Sunday, October 11, 2015

Giving thanks—Carolyn R. Wilker

 After our opening hymn, “We plough the fields and scatter,” this morning, our pastor asked the children what they are thankful for. One said “family” and his little sister said the same thing. And that’s okay, because those things are important too.

When Pastor Claudine mentioned farmers and harvest, it occurred to me that city children do not have the same understanding of harvest that I would have had as a child, or even children growing up on a farm today. City kids don’t see the crops growing, as I did, unless their parents take them to see family in the country. They don’t see wheat in the field being cut, threshed and loaded into a barn for later use. They wouldn’t see all the time and energy or even understand how much the sunshine and rain affect the crops or see the worry in parents’ eyes when too much rain flattens a good stand of grain or hail beats down the corn.

We took our children to see their grandparents on the farm, so they learned some respect for that way of living, yet it's not the same as growing up there and living and farming day in and day out.

My brother is home for a visit from Calgary. On the way to our parents’ place today, he noticed the crops and how they had grown since his last visit in June. By that time the seeding had been done and the crops were just beginning to grow. There’s something about growing up in the country that never leaves you.

                       Dad driving an old rebuilt tractor in the hometown fair

My siblings and I, having grown up on a farm, perhaps understood more of this than children who live in town. I learned the meaning of a difficult year when the crops weren’t as good, and when the egg price was lower and how that affected what we could buy. Granted, we lived mostly on what we grew and we never went hungry. We had what we needed and we were cared for and loved. We also learned what it took to manage a farm, all the work involved when both Mom and Dad were on the tractor at harvest time and we took on the other chores as we were able. Helping with younger siblings, making meals and gathering eggs.

It wasn’t just about what was in the fields for Mom. We had a large garden, and after a full day of regular chores, she did her canning and freezing in the evening after small ones were in bed. When we were old enough, we helped and she no longer had to stay up late to get it done.

 Living in the city, I  have a small garden, but I still go to market for fresh fruits and vegetables and can and freeze food too, but not nearly as much as Mom put away.

And so today, I give thanks for the work of farm families who produce food that eventually shows up on store or market shelves to feed others. Long after I’m off the farm, I still understand how weather affects crops and how summer is such a busy season for them. I hope their efforts bring them enough to live out the winter and much more. That they can provide for their children, give them an education and pay the bills. I wish them good health and joy. Like Murray McLauchlan in his song to the farmer: “Thanks for the meal…
From a kid from the city to you.”


Peter Black said...

Thanks Carolyn. I enjoyed these reflections of the country life. It is so true that many city kids grow up without an understanding of what goes into producing the food they eat and the many factors in nature than can have a positive or negative effect on harvests and farming families' livelihoods.
Murray McLauchlan has turned out some great songs. Thanks for sharing this one. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Dusty old farmer out working the field... oh sweet memories. Love that song.

It sure is good when we can remind our children about how truly important it is to thank our farmers. I had to speak at a rural women's group and then at a Christian Farmer's end of the year banquet. Well wasn't I surprised to learn that in the 2012 census only 2.6% of Canadians are registered as farmers! 2.6%? And 100% of us eat. Hmmm. . .yes, gratitude is a good thing. Thanks, Carolyn for a little insight about how your learned hands on.

David Kitz said...

Carolyn, your tribute to farmers means a lot to this farm boy who has been stuck in the city his whole adult life.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you Peter, Glynis and David for your comments.

Peter, I've always liked that song, likely because I've driven that tractor that changes colour under the hot sun and harvesting.
Glynis, It's amazing when you think of it that so few produce food for so many. Add the market gardeners in and the numbers rise a little more.

David, I didn't know you were a farm boy. Then you really understand this piece.

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