Squeezing the most out of life

Farm Forum

Let the word go forth from this time and place that South Dakota has some fantastically talented people. Talk about having abilities beyond belief! Uffdah! And for them, these abilities are like “No Big Deal!” Well, let me clue you, these people are a big deal, and I’m going to brag about them. And the story goes like this….

Green Reunion Flashbacks

This past May I was asked to present a Plain Jane’s Misadventures program at the Green Family Reunion. The organizers wanted to liven things up a bit and let the younger ones learn about the family’s roots and about how James A. and Essie P. Green homesteaded in Meade County, South Dakota. Horrors of horrors! I was just an in-law, not a real-in-the-flesh Green; maybe someone in the blood should tell the story. But the powers that be said no to that notion, so Jane had to tell the story.

Well, actually, I couldn’t say no this invitation because then my hubby’s relatives would think that I was a snob. But, how could I do this program because then I might inadvertently say something wrong about the family history. Oh, my, what a dilemma!

Fortunately, Cousin Barb assured me that everything was good to go and I shouldn’t worry and she was absolutely right. We had a grand time and then a most wonderful thing occurred. Cousin Barb showed her true colors and I have to brag about what she did next.

Talent, talent, talent

In my book, Cousin Barb is a fantastically talented person. Not only did she organize the whole reunion but she also was the chief motivator for decorating the affair. The place was decorated to the nines with floral bouquets and banners and then the ultimate of ultimate gifts.

On behalf of the whole family, she gave me a beautiful paper rack full of flowers as a thank you. That sounds kind of strange, but she had taken an old-fashioned wood paper rack and painted it a bright yellow. Then she had grown her own flowers from seed and filled both sides of the rack with colorful flowers of every description and kind. And then the topper to this whole thing was the inviting message painted in bright green on both sides of the rack: “Welcome, Friends, Neighbors, & Relatives.”

I was elated to receive such a thoughtful gift and immediately had visions of where I would put it. After exclaiming about this neat gift, Barb’s comment to me was, “It was no big deal, Jane. The old rack was out in our garage and I grew the flowers in my greenhouse. You know how the relatives are—we can’t spend any money.”

Now, that’s what I call a person with talent, talent, talent. She definitely knew how to squeeze the most out of life and fill mine with riches.

It’s no big deal

Then in June we delivered some bulls to one of our customers. Farmwife Diane was there to welcome us and help unload the critters because her hubby was working away from the farm that day. She then invited me into her home to write out the bull check and oh my goodness, the check was great, but viewing her home décor was outstanding. Her natural artistic talent seethed from every nook and cranny.

One piece of artwork in particular really caught my eye. I’m a sucker for western artwork and her unusual homemade barb wire cowboy hat was just too much for me to resist exclaiming over. She explained that she had tried to make it out of old rusty barbwire, but had to give up on that idea because the wire kept breaking. So instead, she made the hat from new barbwire and painted it a rusty color. Whatever the process—it looked super on her wall and I offered to buy it from her. Immediately, Diane took the barbwire hat off the wall and gave it to me. I couldn’t believe it and naturally the famous words of, “It’s no big deal, Jane” came out of her mouth.

To say the least, Diane’s hat has proudly graced our kitchen area and received much applause and conversation. So much so, that when my daughter Amy and sister Lois came to visit, they tried making a hat just like Diane’s.

Oh, my goodness let me tell you, the words from their mouths were much different than Diane’s words. It was a big deal to them and by the time they had finished making their version of the hat—well, they had squeezed a whole lot of life out of that barbed wire. Their hat version looked more like something coming out of torrential rain storm—but hey, they at least tried.

Making something out of nothing

Talent comes in all sizes, shapes and kinds. Some people are naturally artistic and some are not. This summer I found two naturally artistically talented ladies and I salute them hardily.

They both also exhibit that inborn trait of a true South Dakotan to squeeze the most out of life —by that I mean –making something out of nothing. Ya gotta love it.

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. E-mail her at: