Frankie Ballard has a new song out on the country music charts entitled, “It all started with a beer”. There is something innately human about the song that really speaks to me. The truth in the words of the melody pull at my heart and serve as a good reminder of what real life is all about.
There’s been highs and lows,
Fast lane freeways and bumpy roads
Cursed the devil and prayed to heaven,
Lost it all and we rolled some sevens
Been some smiles then there’s been tears,
Been more good than bad years
Ain’t it crazy baby how we got here,
Oh, it all started with a beer
Matt and I met at Dartmouth College at a party in the fall of 1993. The life we started together in New Hampshire and then continued on the farm in Nebraska is wrapped up somewhere in the midst of those words coined by Frankie Ballard. We celebrate 20 years of marriage this June and 19 years on the farm having experienced the joys of love, the trials of farming, and the journey of finding strength in togetherness.
When I look in the mirror today, my eyes do not hold the innocence and optimism of youth. Instead, they carry the knowledge of life — the highs and lows, fast lane freeways and bumpy roads — the recognition that tackling challenges is just part of living. Understanding that, perhaps, the tears and frustrations that come during the lows actually lead to a broader perspective allowing for a fuller life experience.
There is no doubt that the optimistic Ivy League graduate with stars in her eyes that landed in the heart of the Nebraska plains really had no idea of the journey ahead. Sometimes it is hard to remember the girl who showed up at the feed yard that first day shaking with nerves, but determined to learn. The years blur together, but adaptation is a curious process and I have (from time to time) both cursed the devil and prayed to heaven.
The experiences of creating a family combined with the trials of learning to understand cattle and running a business have instilled me with patience and resilience. The uphill battle of bringing positive change to an agricultural industry steeped in both testosterone and tradition taught me that small periods of failure often precede a roll of sevens.
Through the decades, my favorite farmer has shared both my smiles and my tears quietly supporting me so that I would have more good than bad years. His faith in me never waivers and the love that we have nurtured on the journey humbles me. On this Valentine’s Day, it seems quite hard to believe that
It all started with a beer…