I went to a farm auction today. The man has decided to retire. I saw him today going down the line starting all the tractors, probably for the last time.
I met him years ago at an old church we had visited. I made sure I said hello and wished him well. I shook his hand. Felt like sandpaper from all the years of hard work. He walks kind of stooped over now. He tilted his head up, looked me in the eye. "I remember you. Had your son with you." "Yes, sir."
I respected his work ethic. How many times had he climbed up and down off those tractors through the years? How many countless hours spent alone in the fields? How many cold mornings like today? I asked him how many years he had farmed? "All my life. It's all I know." I thought this man has worked hard all his life. And now it's going to all be gone. Nothing left but the memories. How would people remember him? Would he be remembered as a man of integrity? Would he be remembered as a Godly man, a good person? Somebody that would do anything for his brother?
I had seen an old tractor there. One my dad owned when I was a boy. It meant the world to me when I was allowed to drive it alone. I remember the joy I felt when my dad admired the straight line I had plowed.
I left the auction early. Didn't feel right obtaining stuff that belonged to this old man.
In a way, I was sad for him.
I went to Sheetz for some sandwiches and milk. A young man with orange hair pulled up. A little girl, I guess his daughter, got out with him. I stood back and opened the door for them. I felt different. They thanked me as I walked into the store. I had my old jeans and mud boots on. An old beat up cowboy hat that had seen many storms. I noticed too maybe I was stooped over and tired from standing on the cold damp ground. At that moment I realized I'm getting older, like the man who sold his farm.
I realized I too won't take anything with me.
I hope I'm remembered as a good man, a Godly man, someone who would do anything for his brother.
I thank God for my upbringing on a farm. It grounded me at a time I needed it. I pray the family farms never die. I pray that old man can enjoy his remaining years.
It's not what we take but what we leave behind.
Zach Smith -