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A Reflection on the Independence of Farmers

Paula Ebert headshotSome weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night because I heard what sounded like a huge car crash. Looking at the clock, I wondered how two cars managed to collide at 1:40 a.m. on the road in front of the house. Sure enough, there was a vehicle on its side in the ditch. My husband called the sheriff and I got dressed and took my car out (to provide headlines to see by) and drove down the lane. I saw the car, and was convinced there would be need of an ambulance. By the time my husband joined me, I had discovered that it was a cousin (remember we’re related to half of the folks around here). He was out of his truck and it wasn’t a multi-car crash, it was him, trying to avoid a deer, unsuccessfully, it turned out. He announced that he’d called his girlfriend, and she was on her way so he could get his tractor and set the truck upright again.

I’m telling you all this because it is a car accident with a good ending, for one. No one but the deer hurt, and it illustrates something vitally important about the farmer mentality. This fellow wasted no time. He wanted to set the truck upright because of the fluids in the engine. There was no waiting for a tow truck, no ringing of hands, no wasting time on regrets. Just fix it. He used the tine on the tractor to hoist up the truck, and drive it home, and came back and got the tractor. Done in about an hour.

My son, one time, drove a fully-loaded dump truck into a ditch. There was a similar response. Once the men finished a bit of teasing, they pitched in to fix it. It was visible from the road, and several men came by to see if they could help. They ended up unloading the truck and using a tractor to pull it out. All the men had a story about similar things they had done as a youth, or even the day before. There was a tremendous tolerance for mistakes that I really appreciated, and I’m sure my son did too.

When we first moved here, my son was very impressed with the hard work of the farmers. He said if you wanted to win a war, all you’d need were a bunch of old farmers, because they would work and work until it was done, and they’d do it all themselves.  American know-how at its best.