About a Quarter to Three
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I started this column at a quarter to three Sunday morning. It’s a sweet time to be alive as it’s the last hour of my last shift before I go on my days off. I aspire to one day farm all the time but for now I farm when I can and work when the schedule says I have to at my local Sheriff’s office. I like my office job but my passion for the life that consists of my wife and farm is where I belong. That’s why I always say a quarter to three is better than a quarter after three because every minute before three means I’m closer to home and every minute after three means I’m that much closer to returning to work.

There’s nothing like my long week off from work. I get the whole five days to just work at home. I exchange control of the television remote control for time with my wife, Lisa. Fifteen minutes prior to my days off I can still plan my projects plus I’ll soon have the time to actually complete those projects. Our cattle have to kneel to drink each Spring because of the accumulation of hard-packed snow in front of the cattle waterer. I can never shovel enough to keep the path clear and cattle who can drink comfortably would be more productive. Therefore today I built a roof to shed the snow and walls to prevent drifting. Last spring we installed a corn furnace in our home so I recently purchased a hopper bin to store our fuel supply. I like small concrete projects so pouring pillars to support the bin is something I’ll enjoy. I’ll enjoy it even more when we can burn a little corn to keep us warm and officially give OPEC (and our own refineries who always seem to be down for repair) their walking papers.

From quarter to three until I return to work this week-end, I can pretend that my wife and I are an old-time farm couple. The kind of people who rarely part and always eat their meals together except when one has to attend a meeting at the local cooperative. My dad used to have some coffee and a Hershey bar before he milked cows then had breakfast with my mom after he came in from the barn. Their social life revolved around the elementary school and church in my hometown which consisted of about one hundred and fifty people. I’d like to be more involved in church and our community but after work and the farm I’m glad to simply eat supper with Lisa then ride the couch with her until the news. It’s enough for us and it’s more fulfilling than any other social event I can attend. One day we’ll take our time as an old-time farm couple but for now we’ll steal our moments as we can.

Fifteen minutes, that’s the difference between craving a life and living it. I’ll never watch life pass me by but I may watch the clock, at least around a quarter to three.