A Piece Of Their Hearts

Karna - Storm Lake, Iowa
Entered on September 12, 2005
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community

October 18, 1995, was a good corn-pickin’ day. The ground was dry and the breeze, pleasant. Most farmers in central Nebraska spent the day in their combines. The farmers in our community, however, drove their combines in my dad’s fields instead of their own. Two months earlier, my father had passed away, and this was the day his friends had chosen to harvest our crop.

Most arrived before sunrise, and many stayed until dusk. For nearly 10 hours, 13 combines worked their way through our fields, and 40 trucks, trailers, and wagons hauled the grain to the elevator. At the end of the day, all 600 acres were harvested. That evening, a newscaster reported, “Local family reaps the generosity of area farmers.” Another called it a “joyous celebration of neighbor helping neighbor.”

Neighbors. I believe in ‘em, and I believe we each have a responsibility to be a good one.

I’m lucky — my neighbors and I know each other. We deliver chicken casseroles, banana breads and brownies as notes of welcome, concern and sympathy. We water flowers, mow lawns and shovel snow, knowing the gesture will be reciprocated.

I know this isn’t true in all areas of the country; I know my way of life is a fantasy world for some. And frankly, sometimes I’d prefer not to be so neighborly. Sometimes, I’d prefer to stay cocooned within the four walls of my home and family to take care of “me and mine.”

Then I remember my dad’s friends, and I’m reminded of what they really gave us.

Farmers know how precious a good corn pickin’ day is. They know how Mother Nature affects their lives, that they have no control over the amount of rain, wind and sunshine they receive or when it occurs. They know how every hour in the field translates into money in the bank.

The harvest bee was more than a group of farmers spending the day in our fields. Dad’s friends unselfishly gave us a piece of their hearts.

I believe this is how we should live our lives, whether we’re 50 feet, 50 miles or across the country from our neighbor. Even if — or maybe, especially because — it’s a good corn pickin’ day.