Feb 042013
 
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So God Made a Farmer – and a Grandfather

Last night’s game started off rather boring.  The commercials weren’t really doing anything for me, either.  Then the Dodge Ram ad came on and there was silence – and a few tears – in the room.

See, I grew up on a farm.  My paternal grandfather was a farmer, my maternal grandparents were farmers, and my parents helped out on both sides.  And while I listened to Paul Harvey’s voice share all the special characteristics of farmers, I couldn’t help but think especially of my maternal grandfather who passed away a few years ago.

My grandfather worked hard.  Farmers’ days don’t start when the sun comes up and they don’t end when it goes down.  He would be up and out to work many times by 4 a.m. (a schedule that my grandmother, who is in her 80s, still often keeps).  And that was after getting up in the middle of the night to go stoke the fires in the potato houses so the harvested crop wouldn’t freeze in the middle of sub-zero Northern Maine winters.

"So God Made a Farmer" - Super Bowl Commercials

Photo Source: YouTube.com

He believed that Sundays were for family and God.  It didn’t matter if there were storms on the horizon and that fields of grain still needed to be cut before the wind and rain flattened them.  Or that snow was being forecast for the first week of October and hundreds of acres of potatoes still need to be pulled from the ground.  Sundays were breakfast, church, often a big family dinner or celebration of some kind, and then a nap (one of the only times in a week you might be able to try and fill the deficit from the week before).

He taught me to enjoy a lot of simple things: fishing, tending the garden, a bowl of popcorn with real butter and salt, a cup of coffee.  For all the work that running a farm took, there was always time for these things.  I will forever associate a pair of gum rubber boots with an early Saturday morning spent next to a stream trying to pull out a couple of legal-size trout for our lunch.  It’s a very simple way to model a “modern” concept of work-life balance.

He taught me how to value things.  When you’re a small, rural American farmer you don’t just go buy something new if something old breaks.  You often didn’t even go buy something old to replace something old.  You coaxed a few more months of life out of what you had, or you made due without.  I saw a lot of welding, duct tape, patches, parts from this taken to fix that, and other mending.  Much of it had to do with the cost (money isn’t something most small farmers have much of) but part of it was the mentality of his generation that you didn’t throw something away just because you could.

He loved my grandmother.  The value concept that can be applied not only to “stuff” but also relationships.  My grandparents were married for over 60 years.  They lived in the same house – the one my grandmother still lives in today – their entire married life.  To me, that’s an accomplishment.  It certainly couldn’t have been easy with the stress of farming, raising two daughters, and health scares with my grandmother.  And I can hear their occasional friendly bickering in my head.  “Launa,” my grandfather would say. “Burton,” my grandmother would respond.  But they supported each other and made it work for over six decades, something I feel my generation could stand to think about a bit.

I believe farming is kind of a calling.  Having spent years helping my family in every season, with every crop, dirt caked under my nails, and in my ears and nose, I can certainly say it isn’t for everyone.  But the men and women who love it and spend their lives nurturing plants and animals alike definitely deserved the little nod that Dodge gave them through Paul Harvey’s words.

So when you sit down to eat tonight remember that the food on your plate is likely there because God made a farmer.  And give them a little nod.

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About Liza

Liza is a mom and wife living in Louisville whose family includes a toddler, high school junior, and college junior. When she's not doing the Pocoyo dance with her toddler she is either trying out new recipes and craft projects discovered on Pinterest, planning new adventures for her family, shopping on Amazon, or dreaming about Disney.

  22 Responses to “Why Dodge’s “So God Made a Farmer” Ad Made Me Cry”

  1. It’s amazing how a commercial can evoke so many memories. Though my family isn’t a farming family, I was touched by this commercial.

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS!! My grandparents were farmers, too! We are blessed!!

  3. That was one commercial that brought a happy tear to my eye. I loved Paul Harvey and I grew up in the country, was friends with all farmer’s kids. We played in the barns and helped with harvesting different things. It was fun but hard work! I respect farmers.

    • My Dad was always listening to Paul Harvey, too. Maybe it was a country thing? :) And you’re right – the work was hard, but we definitely had a lot of fun with it at times!

  4. I LOVED IT. MY GRANDPARENTS WERE FARMER AS WAS MY DAD IN HIS YOUNGER YEARS. I REMEMBER HAVING MY OWN LITTLE WHEEL BARREL AND SHOVEL AND USED TO FOLLOW BEHIND MY DAD AS HE CLEANED OUT THE COW STALLS. I REMEMBER RIDING ON THE HAY WAGON WHILE STACKED THE HAY BALES MY DAD WOULD TOSS UP. MY DAD DIED 2 YEARS AT AGE 84. I MISS HIM SO MUCH. I LOVED THE MEMORIES THIS COMMERCIAL UNLEASHED. IT MADE ME SO HAPPY.

  5. You can send a thank you note via one million moms. The link is below.

    http://onemillionmoms.com/issues/send-a-thank-you-to-dodge/

  6. Your grandfather sounds like a very special man. He must have had a lot of good wisdom to pass down. :)

  7. I loved this commercial. It reminded that the simple things are what are important!

  8. What you said about your grandparents’ marriage really resonates with me. It seems like couples today don’t try to work on things. They just replace the old with the new never really trying to fix the old.

    It really is a shame.

  9. This commercial made me stop in my tracks. I can’t even tell you want the product was for but I can tell you between talking with local chefs and learning about the small farmers who raise crops and livestock, I have an even greater appreciation for them.

  10. The Farmer commercial was my absolute favorite Super Bowl commercial this year! My grandpa was a farmer too, and I spent hours every day as a child following him around the farm. He sounds an awful lot like your grandfather:-) I was also a big Paul Harvey fan. I wasn’t even in the room, but when I heard Paul Harvey’s voice I gravitated in and watched the commercial. It brought tears to my eyes too, just thinking about those times growing up with my grandfather.

  11. Great post! Living in east Tennessee, we’re surrounded by farmers. Although my Dad despised every minute he had to help his parents on the farm, he taught me that it IS and WAS hard work. I have so much respect for farmers – heck, our little container gardens are hard enough to take care of!

  12. It’s always amazed me how some commercials can just touch us in the right way! Thank you for sharing your story with us. You made me cry!

  13. i do love the commercial – my great grandparents were farmers. and i lived on their farm land from ages 12 til 23 – most of the acreage had been sold to a family friend that promise (and fulfilled that promise) to keep it as farmland and not sell it to someone who’d just let it grow over or who’d turn it into a trailer park…
    nowadays most people don’t really understand what farmers back then did – they did EVERYTHING. nowadays, in order for farmers to make any profit, they have to stick with one or two things – only crops or only dairy or only meat. and “farmer” is a word that doesn’t even invoke images of what it used to – but moreso people in lab coats injecting who-knows-what into their seeds or animals, thanks to the wonderful monsanto folks and their ilk. :-(
    i’ll always have a great deal of respect for farmers like my ancestors – who respected the land, the animals, and the people with whom they did their business.
    thank you for the post and the memories it brought back.

  14. I loved this commercial! I grew up in a farming community and while my parents weren’t farmers, they taught the farmers’ kids. Great people with great hearts! I now wish I was a farmer!

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