It's funny how you can't even imagine or guess the things in life that you will end up loving. That's happened to me a few times in life. Like when I was first introduced to the field of Soil Science. Dr. Terry Cooper, U of M Dept. of Soil, Water and Climate, taught a field soils science course where we went around the State and looked at soil cutouts (profiles) and I discovered a whole entire new world and universe. Holding a Munsel Color Chart up to a soil profile and working my eyes to make the perfect, delicate match R5/Y3. I fell head over heels in love with this new world filled of creativity and art and science. The thoughts I developed in those early days of learning Soil Science still drive part of what we are doing on this very farm. And then there's the shocking fact that my daughter got me hooked on country music by insisting that she would help put up the corn ONLY if we stopped listening to MPR and put on some toe tapping tunes. In defense of country music, I've found it hopeful, touching, and more importantly respectful of women.
My most recent heartfelt attachment has been right under my nose for a few years. Not sure what it was that tipped me over the edge- but it happened at the homecoming football game. Maybe it was watching the children and contributing businesses and clubs on Main Street Graceville, MN for the Homecoming parade. (Though this was the 5th year I've taken in that parade) Perhaps it was being outside for a few hours on one of those few, absolutely perfect autumn afternoons. There are some autumn days in Minnesota so perfect that if you aren't are your knees giving thanks you should have tears in your eyes and bliss in your heart. Maybe it's the fact that my twin boys are now 8 years old and no longer need my 100% vigilant attention at games.
Whatever the combination, something clicked for me and I find myself thoroughly enjoying the world of 9-man high school football.
There is something wholesome and right about an afternoon 9-man football game out on the prairie. On this particular night, the flag at half mast in remembrance of 9/11 and people were sincere as they, to the last person, held their hands on their hearts for the Star Spangled Banner- my daughter playing for the 1st time in the pep band. The corn fields were ripening and drying beside the field and guys watched from their back of their farmer father's truck. Maybe it's the feeling of being a part of this place--the friendly waves and Jimmy's rap on my shoulder. And the number of caring community members in the sports boosters who spent the game flipping burgers to raise money to keep the sports programs strong. And the game itself is more amazing to me as I watch those boys fly through the air and run with powerful abandon to the end zone. And I feel proud of this community I live in. These folks invest in the kids- the football players and parents spend Saturday mornings playing flag football with the kids as young as second grade.
And so on any given Friday night, you can find and witness some of what is right about rural places. Go Wolverines! #1 ranked 9-man team in Minnesota!