File this under “random thoughts remotely connected to other random thoughts I had two weeks ago” OR “things I wish other people understood about farm life.”
The other night as I was sitting in the bleachers in Wynot, watching both of my daughters’ Crofton teams play the Wynot girls, I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate we are to live where we do.
A few farm residents complain that it takes too long to get to the nearest discount place or fast food restaurant from here, but for us, traffic isn’t much of an issue unless it means stopping to help a farmer chase his cows down the road to pasture. Few urbanites could appreciate our rural summer adventures, because they can’t read about them in travel brochures or weekend entertainment guides.
On the farm, things don’t have be planned out, and they don’t have to be perfect. Some of the most enjoyable leisure time is spent doing things that might seem mundane or even weird to the outsider.
Wynot’s ball field is on the north edge of town and is surrounded by corn and soybean fields. If there is a pop foul ball, it might land in the soybeans. One fly ball landed in the beans, so it was great that the softball was bright yellow, so the players could find it back. You don’t get a timeout to find the ball back on those manicured urban ball fields.
The softball games were cordial, where after the games, the players and coaches all shook hands and patted each other on the back, because half of the players and their parents on both teams were either cousins or friends. Sure, things get competitive on the field, but when the games are finished, there is no shouting or hard feelings, just a good sense of sportsmanship.
Around Crofton, golfing has only become popular over the past 20 years or so. A bunch of farmers who liked to golf together brought the idea to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who owned land along the Missouri River. They leased some Corps land near Gavins Point Dam and Lewis and Clark Lake along the Nebraska/South Dakota border north of town, formed a golf association, and brought their tractors and discs out to prepare a seedbed for fairways and greens. That’s how our Lakeview Golf Course, which has evolved into one of the most scenic and challenging courses in the state, came to pass.
Last summer, when my children fished from our little creek, it wasn’t something you’ll ever see on the Pro Bass Tour. We strung our nightcrawlers on hooks and dropped our lines in a pond where the creek was backed up. Tiny fish, maybe four or five inches long, bit our worms and kept us busy for two hours. Every fish was thrown back for another day. Don’t worry. No fish were harmed. But, no trophy fish and no trophies were awarded, and we all had a great time anyway.
I suppose I’m still working through a theme that I started in my blog about “fly over states” two weeks ago. Even in drought, farm life is wonderful, and it is something that we all need to appreciate. It doesn’t really matter if outsiders see the charm and goodness of our lives on farms and ranches. It can be our little secret. It is their loss.