Greetings from southern Illinois once again. I think, like much of the state, the past week to two weeks has been busy trying to get crops planted. Corn planted in April around here still is highly uneven, while mid-May planted stuff looks rather well, at least what’s there does. Early June planted looks good for now, fear of the conditions it was planted in may start showing up at anytime. May beans aren’t looking bad, and June beans are struggling to take off with the cooler temps. I think it’s safe to say most people got as much corn planted as they wanted and for the most part the same on beans. All crops and plantings have a few holes and drowned out spots due to heavy rains.

Wheat harvest has begun. Yields have been average and quality hasn’t been the best. Double-crop beans are going in as quickly as possible.

This past couple weeks, we’ve had a lot of fun, trials and blessings working with my family here on the farm — in particular, my father. I know it’s past Fathers Day, but I thought I’d share an open letter to my father and see if you can’t relate.

Dear Dad:

I’ve been back here on the farm for sometime now and a lot has changed and some things have stayed the same. I remember when I first came back and had all these “wild” ideas of things to do and things to change. You with your wisdom listened to them and sorted through them, and we worked together to figure which one would work and wouldn’t, so I could come back full time. At the time it seemed like a snail-speed pace. Looking back at it, though, it’s seems just a moment.

I can still remember the time I convinced you to let us buy some technology for the sprayer and planter and you got the bill. You weren’t used to writing such large checks and were concerned how it was going to pay back. I think it was about three years later you went to a meeting and came home and started telling all about this wonderful technology we should get and it would pay off really fast. I asked if you remembered that big check you wrote three years ago. We had a laugh and you asked what else we should get.

With all this technology and upgrade in equipment, the roles have reversed some, as well. I can remember the time you were sidedressing and it was me in the operator’s seat teaching you the new way of doing what you taught me over 20 years ago. Your steady thought process and knowledge and wisdom, though, have also kept me from some hair-brained ideas, as well. It’s taken us a while to find our balance of working together and idea sharing. I’m always quick to find something new to start, while you are slow and steady to make sure I’ve thought through it all.

Yesterday, we had a scare. Granted, it was a lost cellphone and nothing had happened to you — how did you operate without cellphones? With that scare, a world of different emotions and thoughts ran through my head. Am I ready? Am I ready to be the main person to make decisions, without anyone else to bounce ideas off? Am I ready to fill the position you’ve left behind? You pick up a lot of things that allow me to do some of my hair-brained ideas that some day may really take off, or flop. You’ve allowed me to literally travel the world and learn. Have I allowed you the same time to take off and travel and do?

Am I ready to plan out the day, week, months and years? Financially, crops, cattle, day to day, and everything else that comes with a farm? I know I wouldn’t be the person I am without you, and I know the farm wouldn’t be the same, as well. The past years working together have been the most enjoyable. It’s always been great looking over and seeing us working together to get done everything that needs to be done. I know we’ve both been mad at each other at times. Still there isn’t anyone that could or will be able to replace you. It’s been fun watching you follow your dreams in singing in barbershop, and I know you’ll continue to do well in it.

As time continues to march on, I know our time working together isn’t as much as it used to be. I hope that I take the time to enjoy it while I can. I know we aren’t much of a touchy-feely family, but God’s blessed me with a great one.

Love, your son

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