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Downwind

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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Life Lessons - Chapter 6

August 2012 I am sitting in front of my computer again considering my childhood as I write another column that focuses in on life lessons from the farm. Everybody who pops their head into my office probably thinks that this effort I'm putting forth looks like daydreaming but no, I'm working!  As you know, I've been writing about growing up on a farm and the lessons that I learned from both positive and negative experiences. These lessons impact my daily life today. For those of you who are growing weary of my recollections, my apologies to you. Don't panic, only a couple more months to go! Lesson nine: Work and then play…Sometimes in that order! The rumor on the street is that the profession of farming is hard work. This is a collectively shared belief most non-farm people have and I am always quick to agree. When I was growing up, we certainly felt like we worked plenty hard a bit too frequently. In fact, I found myself wanting to be an anti-work leader. However, to be honest and forthrigh ...

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Life Lessons - Installment Number "Five"

July 2012 At the risk of repeating myself, in recent months, I have been reflecting upon various life lessons I've learned over the course years of farm life as a youth and young adult. These life lessons have impacted me throughout my life and have determined my lifestyle choices, decisions, attitudes towards life, and much more. Every one of us can find moments, good or bad, in our life that taught us a lesson that has stuck. I apparently had a lot of such lessons! It seems that I've used a number of these life lessons in recent months as examples for my children. I am trying to give examples of why character matters, decisions make a difference, safety is essential, and work ethic means something. I'm not sure that any of it has made any impact with them or will necessarily make an impact on you, the reader. However, writing about these life lessons has brought back many memories and smiles for me (and other members of my family). So please indulge me as I put on paper the next installment of life l ...

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Life Lessons - Installment # "FOUR"

June 2012 In recent months, I've been reflecting upon various life lessons I've learned while growing up on the farm. Based on the response of readers, there's apparently a bunch of you that can relate! We all have experiences that affect the way that we live our lives. Some are good experiences and some not so good but either way, they shape, mold, influence, and guide decisions, thinking, and behavior.  Now, as I look back upon some of these stories and experiences, they serve to be not only fun memories of ways that I can share cause and effects with my children. (My brother John, after I dedicated last month’s “lesson ”to him, sent to me a note saying “brings back some good memories, seems like we didn't need anything fancy to entertain us” ).  So true, Bro!  I thank the readers as I relive and share some of the “not-so-proud and somewhat embarrassing occurrences” in my life that seem to have made me who I am today. So, with that Preface, it ...

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