As I write this the world is in a hurry to slow a spreading pandemic. Grocery stores shelves are empty, schools and events are canceled, travel is restricted and workers have been sent home — all out of an abundance of caution.
After 2019, no one expected 2020 to be worse, and right now, economically, it’s headed that direction. Unless trends change soon, America is traveling toward harder times. That said, this isn’t the first muddy field we’ve crossed.
Lessons from the Past
I lost my 98-year-old grandmother to heaven in March. She was the toughest woman I’ve ever met. She survived the depression, Dust Bowl, WWII, the ’80s farm crisis and everything else in the past 30 years.
She witnessed tough times during the 1930s when her father had to take a Works Progress Administration job, leaving her to handle most of the farming for two years. That included running a horse-drawn plow one summer. She learned to lay bricks, fix boots, work cows, build fence, run grain trucks and mow grass. She even reroofed her own house in her 80s.
As we lose these legends of hardiness, I reflect on the lessons they taught us. As spoken by my cousin during the service, “Whenever I think life is hard, I think about my grandmother and the things she had to endure. Life today isn’t that tough.”
How did she and so many others in the agricultural industry do it all? They worked one day at a time; the rest I’ll never know.
Work Will Continue
While the world spins, crops will still be planted, cows will be milked, livestock will be fed and the work will go on. Even while my grandmother survived a lifetime of trials, that angel still found time to help kids with 4-H projects, teach Sunday school and bake pies for her community. She focused on loving others rather than the difficulties she faced.
In rural America, the hands may be few, but the resolve is big enough to carry this industry forward.