He used to tell me that whenever adversity comes your way you need to “rise to the occasion”.  I will never forget this phrase, it has helped me through many twists and turns in my life.  As a kid I used to roll my eyes when he would try to preach and teach, but as a 52 year old woman, I now know he was right all along.

My Dad “Burnsy” always talked about how great coach Hubie Brown was when we were kids, Hubie was one of many people he admired. Hubie knew how to coach a team, and talent and work ethics were tops on the list of qualities he would look for.   Burnsy also believed, like Hubie, that one of the most common problems in our society is seeing people who have great potential and great talents but are not using them to their fullest. His message I have taken into my own life’s journey as I worked hard to create the business that I wanted for myself, and for that, I truly am thankful.

Burnsy’s gifts and talents are clearly connecting to other people through his genuine personality and gift of gab.  Everyone who meets him loves him and learns immediately about his unique character, which has directly resulted in much success in his line of work. Earning awards over and over for top 5 in sales for his company (which provides oil to farmers throughout the county).

Burnsy has always been a farmer at heart.  He was raised on a farm, and then bought his own dairy farm shortly out of high school, after he married my mom. They raised us four kids on the family farm until they could no longer keep up with the demands of the hard work and the low prices they received for milk. He sold the farm around the time after we all went off to college. They eventually moved into his childhood family farm and continued to work the land.

Burnsy turns 80 years old this year, he still works a rigorous job on the road while also growing and maintaining crops to sell while providing for our mom.  It is still his livelihood and it is what keeps him going.  He is a preacher, a teacher, and a lover of all things related to the weather and preserving farm land.  When someone passes him by, you can bet his hand is always up in the air waving to them. He can grow the sweetest ear of sweet corn better than anyone I know.  If you drop in for a visit, you will leave convinced that cayenne pepper, a tablespoon of manuka honey and apple cider vinegar will heal all of your ailments.  There isn’t a meal where one of these staples are not included on his plate. Over the years, he has hired dozens of young boys teaching them the value of a hard days work, while preaching wise life lessons to them on the side. If you ask any one of them, including my husband, they will tell you the same stories over and over.

Burnsy is a faith filled man, attends church every Sunday morning, is strong in his beliefs and values and isn’t afraid to talk politics, religion or the status of this great Earth God has given us.  Even though he is criticized at times by various people who will attack his beliefs, he continues to educate himself, learn and stands strong in what he believes in.  He can be stubborn in those beliefs but for this I am grateful, because it is indifference that harms us and causes us to fall for just about anything. The words “I love you” have always been a struggle for my dad to say.  I recall when my then 2 year old daughter said “I love you papa”, and he preceded to say, “thank you” in return. We laugh about that now, but I know that his love is real and present, even though hard to deliver from the tongue.

Growing up on a farm has been one of my life’s greatest blessings.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We did not get the chance to travel or go on vacation as kids, but we had so much more available to us than most people did, right in our own back yard.  With over 100 acres as our playground, I knew every bit of that land like the back of my hand by the time I was in high school.  My sister and I recently started to compile all of our childhood farm stories as part of a book we would like to pass down for generations to come.  I have a story at each and every nook of that property stashed away in my mind, and remembering this now as we sit down to put those memories into words has brought us much joy and laughter.

On this father’s day, which happens to be my birthday, I write this tribute to my dad, Burnsy, so that his story will be passed down for generations to come. I am blessed to have been born into this farm family and it’s a perfect day to reflect upon all that God has blessed me with.   I hope that one day my children’s children will remember these stories of “Burnsy”,  their great grandpa and will also “rise to the occasion”.

I love you Burnsy.


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