Sometimes, You Get a Funny Sense of Optimism

Kansas Viewpoint

When I learned how much a little, city boy loves farm toys, I felt a sense of elation, uplift

Published on: November 26, 2011
There's something about seeing the future generations in agriculture that just can't be beat for farm optimism.

Little Galen, now about 30 months old, is the grandson of my life partner, Dave Dewhirst. He and his mommy and daddy, Noel and Rob, came to spend Thanksgiving with us from their home in Lawrence, where both are deeply engaged in academia from management issues to IT security and are connected to the University of Kansas, which for those of you who don't follow Kansas college life, is NOT K-State.

But when I spent the morning today with Galen and Mommy, I learned that his favorite toys are tractors and trucks (he seems to really love John Deere even though he picked the "yellow tractor" to take home from Exploration Place). Note: He acknowledged that he already had "green and red and blue" ones and needed to add "yellyow."

He also likes scrapers, backhoes, cranes, skid steers and bulldozers.

There is history here.

Daddy, who grew up in Wichita, chose as an adult to live for some time in rural America and tended a vineyard and mini-micro-brewery  before it proved to both not provide a living and was just too much work to do while working a full-time job elsewhere.

And Mommy's family has roots in western Kansas and genetic strains that link back to Cap Proffitt, manager of Barton County Feeders in Great Bend.

Do you suppose a love of  tractors and land movers is in the genes? Or is it just that little boys love machinery that moves stuff around? Or can it be that a mommy and daddy who support curiosity and exploration and have at least some knowledge of working agriculture just make a little guy more inspired?

I have to admit that Galen also seemed inspired by drums and guitars and the banjo his daddy likes to play at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield every year. And he beat out a mean rhythm on the little bongos at his disposal.

And he really loved looking at the airplanes that his Grampy Dave flies as well as the helicopter that was on the ramp, and the planes that took off. And he put up a considerable protest of it not being a good day to "fly up into the sky" what with winds of 30 to 40 mph gusting to 60.

So he could become a college professor. Or a computer guru. Or a musician. Or a pilot.  Or a rocket scientist.

But it just gives me a little sense of optimism that no matter what he becomes, he will always remember how cool tractors and trucks and earth movers really are.

And I hope I can play a role in helping him know some of the people to whom they are daily tools.