Sunday, July 21, 2013

not a farmer

dear emily,

my dad grew up on a farm outside a tiny town in the panhandle of
oklahoma.    farming remained in his blood well after college and
medical school.    he was, in fact, the quintessential country doctor,
even though he always practiced medicine in the city.

he longed for the country and so bought 1,200 acres near our city.
to my horror, we became ranchers.   every weekend and for three
or four weeks each summer (our summer vacation,) we worked
cattle, rode horses, and hauled hay.   my dad relished the hard work
in the sunshine, as if doctoring 80 hours a week wasn't work.

as a teenager, the city held my heart.   i liked tanning at swimming
pools, shopping at clothing stores, and drinking diet dr. pepper with
vanilla at sonic.   my sympathy always fell with lisa douglas from
'green acres.'   why, oh why, did oliver make her leave the city?

while pulling stuck hay from the sharp blades of dad's tractor on a
105 degree day, imagining a rattle snake with every reach, noting
that dad was about five feet above all rattlers, i would sing,

"new york is where i'd rather stay . . . i get allergic smelling hay."


"ruth said to naomi,  'i would like to go and glean grain in the field
of anyone who will allow me . . . "  ruth 2:2