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
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,
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
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.