A WWI veteran with a young family, Ira bought a sixty-acre farm in the rural community of Harlan Michigan just ninety days before the October 1929 stock market crash and its ensuing financial crisis.
That garden would flourish and bloom and grow like none you had ever planted before. You would never have to weed it or re-seed it or cultivate it. There would be butterflies and bugs and worms to delight every child.
Debbie was 7 ¾ years old when her parents bought the farm where I was born and raised. Here’s a memory of her first day as a farm girl in Harlan, Michigan.
“What does a marking pole look like? I have never seen one.” Well, that was a striking reminder that the times they were a-changin’ and marking poles were no more. Probably replaced with an automated device that was hooked to a garden tractor and required no steps at all.
The milkweed and our beautiful monarch butterfly are intricately bound together in one of the most fascinating acts of nature and, indeed, a beautiful mystery. So, what has happened that there is a market for the seeds of this almost homely plant with poisonous leaves, a plant growing wild and really considered a pest to some farmers?
Perhaps those of you who were not around in 1943, are experiencing some of the heaviness of these tragedies in the same way Americans felt during World War Two. We are a resilient people. We are a free people and our resources are being used to fight this coronavirus even as we did in those war years. I wish for each of you a time of peace and reflection during these beautiful days of Christmas. May we look to the year ahead with hope and believe in its promises.