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Neighbors
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Posted 3/14/2019 10:55 (#7379900 - in reply to #7379768)
Subject: RE: Neighbors


Central IA
My grandpa reminisced a lot about neighbors. He always said that he was fortunate; he never had a poor one in 80 years. Of course, these were the days when you worked together and made the neighborhood a “community”. It always seemed strange to me (I’m 32 and this was over 25 years ago)- one time I asked my grandma about a peculiar candy dish that she had and she said they got it in 1965 as a housewarming gift from the “community” when they built a new home on a farm 3/4 of a mile west from where they lived previously. At that time, I was still unaware of how things had worked when neighbors were more dependent upon one another and had equated living in the country with being isolated from a community, not realizing that it was its own community. Many farmers here shared machinery, shelled corn together, processed new litters of pigs together, loaded hogs together (Grandpa always joked that they never worried about disease, because if one neighbor had it; they all did.) He also told a story about a neighboring farm that was up for rent, so two neighbors went and saw the owner together and at first he wanted nothing to do with renting the farm to two different guys. They were about to leave when one of the hopeful tenants said,”Well, one thing about it...you’d have two sets of machinery and two men to make sure your share of the crop was planted, cultivated, and harvested in a timely fashion...”. The old boy thought that over for a minute and decided that was a pretty good deal! They rented that 120 together for several years until one got far enough ahead financially that he ended up buying another farm and let the other renter have it for himself. I’ve done a lot of rambling, but my point with neighbors is the neighborhood and community were what you made of them. I red in a book one time about a gruff man asking the station attendant when getting off the train, “I’m moving onto the Joe Smith place, what kind of neighbors will I find there?” The station attendant asked, without looking up from his whittling, “what kind of neighbors did you have where you came from?” The mention of his former neighbors sent the man over the edge into a tirade of obscenities. After he calmed down, the station attendant said, “well, you’ll likely find them much the same here...”. That was out of an old book that I read in high school but that anecdote has always stuck with me because I think there’s a lot of truth in it and a gentle reminder to do your part to make the neighborhood what you want it to be. A good Ag Talk quote, “Don’t try to be better than your neighbor; just try to be better than yourself...” :).
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