Last year, when my lovely wife was working in town, or more precisely, last spring, somehow through her work, the woman I love acquired a coupon for 2 free rounds of golf. In another town. Forty-five minutes away. Beside a lake. With a golf cart included. For free.
She said I should take the boy. Which was, I agreed, a magnificent idea. Because while I in no way claim to have any sort of natural ability when it comes to golf, I have enjoyed myself whenever I've gone. And the boy loves to golf, so it would be a nice thing to get off the farm and do something a bit out of the ordinary with him for a change.
Plus it was free.
So we pinned that coupon to the cork board beside the door as a reminder of all of the fun we were going to have.
And then I went to work. Every day. Because the year before, when I was thinking about things I wished I had done differently over the past year when the numbers on the top of the calender increased by a single digit, I had thought, I'm going to try to apply myself to what I do, to the best of my ability, in an attempt to be an even more productive farmer.
Every day, when I put on my overalls and laced my boots, I looked at that coupon, and thought, we're going to have a great time golfing, the boy and I.
Slowly, the summer drifted on and fall came creeping in, as falls tend to do, while we try to cling to days of shorts and t-shirts. And that coupon that had been a reminder of the good times in store for the boy and I, became more of something we now needed to squeeze in, between trying to keep my combine running, and making feed for the cows to last the winter.
Until it was finally obvious that we were't going to be able to go. So I tried to see if one of his brothers could take the boy, but they were busy too, and when I finally couldn't even give the coupon away any more, it got taken off the cork board, beside the door, and tossed into the trash.
But, I had been productive, and we filled all of our grain bins, and even some bins we had to borrow from our neighbours to store all of that grain we produced. Then the grain prices started to fall.
So now, even though we produced good quality grain, in vast quantities, it's worth about half of what we got last year.
I don't know how to budget for that. I don't know how to sit down and say, "I'm going to work my ass off so I can bring home half the pay." But more importantly, how do I justify the time I took from other things, in order to try to provide more for my family, only to come up short in all aspects?
I don't know what the answer is,
.........but I wish I had gone golfing.