A Polished Apple

It seems everyone is asking when these nightmarish days and nights are going to end, along with only imagining how all the many of our business owners and residents are going to be squealing like piggies after opening their utility bills for these soon to be three weeks of below zero temps. Yes, this has been the most extended polar vortex I’ve experienced in many years. The longest I’ve seen them last, is two weeks, but according to the most recent weather forecast, I’ll be lasting thru next Wednesday.

Speaking of next Wednesday, I’m a bit in shock it’ll be Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of our 40 days of Lent. Wow. It seems like Christmas wasn’t more than a month ago, which is one more reminder of how quickly time passes as we grow older.
This will certainly be an interesting Lenten Season as usually our churches have more gatherings during that time, but with this China-virus still looming its ugly head, along with the mutation of it, first discovered in Great Britain which has now hit our shores, and by the way, more deadly, we’ll be buttoning down our hatches once again.

For many years, our corporations and governments have been singing the praises of globalization, but there are many down-sides to it, and this coronavirus is yet one more example. As far as I’m concerned, there’s too much unnecessary traveling going on. I understand how many really enjoy globe-trotting so to see every sight they can, but when we’re in the midst of a global heath concern, my advice would be for everyone to stay closer to home until its all over.

Just this past year, I had intentions of making a long-overdue trip to California during the summer, but that came to a screeching halt because there was no way I was going to subject myself to being trapped like a sardine on a long flight, or possibly get infected while making that grueling drive, so I just stayed put. As much as we’d like to follow thru on plans, sometimes it’s just not worth the risk. When you stop and think about it, in past generations our general public didn’t travel that much, and if they did, it was usually one of those once-in-a-lifetime events. Most in our society, have been “duped” by advertisers into believing that staying home, is just not the “in-thing” to do.

My mother was a good example of our past generation’s mindsets, because you’d almost have to beg on bended knee to get her to go somewhere out of State. She flew very few times, and the remaining historic times, was by car. I’ll not forget her saying more than once how she’d never again go to several places she’d visited, and you can bet she stuck to her words. Yes, she enjoyed taking day trips, but that was the extent of her joyful travels. When you stop and think about it, Iowa has a good number of worthy sights to see, but for many, they’re not uniquely “boutique” enough.

Speaking of boutique, I happened to read a very long article on BBC online today which really got me thinking about the direction our farming is going. I didn’t realize how few of our young have little if any desire to make raising crops their life-long careers. Fortunately, there are a few who’re going against the tide with their determination to not only make a living, but also to help lighten the carbon “footprints” we’re all making in our one and only world. Did you know that the average age of farmers in Africa is 60? And to think, that continent is struggling the most with malnutrition and starvation.

Just like here in America, where there was a time beginning back in the 1940’s when it just wasn’t something the younger generation of that time wanted to do, so if there wasn’t a son wanting to take over the “farm”, then sooner or later, those family homesteads would be sold to either neighboring farmers, or wealthy city dwellers. For at least 50+ years, one of my relative’s family, farmed land belonging to generational owners living in Minnesota. I think one of my cousins still rents their land along with other parcels owned by oldsters.

The thrust of today’s article, was simply a wholesome encouragement for our young to look for innovative ways to create their own markets by finding those niches which haven’t been filled by corporate farmers. California has one particular program which teaches those who want to have their own farming businesses, and by the sounds of it, their success rate has been remarkable.

They also talked about those “day job” farmers who have full-time jobs working off their farms, while doing their side-line farming to help with their living expenses. Likely the reason they’ve not expanded and gone solo, is that ever-present fear of failure. As I’ve said many times, “The hardest part about learning something new, is just getting started.” We’ve all heard those, I should’ve, could’ve and would’ve comments coming from the mouths of those looking back on their years, yet I remain determined by saying, that’s all it takes, are honest encouragements from trusting souls.

I smile to myself every time I think about a relative of mine whom I’d sometimes get brutally vocal regarding his un-used talent, which out of fear, he refused to take the plunge of starting his own business. His success story should be set to print because whenever I see him, he nearly always thanks me for pounding on him to go for it. Yes, I love to hear about such stories of success in North Iowa, and even more-so if I had a say in them.

Besides shoveling, checking on homes, and hanging close to office, the highlight of my day, was getting my vintage wooden floors fully scrubbed. Oh my goodness. It was a chore to get all that dried-on salt mixed with dirt and sand off them. After they were dry, they were glowing like a polished apple, but wouldn’t you know, I had to go back over an area due to a contractor tracking in. Oh well, they never stay that way in winter.

Tonight’s One-liner is: There’s no substitute for talent, as industry and all its virtues are of no avail.

Joe Chodur

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