A Tribute

The weather finally cooled down enough

For me to plant a few bulbs today.

So the first of my Oriental Lilies are now

Happily tucked away for their long winter’s nap.

As I was digging and burying

I got to thinking about what else

The election

And my dad.


Those of you who know me

Likely know that my dad was in politics

But first and foremost he was a farmer.

The 12 years he spent in Washington

Were broken up by trips home every other weekend

To get on his tractor.


There he would empty his head

So that he could think

What he called “the long thoughts”

He’d return to D.C. on Sunday night.

Ready to get back to the business of governing.

He was there in what is now being referred to

As the “Golden Age of the Senate”.

It was a time when members of Congress,

Though partisan,

Worked together for the good of the people.

There was give and take.

Sometimes you would win.

Sometimes you would lose.

There would always be another chance

To get things done.

But even then he still needed to literally touch the ground.

To keep him able to govern.

His father had registered him to vote while he was away at WWII.

So he didn’t exactly pick his party.

Maybe that’s why he was such an advocate

For two strong political parties.

He is often credited with resurrecting his party

In his beloved home state.


A party that is now unrecognizable to him

Were he still alive.

So what is it that made the generation governing

During this “Golden Age” so different.

So willing to stand up for what they believed

And yet able to listen and work with people

Who thought differently than they did.

In my dad’s case it had a lot to do

With how and when he grew up.

During the Depression

In the Dust Bowl.

Then there was his war experience.

In a tank

On Iwo Jima.


But I honestly think the greatest influence

On who he was

And how he governed

Was his connection to the earth.

Those of us who garden and farm and observe nature

Know that we rarely if ever

Get things 100% our way.

And we are never actually in charge.




And just the vicissitudes of nature

Rearrange our garden plans


So we learn to adjust

To compromise

To re-evaluate

And to change directions.

All of this is necessary to be a good gardener.

And in my opinion to be good at governing.

So daddy, I’ll be thinking of you Tuesday night.

And remembering a few nail biting election nights

Of our own.


Recalling how you taught me

To respect and trust the system

To work with not against people

And to love God’s great earth.















Filed under Election, Farmers, Politics, Uncategorized

7 responses to “A Tribute

  1. I don’t recognize your Dad, but that’s okay because I don’t need to know what party affiliation he was attached to. What I want to say is ‘thank you’ for his service in WWII and in Washington, and ‘thank you’ to your family for the sacrifice you all made while he was away working on our behalf. If only we had someone like him on the ballot on Tuesday, our future might be a little brighter. 🙂

    • Thank you Judy. I purposely left out the party affiliation mostly because both parties have changes so much since 1960 when he entered politics that it doesn’t represent who he was. As for the sacrifice his was big but for me the benefits it brought to my life far out way the sacrifice. When he retired after 40 years of public service I was both relieved and sad that we would no longer have his wisdom in office. He was above all else an optimist…so I’m holding on to that this week. I think we’ll be OK and a little wiser.

  2. Mary Carlile

    Oh Gail, What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I remember how much my family revered him and what a wonderful impact he had on our state. I know he’d be so proud of the way you and your husband continue to follow in his footsteps as you serve our community and till the soil. God bless you!

  3. What a wonderful story, I wish we had more people in government with your dads principles.

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