Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hometown Boy

Kevin's great uncle Duane Dailey has written a newspaper column for years entitled Hometown Boy. It appears in our local newspaper: The Mirror.

Farm Camp refreshes family's farmland heritage

A week of Farm Camp allowed me to become reacquainted with the family farmland, my grandson and my accepting relatives. To me, all hold high value.
July 4, 2009, at a family reunion, we hatched a plan for Farm Camp for Grandson Samuel from Florida. On his short visit then for a multi-generational gathering of in-laws and out-laws, Sam didn't get a true view of farm life. There were family gabs, big dinners, fireworks, marshmallow roasts and more talking around a campfire. Oh, yes, there was the pond fishing.
This Camp offers grandpa and a grandson more used to Snorkel Camp a closer look at the farm. There are cows, hay baling, rain, corn and soybeans, farm dogs, cats, ticks, poison ivy, and manure. And, there's history. Our ancestors started arriving soon after Missouri became a state; even before the counties we now know.
We wonder and marvel at why they did that. Reading between the lines, they must have been independent-minded cusses who just didn't require much government. And the recognized the bounty of this land.
I've heard stories of one great-grandfather, who now lies in his grave on this family farm, knew a broad stretch of land as well or better than we know our own backyards. Back then, it was a case of living off the land. He knew, I was told by a man who held similar knowledge, the location of every bee tree, nut tree, fox den, duck slough and quail covey. He would walk over a two-or-three county area on an outing.
Need I say this was before Wal-Mart and John Deere? He knew how to make things out of what we consider nothing. Once in awhile, I must stop my hectic pace and contemplate that.
There must have been times when I'd encountered bureaucratic stupidity so profound, I feared blowing a cork. At that point, I'd stopped right there, closed shop and headed back to the farm to spend time sitting on a hill, under an evergreen treeon a mossy spot not farm from those ancestors' graves. From that view, what I thought were imponderably profound problems became tiny specks on that timeline of my ancestors, who originally came from distant lands to help create this land of the free.
With those thoughts, I came to realize, that indeed I do have an obligation to sustain this land and this choice of freedom, open to future generations. Long ago, those ancestors with the sharpest sword must have won. Closer to my generation, but before my time, another great-grandpa was quick with his fists when riled by some Damn Democrat.
That's not my way. No fights. Just words and attempts at analytical thinking.
At farm camp, at sunup one morning with first cup of caffeine, we held a mini-seminar on how hard it is to find commonsense in hired hands and politicians. I discovered that fine grandson, who I see once a year, is developing a fine wit and sense of irony, but no cynicism.
He seeks wisdom. Those freedom-seeking ancestors would be proud to see him here--on their land.
He brings skills. Sam outfished his grandpa and great uncle. He caught bigger and more fish to earn honors as Bass Pro. Best of all, he brought computer skills. He is armed to tackle the modern world. He fixed one virus-bound computer on the farm, installed new operating softward on another and drivers for the printers. Best of all he installed updated Photoshop software on his grandpa's computer.
That was in his spare time, when not driving four-wheelers. Some things don't change. He drove the pickup around the pasture learning great shifts. That's how I started.
Did I mention, he is 15 and arrived with a new and unused learners permit?
It was a good farm camp/computer camp/fish camp with a lot of commonsense learning.

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