Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Farm Girls Are The Best

I might add that townies (small town girls) are up there too. It’s nothing scientific and I’m sure there are old acquaintances of mine who would challenge such a selective honor bestowed on women I’ve known.

But my observations, gleamed over several lifetimes, seem to hold true. There is something about being raised on a farm or small town that seems to ingratiate many young people into the ritual of hard work, without a salary and usually little praise. Farm girls seem the most prominent among this group. The ones I’ve meet and known have nothing but fond memories and praise for the work ethic they were raised with. ‘It didn’t hurt and it steeled me for a lifetime of facing challenges head-on and without hesitation,’ seems to be their common refrain.

Perhaps it’s what they got used to doing on the farm or an environment that was their life back then. Now it is what they are made of. Farm girls are the best workers I’ve ever come across, bar none.

This observation came into clear focus as I watched Sharon and her female friends unpacking, sorting, and repackaging children’s book back into boxes. It’s become part of our LaComb summer ritual; collecting books for District 196 to support and enhance their literacy program. The first year Sharon and her friends collected a little over four thousand books. Last year it was over six thousand books. This year, despite a delay with a trip abroad, Sharon is edging closer to more than eighteen thousand books collected, sorted and packaged up for the Apple Valley Literacy Program.

Sharon and Susan sorting through books

Denise and I packaging books

All summer Sharon and Susan, along with Denise, Mary and Barbara were like busy beavers, focused on the job in front of them. It occurred to me; don’t ask why, that all five were either farm girls or raised in small towns. They were used to hard labor early in life supporting their father. It might be in the fields, milking cows in the barn, cleaning out the sow cribs, collecting eggs in the chicken coop or loading hay bales on a field wagon.

Rotary group with books collected
This focus on the task ahead was best exemplified this summer when Sharon and a group of cohorts descended on a church/school garage sale in search of books. In less than an hour, they clear-cut several tables of children’s books, sweeping up more than five thousand books. They filled 85 sacks of books and loaded three SUVs with their loot. The booksellers never knew what hit them.

Naturally, those boxes and bags of books ended up in our garage to begin the long and arduous process of sorting, sizing, packaging and finally being shipped off to District 196. It was just one quip by one of the participants that got me thinking again. She was also a North Dakota farm girl and commented on her early morning ritual of cleaning the barn every day. This was no different. Several other couples also came from rural backgrounds and laughed at her comments with their own brand of acknowledgement.  Her comment crystalized to me the true meaning of work ethic. For most young girls raised on the farm comes a lifetime of facing challenges and laughing at hard work. I know of what I speak.

I married one forty-seven years ago.

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