Today our community laid to rest a good man. His tribute to him was a true testament to living your life with no regrets.
Bill was a fourth generation farmer in our neighborhood. It runs so deep in his blood just as does in ours.
As I sat and listened to his brother, sister and nephew regale stories of how Bill lived his 67 years of life I looked around the crowded room some were old time farmers, retired now, some are still farming, many long time neighbors, and of course his large family. It began to dawn on me that my husband and I were the young farmers in the neighborhood when we got married but we aren't anymore. My daughter and her husband are one of the few in our area that will be bringing up the next generation of farmers.
There was a common thread as each of the family shared their hearts. Bill was brought up to be a hard working man even when times got tough - roll up your sleeves, put your back into and work harder. He worked long hard hours wrenching on equipment, feeding cattle, milking cows, driving truck, baling hay, pitching manure, sitting in the tractor or combine sun up until many times when the sun went down regardless of whether or not you were tired. A farmer can't check things off the list because the work is never done.
Bill expected the same hard working ethics from his own kids.
Then there was tough love. Pinch a finger, fall down, or scrape a knee. It didn't matter pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. His dad always said, "It's a long way from your heart".
It all sounds horrid! Hard labor with your hands from sun up till late at night! But there is a flip side.
His family shared plenty of stories of spending time together: swimming, playing softball, going fishing, hunting and even though they were working EVERY day (yes that means seven days a week - summer, fall, winter, spring) it was all time spent with the family.
Reflecting on today I know my husband and I were raised the same as Bill and then instilled the same ethics in our children. I hope that my daughter can bring her children up in the same farming lifestyle as we were able to.
Farming has changed tremendously but the same ideology will continue to stay the same.
Work hard - Play hard!