Today, I am working with the America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs to share the story that has touched my heart, in such a simple but profound way. My Town, a program sponsored by The Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs, celebrates rural communities. My town celebrates people, places & stories that make small towns great.
I think that small towns are often seen as being filled with challenges, but I really have found that these small rural communities are filled with the most kind, positive people… the kind of people who are proud to live where they live. In fact, 95% of people living in these small towns have a sense of pride in their town. I am definitely one of them. I always tell my husband, Mickey, that I could never live in a busy city – I love knowing that I came from a rural town and now live in another rural town. There’s just something down-to-earth and genuine about a rural farm town that I’ve learned to love & trust.
Mickey and I grew up in the same town (we met at 14 in PA and moved to NC when we were 21 and newly married). When we were younger, we spent many afternoons at his grandmother’s farm (pictured above), just 15 minutes from his house.
Mickey’s grandmother and grandfather live on 69 acres of land, where they have raised cattle (and children) 🙂 Since my husband first brought me to the farm, when I was 14 years old, I’ve loved it. There was something about it that made it special.
Maybe it was the workshop that his grandfather built, filled with completely radical quotes that he liked.
Maybe it was the gazebo that his grandfather built, complete with four swings to fit 8 people. He pictured many parties and gatherings there.
Maybe it was the swing is attached to a tree, that overlooks the entire farm.
Maybe it was the miles of hills that Mickey would drive me around, showing me all around the farm (the same hills that we now drive our kids on).
Maybe it was the home cooked meals of chicken fingers, macaroni & cheese, perogies, BLTs, haluski (cabbage & noodles), or the broccoli cheese soup (Mickey still talks about it)… and eating it on the back porch that overlooks the hills & farmland:
Whatever it was, I loved it.
As the years passed, Mickey’s grandparents grew older, as did we. When we were in college, six months from our wedding day, Mickey’s grandfather passed away. He didn’t say much when he was alive, but I liked him. I liked hearing his opinions on certain things, even if most of his opinions were old-fashioned. I got such a kick out of him and his stories.
Quickly after his passing, Mickey’s dad took over taking care of the farm. He would drive to the farm and cut the fields, mend the fences, take care of the workshop and just keep the farm looking nice. He spent most of his free time at the farm, helping out.
It wasn’t long after that I learned that my friend from high-school had married another friend from high-school and they bought the farm across the street from Mickey’s grandmother. While Mickey’s dad was trying to find a way to get rid of the enormous amounts of hay that he was cutting, Justin (a friend of mine from school that now lived across the street) was buying enormous amounts of hay to feed his animals.
The great thing about farmers is that they share a sense of community. They also share many other things, and in this case, it would be the hay. Once Justin & Mickey’s dad started talking, they learned that they were both looking for something that the other person wanted. So… they started helping each other.
Justin would go to Mickey’s grandmother’s farm and cut the hay to take home to his animals. It freed up time for Mickey’s dad. It was a win-win.
I loved that story because it just shows the simple ways that we can help each other and what a difference it can make if we just allow ourselves to see it. (Kim, Justin’s wife, is just as sweet as she was in high school, too. When we visit, she invites our kids over to gather fresh eggs, see her many animals and see how a different farm is run.)
That kind of sums up why we love living in small towns… in one story. The other stories aren’t much different. Yes, the details are different, but you see people helping each other, sharing things, baking extra cookies to take to a neighbor, sharing pie that was picked from the fruit of their farms… these things that you think only happen in movies really do happen in these small towns.
I find that people are proud to be from (or live in) a rural community. The Monsanto Fund celebrates these communities. They invest to make them even more vibrant for future generations through its America’s Farmers Community Outreach Programs. A new campaign sponsored by the programs called My Town will continue this celebration of the people, places and stories that make small towns great.
I’d love to hear your #MyTownProud Story. Share it below or on social media with the #MyTownProud Hashtag. Be sure to visit www.AmericasFarmers.com to find out more. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.