All things are possible with coffee and cowboy boots — at least that’s what I told myself as I threw a bag full of toys and snacks into the swather for the kids. Swathing has got to be one of my favorite jobs. I think the only task I enjoy more is driving forklift.
Things were going smoothly. The kids were happily entertained, there was an enjoyable program on the radio and there were minimal gopher mounds in the field I was cutting. In that moment, life was perfect.
Then a funny thing happened. Bang! The platform to the right of the cab appeared to break. I stopped, but other than having fallen a few inches, it looked OK. Odd, but nothing too serious. A few more rounds and I noticed it had fallen even farther and was now starting to rub on the inside of the tire. I stopped — time to call in help.
Ten minutes later my husband looked miserable as we stared at a broken drive hub. The platform hadn’t moved at all. It was the wheel that had tilted sideways — a long and expensive fix. I packed up the toys, coffee thermos and kids, and we all piled into the pickup.
My husband looked dejected. This spring had been so wet it had been nearly impossible to get into the fields — and now that we were in, we were broke down. Sometimes farming is like playing five-card poker with four cards.
As we were driving home, my husband started listing all the things that were broke or in dire need of attention. It reminded me of a story my grandmother used to tell. “Everyone in every walk of life faces hardships and adversity. It’s how we react to them that changes the outcome,” I told my husband. “If you were to drop an egg and a carrot in boiling water, the egg would toughen up, and the carrot becomes mushy and gross.”
My husband rolled his eyes, “What about the crab that just turns red and dies?”
“Ahhh. You’re ruining the analogy. There’s no crab. Carrot or egg. You can only pick between the two,” I give an exaggerated sigh.
“OK, I pick the egg,” he smirks at me, “because then you can have deviled eggs for lunch!”
Analogies can be cute — but sometimes boiling water just brings out the devil in us!
A few hours, several phone calls and a lighter pocketbook later we were bringing back a new swather to finish out the first cutting. I threw back in the bag of toys and a new thermos of coffee and climbed into the freshly Armor All-ed cab. The kids immediately started pressing handprints into the shiny glass windshield while I enjoyed the easy straight lines that auto-steer provides.
I began thinking about eggs, carrots and dead crabs, and I realized that my grandmother left out an integral part of the story: coffee grounds. You don’t have to be a mushy carrot, a deviled egg or a dead crab. When faced with adversity, you can smile and use it to make coffee.
Add cowboy boots, and all things become possible!
Brianna Walker occasionally writes about the Farmer’s Fate for the Blue Mountain Eagle.