I’m never surprised when I hear about farmers stepping up in time of trouble and helping out their neighbors. I’ve seen it too often to think it’s anything more than just life as usual down on the farm.
Farm folk have a history of doing the right thing—not because of any possible recognition or monetary reward, but just because it’s the right thing to do. We’ve all heard about, if not witnessed, barn raisings. I know personally of folks pitching in to help an injured neighbor either plant or harvest a crop, round up cattle or repair a combine.
I also know they don’t limit their benevolence to their immediate neighbors or even to other farmers. I know of several members of farm families who took off in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to do what they could to help the unfortunate folks along the Gulf Coast.
That’s one of the main reasons I’ve not only enjoyed but treasured the more than 30 years I’ve been privileged to work with farmers. They are good people. They are eager to help.
But I was a bit surprised to learn recently that a group of farmers had forged a bond with a group of truckers to move hay from Indiana to drought- and wildfire-ravaged Texas ranchers.
A news release that came across my desk earlier this week reported: “Members of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, along with generous donations from local farmers, have organized seven truckloads of hay to be delivered to ranchers in Texas to feed their livestock and horses. Texas ranchers are in dire need of feed due to the Texas drought and summer fires that traveled across the state.”
Truckers get a bum rap sometimes—for hogging the road, moving slower than we think is appropriate or whizzing past us fast enough to rattle our doors—but most are hard-working men and women who put in long hours to move things we need from one place to another.
Like farmers, they are often under-appreciated for what they do. We seldom stop to think that most of the stuff we buy gets to retail outlets in a big ole truck. We don’t often recognize that while we were sleeping someone was hauling produce, or milk, or fresh lettuce to the supermarket down the street. Or we forget that the monstrous flat screen TV we sit in front of on weekends to watch our favorite sports teams likely moved across the country on a truck.
And now we learn that a bunch of truckers from Indiana are donating their time to help out ranchers in Texas who have had a long run of bad luck.
I’m convinced that some of the best people in the world are working on America’s farms and ranches. I’ve known them too long and watched too closely to believe otherwise. The term “random acts of kindness” doesn’t apply to farm folk. There’s nothing random about it. It’s just the way it is.
But it’s refreshing to know that people in other industries often take the time and make the effort to respond to needs of folks they don’t know and for reasons other than recognition or financial reward.
I’ll try to remember, next time I’m tooling down I-35, to watch his blind spot a little closer, refrain from hitting the horn if he slows down a bit on grade and to smile as one of us passes the other.