Thoughts of spring

This weekend represents the final month in which winter has its full fangs biting into us who call the heartland our home.

In less than a week the calendar will change to March 1 and for most of us it will mean a time change on March 11 and for all of us the first day of spring will be March 20. It won’t come soon enough but there is some appreciation for what the harshness of winter means. The cold temperatures experienced here in the High Plains likely means bugs will not so easily appear (time will tell of course.)

For farmers and ranchers (except those who are waiting for momma cows to deliver healthy calves) it means a time to turn their attention to getting ready to plant spring crops.

With the price per bushel so low it means producers are looking for ways to be more efficient. I applaud those who have been getting out of their comfort zone to learn about the latest production techniques. At High Plains Journal I have seen first-hand the interest producers have in controlling their expenses while maximizing their profits. In my 30-plus years as a “professional observer” it has been interesting to watch how farmers are able to squeeze down on expenses and remain optimistic as they re-enter the fields.

It is the latest reason why I am thankful for the job I have to hear the stories of optimism.  All of us naturally want to feel secure and positive. Farmers are aptly named the enteral optimists. They have rightfully earned the label.

Speaking of eternal optimists, a tip of the cap to the life of evangelist Billy Graham who died earlier this week at age 99. I had an opportunity to hear him speak once and if you ever have an opportunity to watch one of “revival” style ministry events it was something to behold.

Graham was a rock star in a world that did not want to hear his message about Jesus Christ and yet his message turned non-believers into believers. His friend Johnny Cash was among the superstars who performed in his concerts and gave testimony. Perhaps in another era today’s other icons might have joined him as I could see Vince Gill, Amy Grant and U-2 be featured performers.

His ability to stay above the fray of others, including the mega ministers with mega millions who are quick to defend their fortresses, Graham lived a simple lifestyle. He tried to avoid the issues that divided the country and yet when he entered into the fray it was based on what he believed God wanted him to say. Graham had an ear to the president from Harry Truman to Donald Trump.

Graham, who grew up on a dairy farm, will be missed by the masses on earth but his place in heaven is assured.