One of my greatest mentors was my father-in-law, Richard Smith. The man I knew was a man of wisdom who was always willing to give me a hand. He was in many ways the inspiration for the farm business as it is today.
On the home farm today sits a two bedroom cabin next to the main house. This cabin was built for my in-laws. I originally thought that we would build it to make elder care easier. They would be right next door. I could help them in between farm chores, homeschooling children, and keeping house. But I realize years later, years after my father in law passed away, that the cabin built to care for them, ended up caring for me. Family is just that. It is a circle of love, that when broken forever changes us. While I can tell the story of how my father-in-law came to gently encourage my every decision. I can also tell you that it was not until he passed away that the presence in my life was truly known.
When Grandpa was working to understand the driving forces of the farm and the farm vision, he summed it up by asking, “You mean, you want to farm like I did when I was a kid?” Thus the name, This Old Farm. Born in 1928 he had run from the family farm as fast as he could at the young age of 16 and enlisted in the army. In his late 70’s he may have returned to a different piece of property or farm ground but it was still a home coming in many ways. While once bitter about all the work, he jumped into help me learn how to prune fruit trees and worked to figure out the best way to move pastured poultry. He loved to mow so much that I remember worrying gas costs might prevent us from eating. Both of my oldest boys had the same first words, Grandpa and tractor. There was not a day that he missed processing poultry with us on the farm before we purchased into the processing side of the business. He loved to greet customers when they came to pick up their chickens or cow share. He was a man of great joy.
I have to believe that joy was in part learned. As I know, just as we all do, he had his own life stories. Some of them were wonderful and some were not so wonderful. Richard Smith was a career military man. While most of his years were spent concealing the war stories, in the last few years he shared some of the sorrows, trials, and triumphs including his long stint as a prisoner of war. His first family was affected most by the demands of our country. I saw him try his best to shield his second wife and children from the impact that war has. As we shared time together in his last years, I felt privileged to learn about the man behind the stories he started to tell. I saw the triumph as he put hard days behind and chose joy in his last years. I feel incredibly blessed now in all of the lessons I was able to learn and still learn from the time we spent together.
While Dick did not die while serving the country, each Memorial Day in which I knew him, he quietly saluted those who did. Not by telling their stories, but by giving honor to the land we live in. It is with the same honor that I offer Memorial Day Savings. Enter DICK SMITH in as a coupon code on your online order and receive 30% off your Memorial Day grilling meats.
Chicken, Beef, and Pork. If it grills, it counts! Here’s to all those that fought to give us the freedoms we have today. Happy Memorial Day!
This Old Farm