I saw this farmer, today, getting it done, and I've been thinking about him,
all day, in between dead appliances.
Not this actual farmer, but that classic, old fashioned farmer character, that lives in my mind. He's anonymous, a blend, of all of the farmers that I've ever been lucky enough to know. Quite a few.
He doesn't just live up there, he's got a seat, at my little round table, where all of the big decisions are made.
The congress, behind my personal constitution. My cabinet of character, my league of scruples. There's only a handful of regulars, on this council, and Farmer is third, or fourth, in line.
He sits, right across the imaginary table, where I can't miss his weathered face.
He will always have a little sparkle in his eyes, and a perfect poker face, with just a hint of a concealed grin. He's not a big talker, he's more of a listener.
When he does speak to you, it'll be soft, and laid back, but his advice is gold.
He's seen a lot of stuff, this Farmer, of mine, he's been where I'm going.
He speaks with a certain confidence, but he'll never be overbearing.
He has pulled some sketchy stuff, in his life, my Mechanic, and my Engineer, are quick to extinguish some of his ideas.
They will usually later agree, in confidence, that the Farmer's sketchy plan would have probably worked.
He will almost always turn out to be right.
I think about a typical Farmer's day. Modern farmers have embraced technology, I'm sure. My Farmer is old school, because he's made of my memories, and I'm fairly old.
For my story, he's going to get his daily news from the television.
He gets up, before any of us, like always. He might flip on the TV, for the early news. He's not here, for the actual news, he's more concerned with the weather, because it's much more relevant, to his situation. He's got work to do. Outside.
He has his favorite station, and his preferred weather person, like we all used to. Sarah Long was always my favorite.
I had my deliverance, from TV News, many years ago, when I got my first smart phone. Weather App. I'm good.
I still follow Sarah, on Facebook, because she's just that cool. She loves her job, and she's a natural teacher.
My Farmer watches his favorite, he knows exactly when she comes on, with the full report, at seven minutes in.
On days like this, I hope my Farmer misses the news, altogether.
I can imagine his reaction, to the latest, futile, Covid regulations. He's amused, more than anything else, he knows these rules don't really apply to him. He won't need a mask, he'll wait in the truck, when he brings Ma to the grocery store. She can wear a mask, if it makes her feel better, but he's going to rib her, a bit.
She's a good sport, she can take it, with a smile. She'll get her licks in.
He can skip Church, until 'this business' is over with, he's missed this much, he won't go back, until all the new rules expire. He can wait. He liked it, the way it was.
He's always got plenty of work to do, and he's fairly tight with God, he's pretty sure the Big Guy won't hold it against him, as long as he keeps Him in his heart.
Now, the riots, the looting, and the Black and White baloney? He's going to have trouble, with that one.
He's seen some stuff, remember?
This ain't his first riot. He won't lose his nerve, or show emotion, on that handsome, weathered, face.
He's as cool as they come.
He knows it's not his fight, or his neighbors', they've got nothing to do with it. Somehow, it's come to his hometown.
How, on Earth, did this happen?
It will hurt him, like it hurts us all.
There are no winners, in this story.
To watch Americans destroy other Americans is sad, and painful. That's us.
My Farmer will take it all in. He knows that peaceful demonstrations never amount to anything. Satisfying some ego imbalance, maybe.
The only demonstrations that ever make the News, are the ones that go bad. The ones that burn, loot, pillage, and destroy, the pirates, of our society. Masked, of course, anonymous, universal hatred.
My Farmer catches a sound bite, about a scheduled protest, right in his own Town.
He's baffled, by this phenomenon.
Even after a long, difficult, life of farming, my Farmer doesn't hate anyone. Nobody.
He's never stolen anything, beyond teenage pranks, and he's never destroyed another person's property. He would never even make anyone feel uncomfortable, on purpose.
He's against our constant division, he doesn't want to hear preaching, or complaining, from either side of the aisle.
He does 100 percent of his politicking, right in the little voting booth.
It works well, for him.
My Farmer shuts the TV off, he's seen enough. His gut hurts, now, he's going to chew a couple of Tums, before he drinks that second coffee. He makes it to go, he'll feed the animals, and then fire up the tractor, he can cut some silage, before those afternoon showers roll in.
He's planning out the next few days, around the weather. His weather girl misses one, every once in a while, like we all do. You always need a plan B, there is no room for wasted time, on the farm.
You need a bit of luck, even in the best of times.
He stops, to open a gate, at that spot, where the fields open up, and the lights of the Town glitter in the background.
He'll idle his tractor down, and sit here, for a minute, to watch the Sun bring his farm to life. It's chilly, but it will be hot, in no time. He enjoys the last of his coffee, and thinks about his ancestors, eking out their own livings, on this same, pretty farm.
He thinks about that sour newscast, still churning his guts, and wonders how his elders might have reacted to it.
He tries to imagine the looting crowd, making good on their threats, and bringing the fight to the suburbs, to everyone. Would they ever really show up, coming down the dusty driveway, of his old family farm?
My Farmer can't help but grin, to himself, it even shows, on his haggard face.
He's been dealing with predators, all his life, on that farm, and these fools would be no different, coming for his livelihood.
He will do whatever it takes, to protect his home, his family, and his way of life.
My Farmer snickers, as he wonders, how many he would have to shoot, before the mob mentality suddenly wore off.
Not too many, he figures.
Harsh, and brutal, like Nature, herself.
Such is life, on the farm.
He hocks up a big spit, and leans out, over the back tire, to let it drop, in the dust. He can't shake the acid burn, in his stomach. He wishes he hadn't heard that vile news, but it would have found him, eventually. We can't hide from any of it.
My Farmer gives his tractor a gear, and lets the clutch out. Rolling on, headed for the front 40, that field that's always ready first. He's going to cut hay, all day, making the best of the sunshine.
Ma will have his dinner ready, when he comes in, and he'll be hungry.
It might be the biscuits, or the love, that she put into them, but his sour stomach will finally settle down. Ma will turn on the evening news, but he'll stop her.
Not tonight, Babe, let's just enjoy each other. I'll get the weather in the morning. (He definitely says 'mornin'.)He winks.
After supper, he'll be exhausted, and will sleep, like a tired baby. He's earned it.
He's a different man, just from witnessing this unrest, this horrid circus of hate.
He's the same Farmer, but a little more weathered, and a little more wrinkled.
That twinkle in his eye is still there, but it's not as easy to notice, like he needs new batteries.
He will never stop working, until the life leaves his body. That's farming. He will never shoot any looters, with any luck, but he won't even blink, if that day comes.
He hopes it never does.
He will always have that seat, on my moral board of directors, it's a lifetime appointment. I'll cherish his guidance.
I'm starting to think that everyone just wants to fight, after being suppressed, through all of the Covid drama. On edge, with new triggers, coming from every direction. Division. Unrest. Anarchy.
The defining factors from our Country's birth, may well be the very traits, that send us to an unthinkable demise.
I'm with my Farmer. I'm going to get it done, just doing my job, every day, like I have, all along. I'm going to keep my nose out of trouble, I know where the fights are, and I know enough to steer clear.
This is definitely not my battle, but if it comes to my door, I will do my best, to make my ancestors proud.
My ancestors, and my internal consortium of consciousness.