Sunday, August 06, 2006

Oh So True

By: Lori Watson Yarbrough
From: Northeast Dairy Business

It is his hands I notice first
Cupped around a cold cup of coffee
They are easily the hands of an old farmer
Gnarled, cracked and huge.
These hands do not gradually taper to wrists
No, they are one solid unit
More than one can of Bag Balm would be needed
Before these hands could be softened.
He sits there on a stool by the parts counter
Having his coffee
They keep a cup just for him. After all he used to be their best customer.
It’s the cup that says, “Farmers feed you three times a day.”
Well, they do!
His son runs the farm now; he helps out when he’s asked
Running wagons back and forth, feeding the calves and helping with the milking.
That’s what he does now. My how times have changed.
I remember him from when I was a little girl.
When I came in with Daddy, his huge frame would be leaning up against the counter.
Clad in his green coveralls, Dekalb hat and barn boots
The ever-present pouch of Red Man in evidence
He would tell be how “purty” I was and give me a penny for the gumball machine.
We’d all stand around the counter or sit on bales of baler twine
Listening to the old farmers talking about the old days, giving out advice and helping us all remember what farming was all about
They were real characters, and the stories they could tell!
We had nothing but respect for them and as they slowly left us their advice and memories stayed
And now there he is, green overalls, Dekalb hat and Red Man
He winks at me as I walk in. Yep, I am as “purty” as ever
And how are the “young uns”?
He’s telling that story of that big ole bull with the cock-eyed horn
You know, the one whose stall was under the stairs.
So I pull up a bale of twine and have a seat.
We all hang on his every word. Sure the bull is a little faster, meaner and even uglier.
The details aren’t important. The story is. This is.
These few minutes of shooting the breeze between milking and baling
I lean back and inhale the sweet smell of cow manure, hay and hydraulic fluid
I look at his hands and I smile.
They are easily the hands of an old farmer.
They are beautiful.


threecollie said...

What a nice post! Glad you took the time to share it.

Paintsmh said...

Love you mom!!