Strange but true

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hasn't this been a strange year?

For example, we've all be praying for rain for God knows how long. We didn't expect Tuesday morning's hurricane.

OK. I know the meteorologists pooh-pooh the idea of a Midwestern hurricane, but let's not mince words. When I saw the torrents of rain going sideways, I said to myself, so this is what a hurricane looks like.

For all of you who seeded or reseeded your lawns this fall anticipating Mother Nature's assistance with the watering: You have my sympathy. I am one of you. I watered for three or four weeks and then turned the new grass over to fate.

Yes, I took a gamble. I expected the odds to be in my favor. Ha. Ha.

Someone asked me at lunch on Monday how I thought the vote on casino gaming in Cape Girardeau would go. I bet him a dollar it would pass.

Adding to all the strangeness of 2010 is the political scene. Good and decent folks are calling each other names. If their children carried on like that at grade school, they'd get a good swat on the behind.

Wouldn't that be something? Public spankings for over-the-top candidates and their crazy ads. It's fun to dream.

There's an upside to this strange year too. We've been enjoying the fruits of other people's labor at the Thursday-afternoon farmers markets. Garden crops seem to have done quite well this year, despite the long, dry spell. Maybe they have more rain in Illinois. That seems to be where all the produce at our farmers market comes from. Why's that?

Among the vegetables my wife and I enjoy the most is sweet corn on the cob. One of the farmers market vendors plants several crops that mature later and later during the growing season. We had some of the best corn so far in the middle of October. We can't ever recall being so fortunate.

Thanks, farmers market vendors, for your vegetables, fruits, baked goods, honey, walnuts and preserved goodies. What a treat. And how we will miss you now that frost is on the pumpkins.

All those farmers who bring vegetables and fruits to the farmers market each week might have some interesting things to say to anyone trying to decide how to vote on the casino issue next Tuesday.

Anyone who grew up on a farm, like the one on Killough Valley in the Ozarks over yonder, knows what a risky business farming can be. Temperature, rainfall and storms all make or break a farmer's best efforts. But, year in and year out, farmers put seeds in the ground, fertilize and cultivate in hopes there won't be drought or a tornado won't destroy nearly-ready-to-harvest crops.

And look at us. We're the best fed -- probably overfed -- nation in the world.

Farmers are pretty smart folks.

I'm ready to see what can happen to this town with the addition of a major industry that has lots of new jobs and will add millions of dollars to the local economy.

Most of all, I'm already thinking about next year's first home-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes.

God willing, and the creek don't rise.

Joe Sullivan is the former editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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