I was sorry to hear that Gerry Ayers passed away so soon after writing his last column. It reminds me of Charles Schultz and his last “Peanuts” column. Mr. Schultz, among other things, was a sports fan. He particularly liked ice-skating and hockey, starting, later in life, an over-75 hockey league! All the more a feat because he lived in sunny California! No doubt Gerry and Charles are swapping tales right now. I’m sure he also has some favorite cars that he will discuss with Gerry.
One of Gerry’s last requests to us was that we think. I will do what I can to honor Gerry’s wish. A bit about me and then we’ll move on…
I grew up on a “micro” — by today’s standards – Midwest dairy farm. Dad was an east coast big city boy and Mom was a local farm girl who was her class valedictorian. They met at the Fort Wayne, Indiana, USO club after WW2 (Mom’s roommate and friend, Marge, wanted her to accompany her. Mom agreed to go just once!) She said Dad was polite and nice, and they exchanged postal mail addresses. (No texting in those days!!) Dad didn’t want to go back to city living and decided to farm. From some of Mom’s stories (always told in love) at times it was a bit like the “Green Acres” TV show. Dad went to agriculture classes. Whatever he did, he gave it his all and became a successful farmer. A proud moment for Dad was when the local seed corn dealer asked if he could put a sign up showing it was his company who provided the seed for the crop.
Our house had many books because two of my grandparents were teachers, another a principal and one a pastor of a large church with a weekly radio show.
I spent many hours on small tractors (compared to today’s behemoths), such as a 9N Ford, helping Dad with planting, cultivating, and harvesting various crops including hay baling (can’t forget that!!). Life was straightforward. Whatever was planted came up as long as all went well with proper soil and moisture levels throughout the growing season. Put corn down in the soil, and corn came up, the exact same hybrid that was purchased from the dealer.
Although I never hesitated to help out, I must admit that rainy days were always a delight. I could read and read some more. Some days Dad and I would go to the public library and take out more books.
In 11th grade, I was taught that all life was the result of random chances and coincidences and that we were on a pointless magic carpet ride of sorts through life. Unfortunately, those lessons made me question what the meaning of life was if indeed there was any since it was all just happenstance. Years later Mom asked what happened to me in high school. She said that it seemed a “dark cloud” came over me. Until then I felt I could never tell her or Dad what it was. Those years are behind me, and life indeed goes on. I used to regret those “lost years,” but we must move on, help others. Life is not just “about me.”
On to the amazing…
Water, I first came to appreciate it because of the rainy days. How I loved hearing the thunder claps in the distance!! I soon learned that too little or too much rain, however, was a problem. Too little and crops would yield poorly. Too much gave local flooding, drowned out areas in fields and muddy milk cows. But the right amount of water mixed in the right cow, the one with the XX chromosome, along with hay and grain gives milk – now that’s amazing!!
Water is the only material that is in all three states of solid, liquid and gas at temperatures naturally found on earth. Water expands and floats when it freezes. If it sunk when freezing, our earth would be an ice planet with, perhaps, a few inches of water on top of ice in the summer months. If water didn’t evaporate, there wouldn’t be rain. All the landmasses would be dry, totally. Pretty amazing for something so “simple.” By the way, it’s tragic it wasn’t possible to apply enough water at the right time to Charles Schultz’s house in California last year. It burned up in a forest fire.