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Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:03

Grandpa was proud and stuck to what he knew best

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My Grandpa Bill was one of the most well-read, well-travelled, and intelligent men that I have ever known. He journeyed the world with an international organization, CUSO, throughout the ’70s and ’80s to help local people in second- and third-world countries improve farming practices.


He was always open to learning and progressing as a person, and as an intellect.
Well, almost always. He was also a Scotsman — a stubborn Scotsman.
While years passed and farming practices changed, my Grandpa liked to stick to the tried and true tested methods. One year, while painting the big shop on the home place, my uncle hurried along with a huge roller brush. Looking over and seeing Grandpa methodically painting away with his little handheld brush he commented, “Dad, why don’t you get a roller like me? It goes way faster.”
“This has worked well for me for the past 20 years,” was Grandpa’s reply.
Things did work well for Grandpa over the years. That’s why we never argued with him while he continued to fork feed by hand daily to feed well over a hundred head of cows, while the new front end loader sat in the yard.
Time passed and my uncle began to farm with Grandpa. Uncle Ian decided it was time for a new combine. Keep in mind this wasn’t the early 1900s or anything, this was the time of big bangs, probably somewhere in the early ’90s.
Grandma loved to tell the story about Grandpa coming in to put his long red underwear on and crawl into his winter coat when the temperature was somewhere near 30 degrees Celsius. Grandma must have thought the stress of harvest was really getting to him, because as much as a person loves heat, it’s not exactly common practice to parade around in clothes like that with the warm prairie sun beating down.
My other Grandpa (Larry) farmed the neighbouring quarter to Grandpa Bill and couldn’t figure out why the combine was working the field with the door hanging open. When Grandpa Larry drove over to check, there was a great explanation — something that we would laugh about for years to come.
The long underwear and open door were desperate attempts to stay warm in the new combine — one with air conditioning — a luxury Grandpa had never known.  He didn’t know how to shut it off, and was too stubborn to ask for help.
With harvest 2012 wrapping up for many farmers in the area, I wish you much luck with your air conditioners, not to mention your GPS units.  If you are having trouble, look up my Grandpa Larry, he’ll be over to help you shut it off or crank it up — whatever you need! And you won’t have to be embarrassed about having to ask your son.
(Cheyenne Stapley helps run her cattle operation in Central Alta. with her husband and family. Her column Rural Route will appear monthly in Prairie Post and is also regularly updated on our website)

Read 1620 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:35