Around my home, whenever I, my wife, or one of our children faced a seemingly impossible project, someone could be counted on to say, “Well, if it were easy, anyone could do it.” In time it was shortened to just, “If it were easy…”
Those words came to mind as I chatted at church Sunday with Coyt Hendon, a young Bolivar County, Miss., farmer. As he tended to two of his four small children, Coyt told me that one side of his farm had been flooded by two heavy rains while the other side had missed both rains altogether. The rains stunted some of his cotton and allowed weeds to grow up; drought was choking his soybeans.
Monday morning, he said, he’d be dealing with weeds and plant bugs in his cotton at the same time he was laying irrigation pipe for his soybeans. I couldn’t help but note the almost matter-of-fact manner in which he spoke. “It’s what I do,” he might have said. If it were easy…
Earlier that same morning I’d read in our local newspaper, The Cleveland Current, about another young farmer, Jeff Andrews of Sunflower County, Miss. The headline on the article was appropriate: Jack of all trades. When he’s not working 300 acres of his third-generation family farm, he’s maintaining his dental practice in Drew, Miss.
The article described how during the season, Andrews hits the fields early in the morning for a few hours, then goes home to shower and dress for his dental office. Around 4 p.m., it’s back to the fields until nightfall. Most Saturdays are spent on the farm.
In the article, Andrews says simply, “It is not always easy.”
Closer to home, I have the example of my father-in-law, Otha “Papaw” Tedford, who farmed and ginned cotton in Bolivar County for most of his life. He’s now 85, with a mind as sharp as a tack — I’d bet he could tell me about every crop he raised and ginned.
Watching Otha over the years I learned about the tightly woven connection of fields and family and faith that allowed him to sleep in peace at night even though a year’s work depended on a rain that might not come. More than once I said to myself, “I could never do that.”
The young farmer who can laugh at the irony of dealing with flood and drought on the same day. The dentist who sandwiches his practice between hours in the field. The retired farmer who never forgets the sweet smell of soil, the love of his family and his God who never failed him.
It’s “preaching to the choir” to tell Farm Press readers that farmers are a special breed of men and women, but it’s true nonetheless.
If it were easy…
You probably know someone who is part of that special breed we called farmers. I invite your comments and observations below.