“Well, it looks like a great day for the race!” would ring out from the driver’s seat just about every Sunday morning on our way to church. This was the signal for my sister and me to call out from the back seat “What race?” “The Human Race!” was the ritual response. Just about every Sunday.
Carl and his sister Connie, with their Dad in 1962
This Sunday is Father’s Day and one of the great blessings of my life is that my father is still with us. At 91, he is getting pretty frail, and his memory is not that great, but he is still a great blessing.
Dad was a lifelong farmer. There was nothing he liked better than planting…unless maybe it was combining…or maybe ditching. He never had the opportunity for much formal education, but he taught me most of what I know about farming. Farming is mostly an “on the job training” kind of a career. Oh, I went to college (I used to tell younger graduates that “Yup, I went to college too, but eventually, I got over it”) but knowing when it’s too wet to plant or too dry to harrow are things you can only really learn “in the field.” And like most young farmers, I learned most of that from my father. I’m still learning.
Last fall I was explaining to Dad that it was so dry that we were unsure of whether to apply fertilizer for this year’s corn crop. He looked at me with his “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard look” (which I have seen a lot over the years) and said simply “It’ll rain.” On my way home, I called the co-op and ordered my fertilizer spread. And it rained.
He isn’t perfect and he wasn’t always right. (His response to the idea that Julie and I planned to start a seed company? “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard!”) But I always knew that I could count on him to be there for me. And on my side. And always wearing a Peterson Farms Seed cap.
Carl and Ralph
Ralph and Gwen
When I go to see him this Father’s Day, I know just where he will be. Sitting on the couch with his bride of 66 years, gently holding her hand. He will tell me how much he loves my mom and what a great partner she has been all these years. What a great example to our family! I’ll have to remember to tell him one thing this Sunday — “It’s a great day for the race!”