If you know me at all, you know I'm a Missouri girl to the core. One reason I love my job so much is that I get to meet great folks from across my favorite state! I'll be honest, I am so proud of my Show-Me State stomping grounds that it takes me by surprise when anyone suggests I would have rather grown up somewhere else.
(Editor's note: My Missouri girl roots are also getting me excited about this weekend's football game...when my Missouri Tigers will beat those silly birds to the west! Thanks to a great boyfriend for getting tickets!)
Anyway, back to the main purpose of this post. Just the other day, I was talking to someone who lives in the county north of my hometown. Naturally, I told him where I grew up, hoping to help us relate to each others as "neighbors." Instead, his response to my enthusiastic statement was a sympathetic, "I'm sorry." I cheerily answered with a short, "You don't have to apologize, I loved my rural roots."
It turns out, my phone friend grew up in a large suburb of Kansas City, and just doesn't think there's enough stuff to do in rural mid-Missouri. I refrained from telling him about all the joys of country living...you know, things like learning how to ride a bike on a gravel road, picking wildflowers on a summer day, caring for baby lambs or calves or any other livestock offspring, and spending time in grandma's kitchen baking with the expert.
Those are just a few of my favorite childhood memories, and for each one on my mind right now there are a thousand more. Memories are a special piece of life for everyone rural and urban, midwest and coastal, north and south. Memories give us an appreciation for all of life's joys, different as they may be. That call was a reminder that the things I value may not be as glamorous to the person on the phone. Yes it's true, not everyone appreciates the smell of fresh manure, and doesn't think of checking cattle as a fun afternoon activity.
It made me think back to an interview I had during my freshman year of college. One of the interviewers asked me why I'm interested in agriculture. That was easy, and before I had time to think about a polished answer, my heart blurted out my feelings for me with this quick statement: "It's where I came from, where I am, and where I'm headed. If it weren't for agriculture, I wouldn't be here today."
No matter where you come from or where you're headed, just be sure to appreciate the life that you have been given and the experiences who have made you the person you are today.
16 hours ago