Tying the Knot (or Lasso)
My husband remembers with detail the college spring break before our engagement. My family prepared to demolish an old barn on our farm with the extra hands that returned home from campus that week. While friends may have planned lounge-worthy spring breaks, my then-boyfriend expressed a boyhood thrill to think he would drive a tractor, push down a building and burn it.
Rather, we disassembled the barn board by board, pulled every nail and carefully stored the weathered barn boards for potential later use. Recollection of that tedious labor and disappointment occasionally resurfaces when my dad points out, “We used to have a barn there,” every time the guys work the field at the old building site. My husband uses the reserved nature that makes him such a great guy. “I know,” he replies.
Despite the forewarning of the farm commitments in his future, he still married me 15 years ago. In fact, he even worked at 35 feet above the farmyard to repair the old barn roof at the home farm ahead of our wedding reception there. With his charming sarcasm, he reminds me of what he “gets roped into” for marrying a farm girl. We lasso him to the field to harvest, plant and bale. He delivers seed, picks corn, fixes tractors, rescues in-trouble equipment with the farm’s backhoe and lands himself at a pig show with our kids. For the love of our kids and bacon, he tolerates the pigs, a multigenerational 4-H tradition in my family.
A born-and-raised small-town kid, my husband brings fresh perspective to the farm’s recreation, whether fishing, river canoeing or timber hikes as a family. Yet, he runs tractors as if he were in the buddy seat since birth. My manly man helps tractors drive themselves in his precision farming role throughout western and northwestern Illinois. As a grain cart operator during harvest on our family farm, he reads his father-in-law’s mind in the combine better than anyone. And I’m ridiculously happy to deliver a favorite meal to him in the field and have our kids witness it all.
With seeming intuition, my husband staunchly respects the priorities of planting and harvest seasons that numb the social calendar. The only exception arrived with the birth of our planting and harvest babies. In that spirit, we honored our early September wedding anniversary with an overnight trip closer to this winter. Waiting allowed us time to celebrate 15 great years and another harvest in the bins before getting roped by the farm’s next demands.