The woman stopped me as I was headed to the trash cans.
“Do you farm?” she asked, looking at me inquisitively. I stood in the middle of Culver’s and looked back at her, wondering how in the world she knew that. It took me a few awkward seconds to remember that, duh, I was wearing a shirt that said “Farm to feed the world.” Right-o.
So I said yes, we do, and she immediately launched into a flurry of thank-you’s.
“Oh, that’s just so wonderful! You all work so hard,” she said. We talked a little more, and she asked about our farm. I told her how we raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle about an hour west of there. She asked about harvest and our family.
“Well, we just appreciate what you do so much,” she said. She gestured to the food on their table. “If it weren’t for you all doing what you do, we wouldn’t have any of this to eat!”
I thanked her for her kind words, and as I left the restaurant to catch up with my family, I couldn’t quite believe what had just happened. Neither could my husband. I mean, that’s the thing we talk about all the time, right? Thank a farmer. Don’t complain about farming with your mouth full. Farming feeds the world. There are a million such slogans that typically come from farmers, but more rarely from the random consumer in the middle of a Culver’s restaurant.
And why? I’m not sure. She was kind and gracious, and people like that typically go out of their way to build other people up. We were just a couple of weeks past harvest at that point, and there was little more affirming than to have someone acknowledge the work and the hours and the food we managed to produce.
Farmers, though, aren’t alone in our hard-working efforts. Teachers, nurses, volunteer firefighters, pastors and more do work every day to make our world easier and more fulfilled. They do what they do, so we can do what we do. Maybe, in this world of anger and angst, we all need to find someone to build up, to thank for their work.
You just never know what it’ll do for their day, too.