Last week I celebrated—yeah, celebrated—my 62ndbirthday.
It was a good day. It started off with an opportunity to address the American Peanut Research and Education Society annual meeting down in San Antonio. I got to see some folks in the peanut industry that I’ve known for years, some for almost as long as I’ve been pursuing a career as an agricultural reporter.
Then I drove home, about a six-hour trip, and met my wife and son for one of my favorite meals—country fried steak, mashed potatoes and creamed corn. The biscuits weren’t bad either. I usually request that Pat make that meal(hers is the best), along with some lima beans, but with our schedules that simply didn’t make sense this year so we met at this little place in Roanoke, Texas, called Babes. They have a menu that consists of fried chicken and chicken fried steak. Vegetables include mashed potatoes and creamed corn.
The place was packed—on a Wednesday evening.
As I said, it was a good day.
On the trip home from San Antonio I did some reflecting. I think I may do that more often than I used to, maybe it’s an age thing.
Here are some of the thoughts that occurred to me:
I thought about my career. I have worked for Farm Press Publications for more than half my life. I started back in June of 1978. I turned 29 that July. I didn’t expect, at the time, to stay this long. I didn’t know of anything else I particularly wanted to do, but I was young and had plenty of time to explore options.
I don’t regret staying around. Farm Press remains a good choice. The folks I work with, the Farm Press staff, who are the best in the business, and the farmers and ranchers I am privileged to meet and who allow me to tell their stories, make my job an adventure every day. And I mean that in a good way.
I don’t know how many farms I’ve visited since 1978, and I can’t count the number of farmers I’ve interviewed, the number of stories I’ve filed or the photos I’ve taken. I have traveled on hundreds of bad roads, slept on countless uncomfortable beds (and a few good ones) and ate more greasy food than was good for me.
And I’ve pretty much loved every minute of it.
I also realized on the trek home last week that come Oct. 3 I will have been married to Pat for half my life—31 years if she doesn’t kick me out before then. That was another good choice, the best one.
So number 62 was a memorable birthday. I might have preferred to have spent the whole day at home, maybe taking the day off and just being lazy, but that six-hour trek was a good opportunity to think about where I am and how I got here and how blessed I am to have more friends than I deserve, a job I love, two children I adore, and two grandchildren who hung the moon.
And I have a wife who is my best friend and moral compass.
I am a lucky man.