Thursday, February 24, 2011

Photo Thursday - The Old Farmer

I have a lot of family members who are really in to studying and learning our family history. It isn't uncommon for piles of photographs and genealogy records to appear soon after desert at our family reunions. It's great; I love to just sit back and listen to all the stories the older generations have to share.

Recently my great uncle sent me this photo of our Uncle Emanual, my great great uncle.
He was born in 1906 and died in 1989. He was one of 10 children, never married and farmed his whole life. He lived with his sister in the house where they had been born and raised. I'm guessing this photo was probably taken during the 1970's, maybe late 60's.

Now I've seen tons of old photos of my family members over the years that probably span a hundred years. But there is something about this photo of Emanual that really grabs me.

Maybe it's his casual pose standing in his cornfield as though it's exactly where he belongs. Maybe it's his weathered face and hands and sweat stained hat that reflect the years of farm work he's accumulated during his lifetime. Maybe it interests me because it's taken in the fall, my favorite season.

I think this photo intrigues me because I can imagine that Emanual had a lot to say....a lot of stories, a lot of opinions, a lot of knowledge to add to life.

I don't think I ever met Emanual but this photo makes me wish I had. I imagine he probably had many fascinating stories to tell. He lived and worked through the Great Depression and two World Wars. I've been in the two story brick farm house where he was raised and I can't imagine 10 children EVER fitting into it.

Of course I'm intrigued by all old farmers....and their stories. I've met my fair share and I don't think I went away from any of them without a chuckle. Old farmers have personalities that I don't think can be matched by any other profession; funny, stubborn, hardworking, insightful.

Yeah, I wish I had known old Emanual. Do you have an old farmer in your life?
(If you are married to one, my God be with you!)


  1. I think that's so neat that your family is really into its history. It's always so interesting hearing stories of people from generations past and how they lived their lives.

    It's crazy to think about how many people they were able to stick in such small places! I think they had less stuff than we do and spent more of their time outside. But still, it's impressive. My grandpa was one out of 11 kids and I don't think the house he grew up in was very large either!

  2. Amazing... I love old photos and they always make me wonder what it was like, who was the photographer, what was going on?
    Great photo and great memories.

  3. He really was a cool guy. As you can tell he was a big man. Just look at his hands in relation to the corn. But he was a very gentle man with a heart of gold.

  4. Great picture - I am always fascinated by my family history and the history of other farmers and ranchers. Their stories are amazing, the hard physical work and true grit and determination they had to survive on the land is truly inspiring.
    I think there is a lot of pride in this photo - proud of his crop, proud to be a farmer, and proud of who he is!

  5. I can't believe how clear this picture is.... and reading your blog... it is amazing and wonderful that we get together for our family reunions and get to sit and talk... it seems as I get older, the more and more I look forward to the times that we can just sit back and listen to the stories. Aunt Mabel, your mom and I are planning to get together to write down some of those many stories and go thru pictures and get them labeled with who they are and stories behind the photos. We do have to realize that at some point we aren't going to have the opportunity to hear these stories first hand so I want to get them down on paper so they can be shared for many more years and our kids kids can have the opportunity to know these stories that as the younger members of the family we sit and listen to.
    On another note.... I can't believe you never met uncle Emanual.... of course he died when I was young... 10 years old, but I remember going to his house when he was getting older and frying green tomatos for him. When you say he was a large man.... The size of his hands were HUGE and I remember being a 10 year old and asking my mom.... Why is his ears sooooo big. There are times now I wish we could have him sitting around the table to tell us stories, but I will always cherish the memories I did get to experience with him.
    Thank you so much for the blog.... we do have a pretty cool family!

  6. Uncle Steve tells the story that either Uncle Dan or Uncle Hank (Emanuels brothers) were the only ones that could pick up a mowboard plow, but Uncle Emanuel could pick it up one handed.


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