Lately I’ve watched a few people … those who maybe haven’t seen my husband since he changed careers. They aren’t good at disguising their surprise at the change. There is usually a little snicker or a “well there’s farmer Jon”. This man I married almost 40 years ago has always worn dress clothes to work, ranging from casual slacks and polos to full dress suits and ties, depending on the employer. But now, when he walks through our back door at the end of a very long day, he wears jeans, work boots, and suspenders — the really wide heavy duty kind of suspenders, designed to do a job — not to look cool or fashionable. And he is dirty. Very dirty. Because now instead of pushing a pencil, he pushes, pulls, tugs, crawls, bends — whatever it takes to get the job done — on the farm. He works hard. So hard. He is tired at the end of the day. And he is happy. And that is what makes the change okay — and not just okay — but worth it. He loves what he is doing. He knows it is good work. He knows he is making a difference. Farming is honorable work; work of which to be proud. He knows he is providing well for me. I know that gives him security and great satisfaction.
Do I miss the shorter work days and the well-dressed man? Absolutely! There are days when I am rather grumpy about it. But there are more and more days when I am just so proud of him and this decision he has made to follow in his dad’s and granddad’s footsteps. I have reached the point where I flinch a little at the “farmer Jon” comment. It should be said with respect. Farmer Jon — with a capital “F”. He is not only providing a good life for me, but like every farmer, is helping to feed the world. Yes he is. And that makes me proud — and completely okay with the ugly suspenders.