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KAREN SCHWALLER

By Staff | May 24, 2013

I’m not gonna lie. It was with great shock and disbelief that I read recently that Gwyneth Paltrow beat me out for the title of World’s Most Beautiful Woman.

I’m not saying it created an avalanche of emotional and self-esteem issues, but it’s safe to say that I don’t wear black just because I’m such a big Johnny Cash fan.

It did give cause for reflection, though, on what beauty really is. And the truth is, it depends on a lot of things.

I remembered when our children were small and just venturing out on two and three wheels. I could keep up walking with our daughter as she was riding a tricycle, and I pulled her brothers in the red wagon.

But once she moved to a bicycle and her brothers put the lead foot down on their own tricycles – even on a gravel road – it became clear that I would have to get myself a bike if I didn’t want to eat their dust.

Being a young family with only one of us working at the time, I could not afford to buy myself a new bike. Thus, the lure of garage sales finally broke me down, and I found myself in the garage of a woman who had one for sale. As I was examining it, she said to me, “I think you’ll really like it – it has a nice big seat.”

At that point, I’d like to have swatted hers.

It may have been the onset of my very first frown line. But the fact remained that I needed my own bike for more than one reason.

If you’re a farm wife, you’ve weighed feed rations, calves, pigs and your options. But weighing ourselves can be scarier than coming face to face with a protective new mother out in the barn yards.

And if it isn’t bad enough to face the music that disguises itself as a bathroom scale in the corner, then our work sometimes calls us to find ourselves on the scale at the local elevator. For the farm wife, this whole scale thing not only haunts us on TV, in magazines and in our bathrooms, but now it comes to the work place. Oh, the injustice of it all.

During planting time in the tractor, I often wonder if – among all of those monitors and push-button boxes with lights – if there isn’t some kind of secret satellite screen that tells the weight of the person in the buddy seat; some kind of sacred chip that tells the monitor if the person in the buddy seat has eaten too many of their own chips.

If I’ve ever ridden with you in your tractor, I don’t want to know.

But as we go about life and hear about the “beasts” of beauty pageants, the running for the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and are bombarded with ads that cause us to painfully compare ourselves to all those flawless, air-brushed women in the magazines and in country music videos, I wonder what real beauty truly is.

And the truth is that all depends on where you live. Because here in farm country, true beauty runs deeper than what we see on the outside of a person.

Farm women may not fall into all the traps of fashion and fads, but in order to contribute to the family business, she can carry feed bags, feed and water buckets and lift hay bales.

She can drive a tractor and manage the chores. She can come home from a full day at the office, to start in on her next eight hours of work keeping the home and family going, and working on the farm. She has hands that are strong enough to help load pigs, and soft enough to welcome a new baby into the neighborhood. Her shoulders are strong enough to bear the trials that sometimes come with farm life, and weak enough to know when she needs someone to lean on.

She has a heart that is generous enough to include all people, yet bruised enough from life’s farm lessons and from people whose motives are less than honest.

She may have lines in her face, but it’s from weathering the same storms as her farmer husband. She feels the emotional side of every issue – and on the farm, there are plenty of issues. When those issues affect her family, she feels it the most intensely.

And yet, there she is – a family’s glue dressed in denim and dirt, sweaty hair and manure-covered shoes, all the truest accessories of a farm wife and mother.

And she stays because she loves this life, and those in her home who make it all happen. Now that’s true beauty. Be proud, my fellow farm ladies.

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net

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KAREN SCHWALLER

By Staff | May 24, 2013

I’m not gonna lie. It was with great shock and disbelief that I read recently that Gwyneth Paltrow beat me out for the title of World’s Most Beautiful Woman.

I’m not saying it created an avalanche of emotional and self-esteem issues, but it’s safe to say that I don’t wear black just because I’m such a big Johnny Cash fan.

It did give cause for reflection, though, on what beauty really is. And the truth is, it depends on a lot of things.

I remembered when our children were small and just venturing out on two and three wheels. I could keep up walking with our daughter as she was riding a tricycle, and I pulled her brothers in the red wagon.

But once she moved to a bicycle and her brothers put the lead foot down on their own tricycles – even on a gravel road – it became clear that I would have to get myself a bike if I didn’t want to eat their dust.

Being a young family with only one of us working at the time, I could not afford to buy myself a new bike. Thus, the lure of garage sales finally broke me down, and I found myself in the garage of a woman who had one for sale. As I was examining it, she said to me, “I think you’ll really like it – it has a nice big seat.”

At that point, I’d like to have swatted hers.

It may have been the onset of my very first frown line. But the fact remained that I needed my own bike for more than one reason.

If you’re a farm wife, you’ve weighed feed rations, calves, pigs and your options. But weighing ourselves can be scarier than coming face to face with a protective new mother out in the barn yards.

And if it isn’t bad enough to face the music that disguises itself as a bathroom scale in the corner, then our work sometimes calls us to find ourselves on the scale at the local elevator. For the farm wife, this whole scale thing not only haunts us on TV, in magazines and in our bathrooms, but now it comes to the work place. Oh, the injustice of it all.

During planting time in the tractor, I often wonder if – among all of those monitors and push-button boxes with lights – if there isn’t some kind of secret satellite screen that tells the weight of the person in the buddy seat; some kind of sacred chip that tells the monitor if the person in the buddy seat has eaten too many of their own chips.

If I’ve ever ridden with you in your tractor, I don’t want to know.

But as we go about life and hear about the “beasts” of beauty pageants, the running for the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and are bombarded with ads that cause us to painfully compare ourselves to all those flawless, air-brushed women in the magazines and in country music videos, I wonder what real beauty truly is.

And the truth is that all depends on where you live. Because here in farm country, true beauty runs deeper than what we see on the outside of a person.

Farm women may not fall into all the traps of fashion and fads, but in order to contribute to the family business, she can carry feed bags, feed and water buckets and lift hay bales.

She can drive a tractor and manage the chores. She can come home from a full day at the office, to start in on her next eight hours of work keeping the home and family going, and working on the farm. She has hands that are strong enough to help load pigs, and soft enough to welcome a new baby into the neighborhood. Her shoulders are strong enough to bear the trials that sometimes come with farm life, and weak enough to know when she needs someone to lean on.

She has a heart that is generous enough to include all people, yet bruised enough from life’s farm lessons and from people whose motives are less than honest.

She may have lines in her face, but it’s from weathering the same storms as her farmer husband. She feels the emotional side of every issue – and on the farm, there are plenty of issues. When those issues affect her family, she feels it the most intensely.

And yet, there she is – a family’s glue dressed in denim and dirt, sweaty hair and manure-covered shoes, all the truest accessories of a farm wife and mother.

And she stays because she loves this life, and those in her home who make it all happen. Now that’s true beauty. Be proud, my fellow farm ladies.

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net

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