Denise McConville

Frolics in Farming

Observations on farm life.


A little help can make a big difference

Thursday, August 31, 2023

INDIANOLA, Neb. — During wheat harvest one year, I was driving a wheat-colored Thunderbird to town when a gal pulled out in front of me and totaled our car. Two of our kiddos and I were fine, but it was very hard on our bank account.  

A year or so later was when I had the accident while hauling hogs to town. Our independent insurance agent at the time told Farmer Tom that I would have to go on high-risk insurance. That initially didn’t sound too bad to me as then I would only be allowed to drive one family vehicle, but the rates would be sky-high expensive.

Farmer was all stressed out because I wouldn’t be able to drive trucks, haul trailers or help at anything that required driving or be his beck-and-call girl!

My dad had always insured my driving through State Farm so he asked his agent and after looking at my driving record he told us that we wouldn’t need high risk so we switched all our vehicles to them. I wasn’t going to have the life of Reilly after all dang it, but changing over our insurance coverage meant that I could still help with the farm work, which may well have saved our marriage.

The 1980 and ’90s were a hard financial time for farmers which was mostly under Democratic administrations. (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton). Farmer Tom is one of only a few from his graduating class that didn’t have to sell out. We rented some of our ground from Vernon and Ruth Behnke. Farmer also helped them with work they needed done for several years before they retired. They treated us like family with low rents and much kindness. When they decided to move to town they offered their farm and acreage to us at an incredible price.

Someone close to Tom said it would be the dumbest thing we ever did but we persevered, and they carried our note at a lower interest rate than we could get from the bank.  

Now our farm has probably quadrupled in value, so it was one of the smartest investments we ever made. The kids and I never had to worry if something happened to their dad that we would have a place to live.

The Behnkes raised registered Herefords and were very active in 4-H back in the day. I remember their cattle were very docile and even-tempered.  We raise Angus now and some of them can be a little more protective of their young. As we get older one has to know which cows might try to eat your lunch.  We try to get rid of the ornery ones, but some protectiveness is a good thing around predators.  

The Behnkes were good role models in the community. We miss them very much. That being said, we plan to live on our farm until we die, although no one knows when that time will come. I came across a dead critter on the side of the road that the vultures were making quick work of. I wonder if people ever feel the vultures circling in their lives. I’m hoping when it’s my time to go, it’s quick and painless, but we don’t always get what we want. I can say time flies by much quicker the older we get!  UGH!  

Have a Good One!

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