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The following was first published in The Oldham Era sometime in the late 1940’s.
A farmer is a man who starts out with nothing, loses on everything he grows and comes out even at the end of the year. Nobody knows how he does it. He doesn’t even know himself!
Anyone looking over his farm would think the smartest man in the world would starve trying to tend it. That would be right. The smartest man would starve, but not the farmer. His wife wouldn’t let him starve. She has one basic menu: she serves whatever she has. In good years, she serves half a dozen vegetables at a meal; in lean years she jumps from poke salad to black eyed peas.
A real farmer can shape an axe handle from a persimmon sprout and put in in with a dull pocket knife. He has a serviceable set of harnesses fashioned from hay wire, feed sacks and a few scraps of leather. He grows corn for the squirrels so the city sportsman may have something to shoot at in due season.
He is the world’s greatest optimist. He believes that the fact that he has come this far is proof that he can continue to the end. He buries last year’s disappointments with the spring plowing and lives for the future. His faith is not in himself alone.
Jokesters say he consults the almanac before he plants his crops and has his teeth pulled in the dark of the moon so they won’t sprout, and perhaps he does sometimes.
But, after a hard week’s work, he drives five miles to church because his heart still holds the eternal truths that wordly, wiser men have lost. If any man aspire to the title of farmer, let him measure himself by this standard.
He must have work out two pairs of overalls growing enough cotton for one; he must regularly do half a day’s work before the sun comes up and another half day’s work after the sun goes down; he must have the heart to plant in hope, cultivate in faith and end in failure, and then start all over with greater hope and stronger faith.
This is a farmer. Heaven helps the family that depends on him for support. Heaven help the nation that does not have him to depend upon for its support.
Reprinted at the request of
John McRoberts, La Grange