I ran across an article about saving the family farm and ranch for future generations in an agricultural publication located on the west coast, the Capital Press, through Twitter a couple of months ago. A few of the quotes stuck in my head from the story and I wrote them down because I have become rather forgetful. The sticky note I scribbled them on found its way to the top of the pile this morning and my brain started moving at warp speed.
“Parents don’t owe their children anything, but parents who provide for their children give a real blessing.”
“Remember, ranches can be replaced, families cannot.”
These two quotes struck home with me at the time because of my own family’s history and the recent loss of my father-in-law. It’s hard for me to imagine not having the place where my parents currently live. It was hard enough when we lost my grandparents in 1989 and the family turmoil that came after the funeral and the splitting up of possessions and land. Granted I was only 10 years old at the time, but I had two eyes and ears and could see what my parents were going through. Now as an adult I see my husband dealing with his own family and what his dad left behind on the farm.
Before we had children, Spencer always talked about having something our kids could have when they were old enough. He wanted something tangible, as in land. I agree, but I also want our children to get an education and be able to choose to come back to the farm and enjoy it. I don’t want them to get burned out working like a dog helping Spencer and I make a place where they can some day take over. Not that hard work won’t be in their future, because it will. Kids need to know the value of a hard days work.
I owe my parents a lot – both monetary and emotionally. They were the best parents a girl could ask for. We didn’t have much, but what we sure as heck appreciated. Mom and dad worked hard trying to make a living farming and taught us a lot of things growing up and I still learn from them even now as an adult.
I admit I was spoiled. I always had a pickup to drive, a horse to ride and an entry fee for the barrel race or rodeo. In college I never had a job, and had parents who continued to push me to excel academically. And I did.
Now that Shaun is nearly a year old, the future is creeping slowly up on us. I think to myself, what are we going to be able to give him when he turns 18? What about when he goes off to college? Spencer claims his kid will work and not have it “easy” like I did. Picking my battles, I refrained from saying, “Taking 18 hours a semester at a university was WORK.”
I thank Mom and Dad for all you did for me growing up and even though there’s no longer any “farm” to pass along to us girls, you still gave way me more than any tangible item could have.
The Orebaugh family Christmas 2011.