We take scant notice of the Super Bowl here. But we couldn't help but see Chrysler Corp.'s Dodge Ram tribute to farmers that aired during the game.
The 2-minute commercial featured "So, God Made a Farmer," broadcast icon Paul Harvey's 1978 keynote address to the national FFA convention.
Farming has changed a lot in the 35 years since the speech was first delivered. And there's no doubt that Harvey, known for his unabashed nostalgia for a bygone America, cast the farmer of that day in a romantic light.
Still, anyone who wrestles a living off the land will recognize the qualities Harvey described.
Continuing the story of creation where Genesis leaves off, Harvey provides a job description written by Providence.
"And on the eighth day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, 'I need a caretaker!' So, God made a farmer!
"God said I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So, God made a farmer!
"I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait for lunch until his wife is done feeding and visiting with the ladies and telling them to be sure to come back real soon ... and mean it. So, God made a farmer!
"God said, 'I need somebody that can shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And ... who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another 72 hours. So, God made a farmer!
"God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop on midfield and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So, God made a farmer!
"God said, 'I need somebody strong enough to clear trees, heave bales and yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets ... and who will stop his mower for an hour to mend the broken leg of a meadow lark.' So, God made a farmer!
"It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight ... and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed ... and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self-feeder and then finish a hard day's work with a 5-mile drive to church. Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who'd laugh and then sigh ... and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'
"So, God made a farmer!"
God made a farmer. We can all be thankful for that.