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Downwind

Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Great Hunter” I was “shut out” again this spring of 2013!  “Shut out” for the 15th consecutive year. I failed to bag my limit, again. Woe is me. My interest level in this annual event has varied during the past 15 years and beyond.  For some reason this year, I was extremely focused (read obsessed) on the event…the Great Hunt.  And I repeat…I was shut out.  Again. In farm country, where I grew up, this Great Hunt is met with great enthusiasm, secrecy, and certainly “tall” whoppie tales.  People say “I got one the size of a milk carton” or “I got enough to fill 27 freezers”! I equate the Great Hunt with the transition of weather from “cold and damp” to the warmth and pleasantry of what I call “real spring”. You know that feeling…the bird sounds, flower fragrances, and delightful temperature combine say “hallelujah, winter is HISTORY!” Yes, the Great Hunt ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

Do you Remember? At some point (hopefully), a person lives long enough to be “old”… So, when does old begin? Apparently, that time is now for me. There have been many hints by my kids to that effect…okay, not really “hints”.  Those kind kids bluntly say, “Dad, you are old”! A few more helpful age hints have presented themselves recently… -I watched the movie “ARGO” recently and remember the Iranian crisis. -Two Cook County Staff recently said that they absolutely love the long lost decade known as “the 80’s”!  I remember the glamorous 80’s. -My hair evaporated…I remember having hair. -My “ways” are set in concrete…I was once wishy-washy. -I’ve been cleaning out office program files from 10-15 years ago and the programs seem like yesterday!  Have I been here that long?  There is a saying, “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duc ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

The sound of farm silence… I have heard people say that they want to move to the country for peace and quiet. In fact, I have said it myself. I do have to wonder if some of these individuals understand what they are seeking…especially the “quiet” part. In the city, there is a constant barrage of noise coming from car engines, trucks, construction, airplanes, and a host of other man-made decibels. After a while, the noise simply becomes a buzz in the background and one barely notices it. In the country, it's the opposite phenomenon. The lack of people combined with the expansion of space leads one to believe in the concept of “quiet”.  This “sound“ of silence has its own volume generated by the trees, moving water, wind, grass, animals, insects…the habitat known as the Great Outdoors. It is this “silent” volume has a way of growing in a way that does not seem proportional to its source on the farm.  And I’ve experienced a ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Made in the USA” It was only 2 minutes in length.  And yet, it was 2 minutes in which no one in my living room spoke and all eyes were locked on the images shown on the TV.  All ears were tuned to the distinctive voice of Paul Harvey from 1978, now deceased. The images were of rugged individuals…vivid…stark...rough…earthy.  Weather, nature, and the elements co-starred. The message was clear...”Farmers are unsung heroes”. February 3 now seems like old news but the subject of “the Commercial“ keeps popping up wherever I go.  “Did you see that commercial, “So God made a farmer”, during the Super Bowl that paid tribute to farmers?” I've received the question at church, the office, board meetings, running with a buddy, meetings with Country Financial representatives, during a basketball game, and with friends. I’ve received e-mails at work. People have commented upon it on our Facebook page. Apparently, ...

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Downwind by 'Cowboy' Bob Rohrer, Manager

My son, when he was a young child, would close out every day as he lay in bed by telling me what he wanted to do when he grew up. He would say, “When I grow up, I’m going to be an architect and builder and a fireman and an artist and a football player” (and an assortment of other occupations and hobbies that I don't recall). The list seemed to grow every day until it took forever for him to get done with his list and go to sleep. That's the beauty of childhood when anything seems possible, glorious, and simple. Anything and everything is possible! I was thinking of this last night when my son, now a 16-year-old, told everybody at the dinner table that he is thinking he wants to be a history teacher. (I also could not help thinking about one of my best friends in college who majored in history with the thought of teaching… he has spent the last 25 years as a probation officer). Going back a few dozen decades, a very young Bob said the words… “When I grow up, I want to b ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager (Technology Guru)

I am a technology dinosaur trying to evolve as I face extinction with the world changes around me. The image of a triceratops or Stegosaurus trying to operate a computer laptop comes to mind.(except I love meat…no plant eater here!) So maybe I'm a technology challenged, meat eating velociraptor. During the movie “Jurassic Park”, those velociraptors learned how to open doors but I bet they could not learn to operate a computer system. My office “way of life” is going extinct… bye, bye paper and pencil. When I was in grade school and junior high back in medieval times, penmanship was a part of one's grade. During those early school years, I found penmanship to be a “foreign language”. To say I had difficulty mastering it would be a massive understatement. Apparently, my writing “hand” was more of a writing “talon”.  I should have been practicing to be a doctor. I just did not find the skill of writing legibly to be important. T ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

I have been writing for most of this year about Life Lessons, the things taught to me growing up on a farm which affected me throughout my life.  I have been able to cover a lot of ground. As you know, Life Lessons become the essence of a person and influence the choices, decisions, personalities, and relationships one has for the rest of his or her life. This month, the star of the show will be of the cold-blooded variety (insert lawyer or ex-wife joke)… I'm talking about “Reptiles”. Lesson 13: Reptile Fascination … I have previously emphasized the magnetic attraction “water” had on me and my siblings while we were growing up. Water, of course, is the home to a number of interesting creatures and I tried to meet them all as a kid.  We had smaller stream/ditch that ran along the southern edge of the farm. It was probably a half a mile or so from the house. As youngsters, we acted as if we had the run of the place roaming the area, discovering new things, and ...

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Life Lessons by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

I have been reminiscing in this column in recent months about my childhood (with guest appearances from my brothers, sisters, and parents) growing up on the farm and the various life lessons learned along the way.  So far, I have touched on water and mud, work and play, recklessness and responsibility, crap stinks, wild cats, work does not “lie”, responsibility, know-it-alls (starring me), anger(also starring me), and machinery has no feelings. One important aspect of farm life is how close to nature we lived. This month, I must address a few of God’s smaller creatures found in nature…bugs.Every day, we were in touch with the wonder and complexity of spiders and their webs, the music of crickets, the athletic ability of grasshoppers, and the sound intensity of cicadas. We dug worms for fishing, tried to understand caterpillars, and an attempted to protect the garden from beetles. The topic of insects…yes, a lot of dirty laundryair on this subject. Lesson 12: Insects&helli ...

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Life Lessons by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

I have been reminiscing in recent columns about my childhood on the farm and the various life lessons learned along the way.  Last month, my memories got me all wet as I wrote about my childhood lessons learned from Water and Mud. While I was writing, paragraph after paragraph “flowed” until it reached novel stage. Knowing most members only read novels from popular authors, I decided to break the column into part 1 and part 2.  This is part two of...”Water and Mud”. Lesson 11: Essentials of a kid’s farm life… Water and Mud (part two) On the farm, the garden hose (we called it the “watering hose”) was our rural version of the urbanite’s water fountain. We had water hydrants of various locations for watering livestock and washing equipment and irrigating plants. Nearly each water hydrant had a watering hose attached to deliver the water where was needed...water troughs, water tanks, equipment washing areas, and such. Equally important for me, ...

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Life Lessons

September 2012 For the past eight months, I have been reminiscing about my childhood on the farm and the various life lessons I learned along the way. When I started this series, I indicated that some life lessons result from a positive occurrence, but (unscientifically) my life has demonstrated many times the power of the “negative” in teaching a person. As I sit here and ponder the word “negative”, I find that I no longer view those experiences as negative. Fortunately, time has a way of adjusting one's perspective (and dulling the pain). I must confess, part of my hope has been to draft something that I could use to influence the choices my kids make in the future. Now, if I could only figure out how to get the kids to read the Cooperator! Perhaps I should just put these life lessons in a lockbox /time vault for opening in 25 years when these kids of ours are attempting to influence, direct, teach their own children. I can picture the group of kids and grandkids huddled around the ...

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