He didn’t tweet, but he was a heck of an advocate.

I ate lunch in a cemetery the other day. I needed some quiet time. And some shade. Cemeteries have a lot of both. Maybe it’s a little weird, eating where a bunch of bodies have been buried. Maybe it seems a little disrespectful, but I did apologize every time I burped.

Death isn’t anything new to me. I was introduced to it at an early age on the ranch, and though I cried oceans of tears over run-over dogs, day-old calves and old-timer cows, I knew death was just how life was.

It can be easy to confuse acceptance of death with callousness towards death. Choosing to acknowledge something is the way it is doesn’t equate being hardened to it. Acceptance of something doesn’t make it easy. It’s just like death for you or me. We’re one step closer to death each day that passes after we’re born. It’s just how it is.

I went to a wake earlier this week for a farmer I knew. He was the standing, breathing, talking definition of an agricultural advocate; one of those unique people you don’t run across every day.

His uniqueness had nothing to do with money or success, social ladders or prizes won. The two things I really admired about him had nothing to do with the measuring sticks thrown around today.

  1. He was exactly who he was 100% of the time. You never had to wonder what he thought or where you stood with him. There were no pretenses, and you were never quite sure what he might say next. He was a fair man, but he never minced words about how things were.
  2. From a tiny rural Idaho town, he had a big impact on agriculture across the nation. He was passionate about agriculture, and he lived out his passion – not just on the farm but all across the U.S. He took the time out of his comfortable, regular routine to advocate for what he believed in; it’s an example I’ve been rolling around in my head the last couple days.

He didn’t tweet, blog, or use Google+, but he was a heck of an advocate. It inspires me to do all that I can with what I have right where I’m at. I think soon, like he did, I’ll find that I can go a whole lot farther and do a whole lot more than I ever dreamed possible.

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