The Planted Row: Take a chance on Valentine's Day

Stan Wise
Farm Forum Editor

In last week’s column, I implied that my life has turned out pretty well despite graduating college with a degree in English. I should have mentioned that has mostly been due to my lovely wife.

As you might imagine, someone who majors in English has decided that the practical things in life (like paying our bills) are somewhat less important than a bunch of high-minded observations on human nature.

Thank goodness, then, that I found a no-nonsense wife to make sure my head occasionally comes down out of the clouds. She makes sure the kids have doctors’ appointments that I never even knew they needed. She makes sure our finances and investments are in order. She’s constantly on the lookout for educational opportunities for the kids. She makes certain that we eat something healthier than mac and cheese and pizza at most mealtimes (even if I’m the one designated to cook it). She reminds me that we need to take vacations now and then. Oh, and of course, she works a full-time job.

If you’re thinking that she only keeps me around to make the occasional home and car repair, I’d like to point out that I also have a decent sense of humor.

I am very fortunate to have married such an amazing woman, and I owe it all to a hunting guide in Mississippi.

Renee (my wife) and I were both dating other people when we met in a martial arts dojo during grad school, but we still formed a friendship. A year later we were both single, and I kind of had a feeling she wanted me to ask her out. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, thinking that a poor farm boy from Mississippi had little business dating a high-class girl from New York.

A group of us from the dojo went to a bar after class, and Renee and I were playing a game of pool. It wasn’t long before one of the local guys came up to Renee and offered to “show” her how to play pool. He soon had his arms around her to guide her movements with the cue. This guy, who worked as a hunting guide, did his best to flirt with Renee. At first, she didn’t seem too interested, but after a short restroom break with one of her friends, Renee seemed a bit more open to his advances. I later learned that Renee’s friend advised her to use the hunting guide to make me jealous.

Folks, the plan worked.

When our group decided to move our party to a restaurant, this hunting guide started to get in the passenger seat of Renee’s car. I took that moment to quietly, but firmly explain to him that if he wanted to join us at the restaurant, he needed to find another vehicle to take him. I then climbed into the car next to Renee. We arrived before he did, and I made sure that our table was full. He was forced to sit on the other side of the restaurant.

We never saw him again, but I owe that man thanks for the life that I’ve had since. If you’re out there, mister, thanks, and I’m sorry I was rude to you… but not that sorry. You see, it seemed wrong to run off one of Renee’s potential romantic prospects if I wasn’t going to at least ask her out. So, I finally did, and that resulted in 15 years (so far) of happy marriage and a loving family.

So, this Valentine’s Day, if you’ve got your eye on someone, don’t wait for some interloper to come along and make you jealous enough to do what you should’ve done already. Ask your crush out on a date. You never know. You might just be as lucky as me and win the relationship lottery.

Happy trails, Jane

When I started working for the Farm Forum in 2012, I began as an assistant to then-editor Connie Sieh Groop. One of the first tasks I was assigned was to edit Plain Jane Green’s column when it came in. It didn’t take me very long at all to appreciate what she was trying to say.

In almost every column by Jane that I’ve read — and that’s every single column since April 2012 — she relates the joy, humor and simple pleasures to be found in farm and ranch life. Often, her “a-ha” moments are usually not earth-shattering events. Instead, they are small things that she notices, and as she thinks about them, she is granted a new point of view or outlook. Without fail, that new outlook is positive.

My high school creative writing teacher advised me that one good way to end a short story is with “a quiet realization of truth.” Jane must have received that bit of wisdom somewhere along the way, as well, because she certainly knows how to end a story. Her upbeat and humorous epiphanies remind us to never miss the joy and satisfaction to be gained from a life of honest work, love of nature, and devotion to family.

Sadly, Jane has shared her last story with Farm Forum readers. You’ll find it in this edition on page 4D.

Jane has new challenges and adventures ahead of her, but those won’t be shared with us. Yet, thanks to her past observations, we can rest assured that whatever situation she finds herself in, she’ll be appreciating its humor and offering thanks for whatever joy there is to be found.

I wish her and her family my heartfelt thanks for allowing me and all of our Green Sheets readers to share in their farm adventures.

Happy trails, Jane, and best of luck from all of us at the Farm Forum.