If you'd like to see my children get super excited - or maybe start fighting - mention the chance to go ride in the tractor with Mr. Jerry. Or go fishing with Mr. Jerry. Or do just about anything with Mr. Jerry.
Mr. Jerry ("Mistew Jewwy" in Nathan-speak) is our neighbor and seasonal farm employee. Jerry loves to run a tractor, and so that's what he does in the spring and the fall. Early on, Nathan discovered that riding with Mr. Jerry was great fun because A) he sings songs, B) he talks nonstop and C) he carries clementines and Sunchips. What a deal!
Mr. Jerry is good to our kids, and they love him in return. He takes them fishing, and indeed, for a good stretch prior to kindergarten, Nathan's ideal day was feeding his bottle calf in the morning, riding with Mr. Jerry most of the day, then knocking off early to go fishing with Mr. Jerry. If he just could've gotten out of making his bed, it would have been the perfect life.
These are the kinds of relationships we like to see our kids have. And they're the kind we like to forge with other young people, too. Two of our nephews have worked for the farm over the years, which meant John has been able to spend time with them and mentor them (my word, not his) in a way he never would've been able to otherwise. There is something about working side-by-side that fosters that sort of relationship. You see each other at your best, and at your worst, and you see how they handle both.
Certainly, you can foster these kinds of relationships outside the farm, But there's something about a farm that makes it so very easy. It's why so many of us remember times in the tractor or in the field with our grandparents, or bumping along against the window of the XT with dad.
And on this Thanksgiving Day, that's something for which we can be very grateful.
The archives: 30 Days on a Prairie Farm
Day 14: Leave the Farm
Day 15: Dialogue
Day 16: Store Grain
Day 17: Love
Day 18: Kid Love
Day 19: Straight Rows
More "30 Days" farm blogs
Looking for more 30 Days goodness? My Generation has friends and we're all blogging a "30 Days" series in November. Check out what these farm bloggers are talking about this month.
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Go Go Bookworm: 30 Days of Farm Kid Stories
Kelly McCormick Photography: 30 Days of Thankfulness
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Go Beyond the Barn: 30 Days of Farm Life Blessings
Rural Route 2: 30 Days of the Not-So-Glamorous Life of This Farm Wife
Touching Families: 30 Days of a Town Girl Touched by the Farming Life
This Land, This Life, This Farmer's Wife: 30 Days of Thankfulness on a Family Farm
Farmgirldays: 30 Days of Farm Kids Trapped in the City
My Cows and Pigs: 30 Days of "What's that?"
Dennis Olmstead: 30 Days in a Row
White House on the Prairie: 30 Days, 30 Posts
A Colorful Adventure: 30 Days of JP