My summer reading list while a bit daunting, has served for a great deal of inspiration. Sheryl Sandberg is currently my muse with her book, Lean In. In it, she explains that it is up to me and no one else to essentially “bootstrap” it. Why is it that a strong personality indicates an authoritative position of power for most men, but is a sign that a woman is a bitch? At the end of the day, I must lean in and as Daddy always taught me, “Stand up and act like I got some sense!”
Richard Corbin is my Daddy. Like most farmers, he had no other choice but to “bootstrap” it. If something broke on the tractor, he couldn’t just take it to the shop to be fixed. He had to fix it himself and if he didn’t know how, he figured it out. Daddy’s continuing-ed was a hands-on experience to say the least. After much research about how Middle Tennessee’s climate affected the choices of crop rotation, Daddy was the first farmer in Montgomery County to raise soy beans. When a degenerative bone disease forced him to quit the heavy farming, Daddy built himself a rabbit barn and raised New Zealand White rabbits. It turns out, the cash crop was in the worm castings that lay below. Tomatoes never grew more prolifically! Lord knows, Daddy taught himself enough skills that should have earned him a masters in the school of something!
I knew how to check a car’s oil and transmission fluid levels before I was legal to drive. Much to my chagrin, I knew when the water table was off. When most kids were hoping for a sunny day at the pool, we were praying that the crops would get a real good soaker. I was twenty- seven years old, when I bought my little home in Inglewood. Pank thanks me all the time for seeing the potential in that old place. If it weren’t for Daddy, I could not have done it. Because of Daddy, I know how to hang sheet rock, locate wall studs and even complete an electrical circuit. That last one was a dosie!
While Daddy might like his right angles, thinking outside the box is his basic instinct. He was and is a model of strong work ethics, creativity and persistence. This Father’s Day , I reflected upon my relationship with Daddy and am full of a deep sense of gratitude.
I was one of the lucky ones. The farm lends to a bootstrap kind of upbringing. Daddy and Mamma worked very hard, so that I could have plenty of choices. I choose to remain connected to the land. It is a connection to the land and food that our farmers offer. Without those connections, do we really even have a fighting chance?