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Home Front: John and Kendra Smiley look back on 10 years of columns, family and life, and bid adieu to the Home Front.

John and Kendra Smiley

February 5, 2021

2 Min Read
male farmer holding son in field

I have vivid memories of my mother standing at the end of the driveway, waving goodbye to my older brother and his wife as they drove away after a short visit. My mom, always in an apron, would use it to wipe away her tears. It was hard for her to say goodbye.

As a 12-year-old at the time, I didn’t really understand my mom’s tears. Now, as the mother of three adult sons living in three different states with their wives and children, it is much clearer.

 The “boys” are amazingly good at calling us and keeping us up to date on the family happenings in Indiana, Iowa and New York, but that’s not the same as seeing their smiles or the smiles of the rest of their crew.

In a sense, what you’re reading right now — the Home Front — is our best effort to say goodbye and thank you to each of you. This will be our last Home Front column. You are the folks who have read about my sincere effort to be John’s “hired man” and his sincere effort to be patient.

We met Holly Spangler years ago as we led a parenting workshop at a Hearts at Home conference. As I recall, after our session, she came to our book table and we visited with her for a few minutes. Days later she sent us what might be called an encouraging thank you note.

You won’t be surprised (but we were) to realize how articulate she was. We had no background about her writing or her connection to Prairie Farmer.

I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but you have already guessed that we were invited and delighted to be asked to be a part of the Prairie Farmer family.

Now we believe it’s time to say goodbye to that delightful responsibility. We want to be certain you, the reader, know how much your words of encouragement have meant to us.

“The Carol Burnett Show” was one of my favorites for years. She always closed with this song: “I’m so glad we had this time together. Just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just got started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say, so long.”

Thanks, and God bless you and your Home Front!

Editor’s note: We are so grateful to John and Kendra Smiley for sharing their life, wisdom and experiences with Prairie Farmer readers for the past 10 years. We wish them the very best in this next season of life on their home front!

John and Kendra Smiley farm near East Lynn, Ill. Email [email protected], or visit The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

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