A Blessed Life (11)

A Blessed Life (11)
Teen years are easier when life is simpler. At least that was my experience. Life centered around farm work, school and church. I can truly say in the words of the John Denver hit song, “Thank God, I’m A Country Boy”. I don’t say that arrogantly, but rather, with deep appreciation for the lessons learned from farm life.
I think every human soul longs to be loved, but also needs to be needed. Growing up on the farm, with my parents and my sister, provided for both love and being needed. In that era, love was more often felt than spoken, but there was no doubt about being loved. Being needed was obvious. When I was about eleven years old I got my first experience riding a tobacco setter beside my mother with my dad driving the tractor. For the next several years that would be my experience every spring. Growing tobacco was the main crop, but there was hay to be baled, sheep to tend, and about five cows to be milked twice a day by hand. Chopping thistles out of fence rows on a hot July day was no picnic. A solitary and boring job, it became my task for a day or two every summer. The only perk it provided was the opportunity to engage in the new found joy of chewing tobacco. With a carefully hidden pouch of Beech Nut tucked in my trousers, I was off to tackle the thistles. As I chewed and chopped that morning, the sun got hotter and I got sicker. The noon dinner hour was approaching, and there was no way I could swallow a bite. I went to the house a few minutes before my dad so I could lay out my well planned tale of woe to my mother. I explained to her how I had nearly been overcome by heat exhaustion. She was so moved by my story of suffering that she fussed at my dad for sending me out in such heat, and insisted that I spend the afternoon resting by the fan.
Despite a few such antics to get out of work, I learned the value of work. Even more, I was blessed to have been needed and to gain the self esteem that comes from knowing it.
– Terry A. Morrison