What More Could A Farmer Ask For?
Dec 21, 2013
A neighbor, Howard, died recently. He lived a couple miles south of me. I went to school with his kids, waved when I met him on the road, and always enjoyed chatting with him whenever our paths crossed.
He never farmed "big," but he farmed well enough to raise a family and live comfortablyl. Corn, beans, hogs and cattle. If you wanted a storybook example of a traditional family farm through the '60s and '70s, you could have taken a picture of his operation. He overhauled his own tractors in an unheated machine shed where an old, tinny-sounding radio played country music 24 hours a day, fed cattle and hogs with a 5-gallon bucket, and told his best stories after pausing to tuck a wad of tobacco behind his lower lip.
Howard wasn't perfect, but he was a good neighbor. People spoke well of him not only at his funeral, but in local coffee shops and whenever two pickups stopped on a gravel road to exchange valuable information related to farming and the community (farmers don't "gossip").
I'm thinking that's a pretty good thing to have farm folks say about you after you're gone. "He was a good neighbor" says a lot in a short sentence.