No one knows how long people like me, in New York City, will be holed up in their apartments with the Covid-19 pandemic. It has taken me a minute to adjust to this new normal of being alone and staying indoors. Even with the luxuries of smart phones, calls, texts, streaming, etc., it still has the feel of being under house arrest. Like exercising, I always feel better when I put some thoughts down on paper. So, I’m looking in ever nook and cranny for occasions to “celebrate.”
There are many silly holidays one can find online—from “Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day” to “National Ear Muff Day.” But, beyond the traditional religious, patriotic, and seasonal holidays we mark, to one degree or another, there are some fun and interesting holidays I expect to observe this spring. Today is National Ag Day! (To be fair, it is also National Cocktail Day, but I think spirits are getting plenty of attention during the pandemic.)
Growing up in Oklahoma, our main industries were oil/gas and agriculture. Raised in a little town in the north central part of the state, a good number of our classmates lived in the country or on working farms. I well remember in the spring, when so many of our junior high and high school boys would come to school with bald heads and sunburned skin as they baled hay. Some of our classmates were in “FFA” (Future Farmers of America) and raised animals for competition and such. These student leaders often made the rounds to visit state and national political leaders to discuss topics important to the sector.
More recently, the percentage of Oklahomans working in agriculture (and ag products as a percentage of the state’s GDP) have fallen. But farming is an important part of our history and identity. The seal of my beloved University of Oklahoma has a farmer sowing the seeds of knowledge, a vision I’ve always treasured.
Just before the hysteria of this epidemic took hold, I was making plans to visit my old school friend Beth at her family farm near Abilene, Texas. Her husband is from a farming family and they have passed the love of the land and her bounty to their children. I was so looking forward to packing up my outrageous cowboy boots and taking a ride on one of their old horses. That will have to wait until we return to a more normal time.
Ag Day is sponsored by the Agriculture Council of America. To learn more, you can visit their website.
Happy Ag Day everyone! Go hug a farmer or a rancher.