My cousin's son visited today with his wife and kids. They're from Utah.
His grandpa is my dad's oldest brother, my Uncle Dave. I won't go on and on, but man, I liked that guy. And miss him. The story I remembered is that he was really happy to leave the farm for the Air Force Academy.
So when Kris and I decided to buy the farm, I was interested in what he thought. I'd had a friend leave a voice mail message that had disturbed me - the friend expressed shock that we were going to buy the farm and, essentially, change our life path.
I emailed my Uncle Dave about it and this is, in part, what he sent back:
Farming - a "Lesser Profession!" I've never had the experience you just had - or that Kris is anticipating; i.e., having people look down their noses at farmers. At least, I should say, I've never had people say anything negative about farming/farmers to my face. Maybe one of the reasons is because I've always been so outwardly proud of my background on the farm and its positive influences on me (so much so that we sent the first three of our five sons back to the farm during their summer vacations from school). Whenever I have to give a verbal bio sketch of myself, it always starts off with: I'm a FARM kid from Michigan! And my admiration for the way your dad and uncle have conducted their businesses of dairy farming is a frequent topic of conversation when I'm in the position of having to make "small talk" with people at parties, etc. It's easy to marvel at the technological advances in farming (particularly, dairy farming) that have changed it from the "Mom & Pop" operations of just a few years ago to the highly efficient businesses that are extant with those who are making a living in that arena these days. Those who DO look down their noses at the business you're about to get into are exactly what you typed the boor who left you that message: incredibly ignorant!
He, of course, made me laugh. It turns out my friend was just making a joke anyway.
But seeing his grandson today, and his interest in the history of the farm, made me think about all of this. If we hadn't taken over the farm, I probably would rarely, if ever, come here again. My parents would have sold it and moved. But since we're still here, our relatives still come and visit! So a day in their lives might be a little different too.
Uncle Dave loved leaving for college - who doesn't? But he loved coming back to visit, too. When you introduce yourself as a farm kid, what other vacation plans could be better?