By John Piepgras
Sallie Smith deserves a gold star for her recent fellowship event devoted to “life on the farm”—it was most enjoyable, an occasion for great conversation ranging from farm experiences in days gone by to issues of contemporary agriculture and on to the joys and challenges of life at Kenilworth Union Church, all served up with a delightful lunch. For me personally it was particularly special, an occasion to recall, from long ago, taking my then-girlfriend, Kathy, to my home town to meet my mother and to visit my family farm. Yes, that’s Kathy in the picture above, seated in a model 7720 John Deere combine. As you might expect, behind the picture there’s a story.
It’s been 30 years since Kathy’s and my courtship. I’d grown up in a small farming community in southwest Minnesota, a far cry from Kathy’s big-city origins in the Chicago area. So the trip back home to introduce Kathy to my mother—de rigueur in the era of our courtship—would surely entail a visit to the family farm. But therein lay a problem. Kathy knew nothing of farm life; she’d never even been on a farm. So a bit of apprehension on my part was surely understandable. “What will she think?” I fretted. “How will this elegant lady from the city take to life on a farm? How will she react to discussions of corn and soybean yields, to anxieties about commodity prices, to endless speculations about the weather, to concerns over the rising cost of farm machinery? Is our budding relationship doomed to failure because of my rural roots?” But not to worry—Kathy loved the farm! The picture says it all. “Where are the keys?” she yelled from the cab. What’s more, mom was a model prospective mother-in-law. And the rest, as they say, is history.