There is no doubt that our country is losing its rural roots and heritage faster and faster as the decades fly by.
At the time Lincoln was president it’s estimated as many as 90 percent of Americans lived on farms. Somewhere prior to 1900 the scales tipped and there were more folks living in the city than down on the farm. By the 1920s that had slipped to 30 percent and today less than 2 percent of our nation is engaged in farming.
Seems these days we’re a long way from the beef but never more than a few blocks from a quarter-pounder with cheese.
I consider myself fortunate to have grown up on a family farm — at least until I was 11. Even after we moved to town my folks continued to make their living in ag-related businesses and some of my family still makes a living from agriculture.
City relatives and friends were fascinated by life on a farm but it was hard for a country kid to appreciate it even when your new school chum was amazed at the size of the tractors and the combines.
OK. All you country bumpkins have to admit at one time or another you took advantage of the naïveté of a city slicker. Who didn’t try and convince an unknowing boy to pee on an electric fence. No one out there has ever waited until the town guest asks for seconds to clue him in to exactly what parts of the calf go into calf fries.
My dad’s claim to fame was the day the banker pulled up at the dairy where he was packing silage to talk about a bank note. Dad was busy and invited him up into the cab of the packing tractor. By the time he’d ridden to the top of the silage stack a few times the man in the three-piece suit was reportedly starting to see thing my dad’s way. At least I think that’s the way the story was told.
My grandmother claimed to have told someone about peanuts growing underneath the ground when she was little and to prove it she went out and yanked a few peanut plants out of the ground. Her dad was evidently not amused but grandmother had been right — peanuts did grow under the ground.
Somehow or another city kids always had a hard time diving into a horse tank to go swimming on a hot day. I’m not sure if it was the feel of moss between their toes, the waterdogs swimming there too or the water lilies that could grab your arm like a water snake.
I suppose the one area of farm life where city folks were at the biggest disadvantage was snipe hunting down on the farm. Farm boys and girls had all hunted snipe from a very early age. We knew what they looked like we knew their calls and all their tricks. Citified children just had to learn about snipe the hard way.
Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org