This weekend was Homecoming at my university and I had the opportunity of being one of five women to stand on the 2016 Homecoming court. The day was so special because I had the opportunity to represent ATU and the Department of Agriculture.
My highlight of the event was my grandpa agreed to be my escort. This was a pretty big deal because he hardly ever leaves the farm and a college sporting event is not really his scene.
Despite his reservations, however, he shaved, got a haircut and wore a suit and tie, just so he could walk me down the football field.
While I could go on and on about why this was so special, a funny and seemingly insignificant moment from the day stood out to me. We were standing on the field, waiting for our turn to be introduced when another girl’s escort asked my grandpa what his name was.
Papaw’s response was:
“MeGee. Jimmie MeGee. I’m from Damascus. I’m a 30-year retired dairy farmer.”
To me, it was as powerful as, “Bond. James Bond.”
The man hadn’t asked my grandpa where he was from or what his profession was. He had only asked him his name.
The reason Papaw went on to add the other details was because those two things are part of his identity. To him, they make up who he is as a person even more so than his name.
So why was this moment so fascinating to me?
It’s because I’ve seen this moment in so many farmers and agriculturists. The ground they own, the animals they raise, the crops they grow – that is what makes them who they are. Those things are what they take the most pride in.
There’s a saying that goes,
“Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.”
When you can go to bed every night knowing you help feed and clothe the world, it’s pretty easy to take pride in your profession. It’s no wonder my grandpa takes the opportunity to proudly share his story.
As agriculturists, we should be more apt to help the public understand what makes our farmers special.
So I’ll leave you with this,
Triplett. Lindsey Triplett. I’m from Damascus, Arkansas. I grew up on a beef cattle farm and I work to tell the story of agriculture.
What’s your name and what’s your story?