Making Hay

Tractors have always fascinated me, and they pique my interest to an even greater degree now that I have taken more than a few trips around the sun. I wonder about the stories behind those machines and the tireless workers who have sat behind their controls, working the land day after day, month after month, year after year. My maternal grandmother grew up on a farm in Bath, New York, at the tail end of The Great Depression. Life was fraught with difficulty, of course, but it was meaningful and rewarding. Marcia E. White—I called her Nanny—has been gone for more than a decade now, but the stories she told me about those times stick with me to this day. There were always jobs to be done. 

There is still value to be found in a hard day’s work, and nobody embodies that belief better than the American farmer. Think about it. Have you ever met an unhappy farmer? Maybe Will Rogers was onto something when he said, “The farmer has to be an optimist, or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” George Washington was a little less lighthearted and a little more matter of fact on the subject: “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most notable employment of man.” More than 200 years later, something still rings true about his words. A part of me will think about them every time I pass one of those tractors on my travels. 

Click here to read more stories by Brian Knapp.

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