Thankfulness takes many forms, and for the farm wife, there are many more layers to the word thankfulness, possibly just because her home is out in the middle of farming country.
Case in point:
This past summer I had called an appliance repairman to look at our refrigerator. In the meantime, I needed to leave, so I told him where the refrigerator was, and asked him to call me with his diagnosis.
He called later, saying there was a dog in the house that would not let him in, so he left.
At first I thought, “Bad dog!….er, wait….good dog!”
I couldn’t decide if I was more annoyed with the fact that he kept our refrigerator from being fixed, or happy about the fact that he protected our home.
In the end, I was thankful for a territorial dog – a rural protective force on four legs. And we don’t even have to share our tax dollars with him.
There are lots of things farm wives deal with, a mud room that is spotted with barnyard-generated clumps that are not actually mud; clothes dryers that double as corn dryers – and dry almost as much corn; hand towels that look like they belong at the tire repair shop; supper in the field in threshing and fall – and summer suppers at 10 p.m.; mending pliers pockets on blue jeans and insulated coveralls; blow dryers that show up missing because they are out in the lambing barn – used to warm up babies that need help, and midnight trips out to the barn in mid-February to check on impending animal mothers.
The farm wife is thankful for scented candles that make her home smell like she doesn’t live on a farm, and for scents that she hopes will never be manufactured, such as “Hog Chore Clothing” and “Dog and Skunk Standoff.”
Her autumn days are full, with her family calling on her help often when they are so busy.
If she’s not in the tractor or working a full-time job in town, she’s the parts runner, supper hauler, people and equipment mover, bookkeeper, bill payer, garden produce preserver, lawn maintenance person, fill-in person when someone is gone, part-time land tiller and hay raker, and sounding board for when equipment breaks down and people disagree on protocol.
She’s thankful there is no time to watch television, because her real life is far more interesting than anything networks can offer her.
She has a lot to do, but she knows there are many who long for things to fill their days.
While the harvest is more bountiful some years than others, she is always grateful for it. It’s that bounty that gives her the life she lives so willingly.
It brings her both joy and tears, but it’s still a life that offers her what – and whom – no other life can.
And so she stays.
And as she contemplates the harvest in the bins and out in the barns, she thinks about all of the other bounties she reaps, perhaps undeservingly, throughout the year – family, friends, food, a place to call home, safe harvest seasons, the health of her family, people to help her and her family through tough times; and this life that she shakes her head at some days, but would still never trade.
And let’s not forget to be thankful for cocoa bean farmers.
St. Paul was on the right track when he said, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)
From my perspective, I can do all of my things through chocolate, which also gives me strength.
Me, cocoa farmers and St. Paul – we’ve got this farm life covered.
And for that, I am truly thankful.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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