Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And God Made a Farmer

There are a couple things I learned about myself on Super Bowl Sunday. For one, I tend to laugh at commercials that a respectable person - mother, daughter, granddaughter, blogger extraordinaire - shouldn't find very funny.

And the second thing I learned about myself is that I have a really cool dad. Something I always knew, of course. But after watching the Super Bowl's "And God Made a Farmer" commercial - right alongside my father - a switch went on in my head.

As in, "Molly, your father's childhood in upstate New York didn't entirely consist of avoiding creepy cellar doors and dropping cats from barn windows. He was a blood-sweat-and-tears farmer. A man's man."

This fresh insight came the moment Paul Harvey's voice said, "God looked down on his planned paradise, and said, 'I need a caretaker,' So God made a farmer." (It's right here if you missed it: And God Made a Farmer.)

So what did farmers do in the 1950s-60s anyway? Well my dad and his father grew wheat, corn, and oats. They also grew black beans called "Turtle Soups" and shipped them off to a country in South America. Apparently the beans are loved down there and not much up here.

And holy cow, for there were six! And they'd milk each one with their hands. No fancy machinery. And if they did have machinery of any kind, tractors and what not, they'd fix it themselves. Mechanics from John Deere didn't make house calls.

And what did they do with milk from six cows? It got hauled into the kitchen where they poured it into a cream separator. And the people who actually did make house calls were the Land-o-Lake guys. They came out once a week to buy and pick up the cream for butter-making back at their factory. (Forget the money, I'd be all, "It's human interaction DAY! Someone is coming to my farm! Special occasions call for pearls and stockings.")

Now what about the strength needed to move hay bales around in hay lofts that were over 100 degrees? A lot of back-breaking and finger-blistering work, yet the sense of accomplishment from a job well done would make it all worthwhile - or at least make lemonade taste like heaven. And to think each bale of hay weighed more than my dad. Hard work, that's what.

So now scale waaaay back in the blood-sweat-and-tears department and fast forward to present-day life in my kitchen, where the sense of accomplishment doesn't come from separating cream from milk that I "hand got" from cows in my backyard. Rather, my proud moment came the day I made something extraordinary...

Shrimp linguine. From scratch.

It was restaurant quality. We would have paid money for it. Like $18, and that's without the add-on salad. In fact, the best compliment I could ever get is my husband saying, "Mol, I would put down some cash for this." But even better, "I would put down some cash for this and did you just do something with your hair because you look hot."

Proverbs 12:14 says that the work of your hands will reward you. What is that reward exactly? The possibilities are endless! And even though my dad hung up his rugged cow-poop-stomping workboots many years ago, God gave him an amazing work ethic and desire to provide and care for his family. Besides, he just knows things now that are cool to know.

As for me, although my boss shrimp linguine making skills may not compare to a day in the life of a farmer, it did bring a sense of accomplishment because it was a job well done. God must have looked down on my family and said, "They need a break from turkey burgers." So God made a really really good recipe that was easy to follow and didn't ask me to grind my own nutmeg...or milk a cow.

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