Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back When I Was A Farmer...

When I was with the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau - in the 1970s - I had a great job. There we were - smack dab in the middle of America's Bread Basket or something.

I was invited to participate in many things and one of the B E S T was "Swap A Visit With A Farmer" offered by the Chamber of Commerce. The idea was to make city-slickers more appreciative of what a farmer does for us. And, I guess, vice versa.

My family didn't know exactly where we were going for the "Surprise Weekend" but I drove us to the middle of Missouri one Friday and we met our host farm family. That night we gathered with a few hundred other farmers and families, sat in bleachers and rooted for the hometown high school football game. They won. Things were looking up.

We didn't actually stay in the rambling rustic farmhouse I had envisioned for the weekend. He was rebuilding so we stayed underground - in the basement - beneath the house just barely under construction. He had failed to tell the Chamber about that.

With no windows it was hard to know when the sun came up but when it did, we were already awake and sitting down to a HUGE breakfast. Bigger than the Grand Slam featured on the menu at Denney's. Farmers eat like food grows on trees.

There was a drought going on so Farmer Joe and I spent most of the morning making trips to fill a large water tank in the back of his pickup and we hauled water to his thirsty cows. They got excited when they spotted his truck. Well, as excited as a cow ever gets. They moo-ed back when I moo-ed them.

My young daughter got to ride on the seat on the tractor (without a helmet or a seatbelt as my then-wife pointed out) and that was cool. In fact, everything was cool. The high temperature for the weekend was about 35 degrees. They both caught terrible colds. And there was the incident with the pig knocking her into the mud.

Ok, it wasn't the greatest thing we ever did as a family, but I had a new appreciation for Winter Wheat, Milo and the other stuff Joe was growing and, of course, we were looking forward to when Joe and the Missus would come to stay with us in Kansas City. I could hardly wait.

My house was already built and we had a spare room. Above ground.

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