much for granted, including leaving the world a better place than when he entered it. I believe he truly was and is representative of the American farmer today. The conservation practices and farming traditions that farm families carry on today are because of the legacy of those who came before us and continue to touch us today!
I miss him!
My dad started his farming career behind two horses (the four-legged kind). Here he is with the reins and my two older siblings circa 1950.