My Generation

What Was Your Best Decision?

Sit around the kitchen table with a couple who's been together 50 years and you learn a thing or two.

Several years ago, I came up with a handful of questions I like to ask Master Farmers. Through their nomination/application process, they submit virtually every shred of information regarding their farming operations, so I try to use the interview to learn a little bit more about them as a person. This isn't rocket science, believe me, but one of the things I like to ask is, "what's the best decision you ever made?"

And I will say that nearly every time, often without hesitation, the Master Farmer will name his wife. (Only once have I gotten a different answer. The next day, he called me back and said he'd been thinking about it and wanted to change his answer…to his wife.)

Sometimes they get a little choked up. Then I do, too. It's all just so charming, to see people who've been through a lifetime of experiences together, who still love and appreciate each other. Yesterday, I sat around the kitchen table of a couple who've been married 50 years. When I asked him about his best decision, he didn't miss a beat.

"You're sittin' next to her," he said. "She's the best thing that ever happened in my life. I didn't realize it at the time, though."

I asked him why, and he said – very honestly – he figured things would change. That the romance would end. "But it hasn't been that way, not at all," he said. "The attraction's still the same, even more, than it was then."

I joked that that might be too steamy to print in Prairie Farmer! But we shared a good laugh, I felt only slightly uncomfortable and then we went back to talking about grain storage.

That's the dream, though, isn't it? That at 70, you'd still feel the same as you did at 20? My husband and I have only been at this marriage thing for 12 years, but I'd like to think that, given another 38 years, he'd still count our marriage as his best decision. We expend countless words in the magazine every month talking about corn and soybeans and cattle and more, and yet when it comes right down to it, those aren't the decisions that make our lives rich; it's the family we choose to spend it with.

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