A Critical Conversation for Our Health, Our Happiness… and Our Economy

We’re going back to our roots this week.

We’ve spent our free time digging ditches.

It’s the job that kept us off the streets in high school and part of college. We made some good cash putting holes in the ground when the sewer first came to town.

Our job this week is on the farm, but we must still ensure our ditch runs downhill. We’re repairing a few old drain tiles and putting a couple of new ones in.

It’s good work.

It makes us feel young again.

It’s even helping with our Connections.

We met somebody.

Nice Dress, Fella

Wednesday night, we looked down from our tractor to see a man walking across the muddy field holding a flowing, white dress.

“Well, that’s odd,” we said to ourself. “We should see what that fellow wants.”

We pushed the throttle forward to let the roaring tractor come down to an idle and two-stepped off our iron shovel.

“Is that dress for me?” we asked while brushing the dust off our jeans. “I’d hate to get such a pretty thing dirty.”

Turns out the wayward guest was looking for Mrs. Manward and her sewing skills. But before we pointed him toward the house, we held him captive for a few minutes.

“You’re the guy with the steers for sale, aren’t you?” we said. “Are they on grass?”

It was a test.

If he wasn’t who we thought he might be, we expected him to respond with a curious look and mutter something about marijuana.

But he passed our test.

“Never had an ounce of corn,” he said.

We walked over to the tractor and turned the key. It could use the break… and we were happy to have some company.

For the next half hour or so, we stood in the middle of the field and talked about our food and whence it came. Like a confused compass, I spun around and pointed in nearly every direction as I described our projects.

He nodded his head, gave some advice and held the dress over his left shoulder.

We’d never met before, but it was clear we were old friends.

This was a notable conversation. It was one of the rare introductions where we didn’t talk about where we were from, what we did for a living or, heaven forbid, the weather.


We talked about the important stuff – the stuff that too few folks bother to think about, let alone talk about.

We simply chatted about the way things work… mainly our food.

Critical Know-How

It was clear this gentleman wasn’t in the mood to head to the grocery store to pick up a plastic-wrapped chicken breast. He had no plans of unwrapping a pork tenderloin that’s been marinated in some patent pending spicy chemical concoction.

Nah. He’ll just grow his own.

“We’re going to put some pigs in the woods in June,” he said. “You’ve got a great place right there,” he went on as he pointed to the brushy wood line we’ve been working to clear out.

We thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. It was enough to pen about, apparently.

But there’s a reason we’re taking our time to put it on paper, and there’s a reason we’re asking for your oh-so-precious time.

It’s important.

We’re worried.

This conversation mattered. Our food and its origination matter. But we’re afraid too many folks are having these same sorts of conversations about stuff that doesn’t matter.

The left vs. the right.

What new show debuted on Netflix last night.

The latest iPhone.

Remind us again how any of these fit within our Triad.

They don’t.

And because they don’t… we shouldn’t spend time on them.

They’re like vampire mosquitoes slowly sucking our blood.

They’re killing us one drop at a time.

But when it comes to our food – the stuff that literally keeps us alive – that’s a conversation worth shutting the tractor down for.

And yet few folks do.

Most folks don’t know where their chicken came from. They haven’t the slightest clue where that “healthy” chunk of lettuce in their salad started its life. And they certainly have no clue how it got on their plate.

It’s critical stuff.

It affects our health, our happiness and, yes, even our economy.

If we don’t talk about it… if we don’t ponder it… and if we don’t challenge the system, we’re all in big trouble.

Life expectancy in America is falling.

It’s a preposterous idea. And yet few folks have bothered to think about it.

It reminds us why we need to keep digging that ditch… and doing what we’re doing.

We’ve got work to do.

But it’s good work.

And we’re glad to have the company.


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