There’s nothing better than the sound of raindrops (and music)

Farm Forum

There are so many great things about rainy weather. For one, we can go to the movies (or watch one at home) without worrying about the work we ought to be doing outside.

Speaking of movies, years ago we received a package in the mail from Mycogen. (My apologies if it was a different company – we couldn’t recall for sure!) Inside was a bag of microwave popcorn and a postcard to return with your choice of a family movie. We chose a classic: The Sound of Music. The VHS tape (that will tell you how long ago this happened) came a few weeks later and life changed for the better in our household.

As a young teenager, our son invited some friends to our home. They began looking through our outdated movie collection. Noses crinkled at the well-worn plastic cover showcasing Julie Andrews on a green Austrian hill. Amidst the teasing, our son bravely told his friends, “That’s my favorite movie!”

The others had never entered the world of the widowed Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plumber) and his seven rambunctious children. They hadn’t seen the sparks that flew when the twelfth governess showed up at the Von Trapp mansion- Maria (Julie Andrews), an outspoken nun-in-training.

Initially Captain Von Trapp tried intimidating Fraulein Maria, “We’ll have to get you some new clothes.” She explained that she’d given all of her worldly possessions to the poor when she’d entered the Abby. He waved at her dreary dress, “What about this

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one.” Maria responded, “The poor didn’t want this one.”

His children also tried bullying Maria into leaving. But Maria stopped the insults with a smile and a song. She converted the Von Trap children back into the musical, playful creatures they were prior to their mother’s untimely death. The drama was heightened by the timeline. It was the beginning of WWII; the final hours of pre-Nazi Austria. Captain Von Trapp was desperate to hold onto his homeland’s ideals, which were passing away in a changing world.

Listening to my glowing descriptions, our son’s friends grew curious and we dusted off the VCR player. As the storyline progressed they seemed a bit bored with the long periods of dialogue and the abundance of songs, but they hung in until the end.

I pointed out my favorite scene; the turning point in the film. It occurs when Maria confronts Captain Von Trapp about neglecting his children. Even though he repeatedly told her, “I don’t want to hear any more from you about my children!” Maria insisted, “Well you’ve got to hear it from someone! You’re never home long enough to know them.” She finishes with a final plea on their behalf, “Love them, Captain, love them all!”

It is inspiring to see a lively young woman demand that a distant father love his children

She’s saying more than that, though. Maria is urging a resentful man to quit dwelling on what he’s lost (his wife, his homeland) and start appreciating and showing some gratitude for what he still has (seven remarkable children and God’s presence).

I find Maria to be inspiring because my farmer can go missing around the home front in the spring and fall. As a result I often become resentful about the cost of this way of life. When it rains and he is home, I still grumble about the rainy weather or the piles of muddy clothes waiting for me in the laundry room. I see the weeds coming everywhere instead of the beautiful green hills. I fret because I didn’t get everything into the garden before it turned into a mud puddle. And it seemed we’d never get the crops in. Or I dwell on the work and effort it takes to raise children, instead of hopping on a bicycle with them and having a picnic; or taking everyone to the movies during a rainstorm.

Julie Andrew’s plucky character reminds me to be grateful about the cost of servant-hood, marriage, motherhood, and life in this world.

Furthermore, Maria didn’t let anyone’s negative attitude stop her. She just charged right ahead with her purpose (to prepare the children for a new mother). And it worked. Maria became his wife and the new mother she prepared the children for turned out to be herself.

He was pretty grouchy in the first scene, but in the end Captain Von Trapp was smiling. He willingly left his home behind and climbed the hills toward Switzerland, avoiding a forced enlistment in the Nazi war effort.

I don’t know enough to comment on their products, but the marketing department at Mycogen has excellent taste in movies. The free popcorn wasn’t bad either.

Andrea Beyers lives in Roscoe. Contact her at