Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Old Farmer and His Son

I saw them both at a distance, looking at the commercial displays at Yellow Medicine County Fair in Canby. It would be obvious to any observer that they enjoyed each others company. The old man, in his seventies, was a big man with a big smile (and a handshake to match) was wheelchair bound. The younger man pushed the wheelchair.

“What a beautiful day” he said unsolicited as he shook my hand. The young man just smiled.

I asked the old man, “How long ya' been in the chair?”

He said, “Since 1953.”

I was stunned, in a wheel chair over 53 years and yet upbeat and positive. I asked, “What happened?”

He said, “I came home from the Korean War, made it through all that stuff without major injury. Then I found myself a Danish girlfriend from Tyler; our young lives were busy. We were at a roller skating rink having a good time, when I got so hot I could not cool down. It was late fall, I told my girlfriend I would lie down in the car to cool off. The next thing I knew, I woke up at the Sister Kenny Institute in Minneapolis. I was paralyzed from the waist down with polio…”

He spoke with no bitterness or regret. The young man, who was the youngest of his four sons, smiled and nodded in agreement as dad told his story.

I asked the old man, “What did you do in your life?”

He smiled a broad smile and said, “I farmed 850 acres.”

“What?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, “The only reason I pulled it off was because I had a good wife and good sons.” As he told his story, all three of us had tears in our eyes. He told how they made provision for him to work while the wife and boys bore most of the brunt of the hard work. Over the years some feeling and minimal use has returned to his legs. “I can get around on “Kenny Sticks” (crutches to us) he said with a sly smile.

I said, “That’s quite an accomplishment.” His reply was that all the credit goes to his wife and boys and to the Lord.

The old farmer said he could never borrow money from the bank so his wife would always go to ask for the money. The banker told his wife they had to get on a computerized accounting system to continue borrowing money from the bank. The wife told the banker, “Forget about that; I don’t understand that stuff.”

The banker replied, “You’re right, I don’t understand it either; the hell with it” and gave her the loan. The old man said they still borrow money from that bank. He laughed and smiled. I could see he enjoyed every little victory in life…what an attitude! What an inspiration.

The old farmer said, “Doc told me we have to change some things. I’ve walked all these years with my one crutch and my hand on my wife’s shoulder and now her shoulder is wearing out. Getting old, I guess, but some things have to change,” he said with a smile on his face.

The old farmer said to his son, “We better get going or Mom will think we’re out chasing women.” The son threw his head back, rolled his eyes, smiled and said, “Yes Dad, we’d better get going.”

What a privilege to meet these two; what an example, an inspiration. Oh how I’d love to meet his wife! In the midst of darkness and trial some people rise and conquer. They have. In Romans it says, “We are more than conquerors.” I think I just met two who are more than conquerors and they don’t even know it. To God be the glory for lives well lived!

1 comment:

Steve Thorson said...

What a marvelous story!