My dad’s older sister passed away. She lived a very full life. She was the foundation of the independent American Family Dairy Farm. Immensely private people, my family to the north actually live in the world of “what is happening to our farmers”…they are not just lines in a story to make a political point. Women like my aunt are rare because there is zero chance you can have any idea what it takes to be the matriarch of a family farm; you have either lived it or you have not. And she learned from a true great…my grandmother…who created a gold-standard that my aunt achieved and likely passed. My uncle, her husband of near 70 years was and is the family superhero. A man of 90, he will do more manual labor by 9:00 tomorrow morning than I will the rest of the month of February, but I know he would say it was my aunt that did the lifetime of heavy lifting.
We are losing folks daily from what has been dubbed “the greatest generation” and the loss is even more devastating when it is from the “greatest family business” community. The American Family Dairy Farmer is a quiet GIANT in the United States….by choice. The Italian mafia has nothing on the American Family Farmer in terms of keeping it all in the family. They quietly go on about their business understanding that their privacy comes at a cost and having no problem paying that cost to live their lives as they choose. As one 3rd generation family farmer posted: “The American Farmer is the only one who has to sell wholesale, buy retail and pay the freight both ways”. The American Family Farmer has to rely on Washington doing the right thing while trying to keep the family farm off the Nasdaq. I marvel when I see folks that have never been near a farm, making posts about American Farmers. I’ve spent tons of time on countless family farms, several that share my name, and I don’t have clue 1 as to what real is to them. But I know their value and I know their motivations.
Ladies like my aunt are rare, and they are a treasure if you are lucky enough to be close to someone like that. The last time we visited her, she was in the house and my uncle yelled in “ma, we got company”…to which a response came from behind the closed door..”good, tell em to come in!”. There was no need to know who the company was, the house was in a constant state of readiness to not only house company but to feed company and even accommodate company if necessary. She was a central part of every conversation that took place in the common area of her home and all the while she never stopped doing something. She was at one time THE 2nd set of hands on the farm, she was wholly responsible for the overall health and well-being of the entire family..a master planner..a skilled multi-tasker and always the calm at the end of the storm. And all done without a trace of an ego and never ever living a moment that didn’t put the needs of her family first. And those that lived that life with her will miss her in a way that very few people can actually understand. Rest In Peace to the Farmer’s Wife.