Farmers are tough. They wake up before the rest of the world, work hard in the dirt, tend to animals and crops, grab a quick bite to eat and continue working late into the night. Farming probably takes up more time than two full-time jobs combined. Those who choose this path need to know how to do a little bit of everything and do it well.
In his 1978 speech to the Future Farmers of America, Paul Harvey described a farmer as "somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, wait to have lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it."
Needless to say, farming prepares you for the struggles that life throws at you, which is why this farm kid was so prepared when they joined the marines. The following is a letter that two parents received after their kid went from working on a farm to basic training in the marines. After reading what they have to say, you'll wonder why the military doesn't just send soldiers to a farm for basic training!
“Dear Ma and Pa:
I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.
I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.
Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much.
We go on "route marches," which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A route march is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.
The Sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and Colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none.
This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughter. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.
Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ol' bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake . I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6″ and 130 pounds and he's 6'8″ and near 300 pounds dry.
Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.
Your loving daughter,