Nathan Stacy, M2, Class of 2022

My fiancé’s Grandpa is a man you won’t easily forget. He commands a room. A natural born storyteller, with 80 years of experience spinning yarns, he can paint a vivid picture that completely draws you in, in a heartbeat.

He was spinning one of his yarns to me as we took his 4-wheeler (the Gator) to tour his farm fields. There we were, 8:45 at night, tearing down a dusty dirt road in Western Kansas as the yellows and oranges and reds of the sunset glanced off the hood of the Gator. Corn on our right, straight as an arrow, a deep dark green that reminded me of the lushness of spring. Wheat on our left, half harvested, half that looked thick and comfy and nap-supporting; similar to when you look out the window of an airplane and imagine napping on the clouds. This quarter (160 acres) on the left were his, the quarter on the right was his neighbor’s cousin’s uncle’s…

I asked how he could remember what all land was his. His answer?

“When you pay $300,000 for something, you tend to remember it”

Farming ain’t cheap.

We didn’t wear seatbelts. Seatbelts aren’t a thing on the farm. We rolled down the windows. He maxed that Gator out at 45 MPH, rumbling right down the center of the road. He didn’t look at the road much. You see, you have to make eye contact with someone when you’re telling them a story. I let his stories wash over me, taking in the experience.

We drove around for about an hour. We almost tipped once; I had to catch my dog from tumbling onto the dash. One road was closed, with two signs blocking the way. The Gator was thinner than a car, though, so we sneaked through them. Ends up, there was a reason the road was closed, so we turned and went back.

It was near the end of the ride now. The sun was almost completely hidden on the horizon. We enjoyed some time in silence, sitting, thinking, appreciating.

When we finally arrived back, my dog stayed on the Gator, not wanting the ride to end. I can’t say I blamed him. I agreed with him.

It was farmland.

It was freedom.

It was beautiful.

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