Union County Tales
By Dylan Segee
The Pilgrimage of the Farmer
Farmer, a wealthy and distinguished man
Who earned his keep living off the land
He came from the little town of Marshville
A farmer's pilgrimage he wished to fulfill
He was headed to the palace of corn
A place where the vegetable is worn
His journey would end in South Dakota
Which he'd travel to in his new Toyota
He brought with him his gun and knife,
Marshall his son, and Susie his wife
Dressed in a shirt, jeans and boots
He dared not forget his roots
Growing up, he'd learned to be kind
And live each day with others in mind
If only everyone would get past that southern draw
They'd see the lesson he teaches to us all
That in this world full of hatred and craze
A little bit of kindness can go a long ways
And that just as easy as a rock can be hurled
One kind gesture could change the world
So with that our journey begins
As Farmer Joseph leaves his friends.
“Feed Buster twice a day, and the horses once. Make sure the cows stay in the pasture. We’ll be back in a week,” Joseph Jackson was standing at the door of his friend and neighbor Brandon Douglas’ home. It was 3 am, and Brandon had offered to watch the Jackson Ranch while Joseph and his family went to the Corn Palace of Mitchell, South Dakota. “Won’t nothin’ bad happen ‘long as I’m watching,” Brandon promised. With that, Joseph, or Joe, returned to his truck, loaded with family and luggage, and backed out of the drive. It takes 21 hours to get to Mitchell, and Joe was driving it all in one day.
After about 7 hours of riding, The Jackson’s decided it was time for breakfast. As they were entering the City of Nashville, Tennessee, Joe pulled off of I-40 and into a little “mom and pop” restaurant. Excited just to be able stretch their legs, the family took their time walking in. It was at that time when an elderly lady came up asking for help starting her car. Without second guess, regardless of the fact that he was starving, Joe immediately offered help. While Susie and Marshall went in to eat, Joseph Jackson sat trying to figure out what was wrong with the lady’s car. He attempted to start it with jumper cables, but to no avail. He realized he wouldn’t be able to fix it himself here in the parking lot, so he paid for the vehicle to be towed to a local shop, and then proceeded to give the lady a ride home. “You really don’t have to do this for me, sir,” she pleaded. “It’s no problem ma’am, really. I was raised to be kind to others, and today will be no exception,” he answered. She lived only 5 minutes from the restaurant. When Joe returned and walked in, Susie and Marshall had devoured their meal. Susie had ordered him a plate, and so he sat down and ate, while explaining what had happened with the lady. “Son, don’t you want to grow up to be like daddy,” Susie asked 7 year old Marshall. As he nodded his head, Joe let out a smile, proud of the young man his son was well on his way to becoming. Joe paid for the meal, and went across the street to fill up on gas, and then the Jackson’s were back on their way, still 14 hours from their destination.
After about 4 hours, Marshall began to complain of hunger, so Joe began to look for the nearest fast food stop. The McDonald’s in St. Louis, Missouri was the answer. Wanting to again stretch their legs, the family decided to go in and sit down. As they were walking in, a young couple came up, bickering with each other. Marshall held the door for them, saying, “my daddy told me that being kind to people can help their day be better. I hope y’all’s is.” The couple stopped dead in their tracks. They were amazed at what this young boy had said, seeing as most kids are too busy looking at their iPads nowadays. They turned to Joe and thanked him for raising such a kind young child. As they sat to eat, Marshall looked at Joe and said, “you were right dad, being kind changed that couple’s day, they’re not arguing anymore.” Joe found himself once again smiling ear to ear.
Once back on the road, Marshall and Susie both fell asleep. By the time they both woke up around 9pm, they were only 3 hours out. Joe pulled off in Sioux City to grab Wendy’s and use the bathroom. While in the line at Wendy’s, The man in front of the Jackson’s was short 1 dollar on his meal. Embarrassment came across his face as he admitted to being homeless. Immediately, Joe began to dig in his pockets. He pulled out a $20, which he used to finish paying for the meal, and then gave the change to the man. Following Joe’s lead, everyone began to give him money, and Wendy’s gave a $25 gift card to the man. He began to cry at the outpouring of support from random strangers.The Jackson’s got back on the road, and as mid night fell on Mitchell, SD, they were entering the outskirts of town. Joe began to think about the day he had, and looking at his son and wife, he began to tear up as he knew he was blessed with a family who would always take care of those they encountered, the same way he and his parents did growing up. He felt at peace with himself, and with that, was ready to spend a week in the beautiful town and visit all the sights, especially the corn palace, decorated completely out of corn every year.
I chose a farmer because in today’s society, they are too often overlooked, and deemed useless by many. Most people forget that they are the base of our society, as they provide food, as well as cotton which is a common fabric still used heavily today. Blue collar workers in general are typically seen as lesser, yet they are just as important as white collar workers. Whether they’re fixing your car, carrying off your trash, or delivering everything from the car you own to to the toys you bought for your kids, blue collar workers play a key role in America, and a farmer is no exception.
I portrayed Farmer Joe as a wealthy man, who owned a brand new vehicle, and twice he pays for a service for someone else. However, he is only dressed in jeans, boots, and a t-shirt. This symbolizes that although he has money, he is not selfish. He gives his money and time to help others, rather than go and buy expensive items just because he has the funds to do so. This is showing how farmers are typically wealthy (although most don’t realize that), yet you will never find them in an Armani suit, not even on Sunday’s at church. Rather, the farmer insists on using his money to help make sure his or her neighbor is taken care of, an ideal that was once very common, yet has now practically vanished from society.
I used kindness as the value he carries with him because as I said in the prologue, small acts of kindness can change someone’s path forever. It’s a story you hear quite often in the news, a homeless man is given an opportunity and changes who he is for the better. It’s almost a cliché, yet it is something I believe carries a lot of purpose. If we had more acts of kindness in society, I most definitely believe there would be less violence and hatred towards one another. Also, when one person does good, it typically causes a chain reaction, as it did within my tale where Marshall decides to be kind to the couple at McDonalds, as well as when everyone began to help the homeless man was at Wendy’s.Overall, my story reflects a part of society, however not the majority of it. However, that was my point behind it all. I chose something that’s not as common anymore, but still happens, to show that if we had more people like Joseph Jackson, who are willing to help others and doing good things, and raising their children to do good things, then there is still hope in the world to end the violence, discrimination, and overall hatred towards one another based on their social, economic, or racial identifier.