Eight generations – encompassing over 300 hundred years, that’s longer than the life of the United States of America. My ancestor, John Chenoweth, was born in this country in Maryland in 1706 and became a farmer. Three hundred years later, my family is still feeding the nation and the world. Three hundred planting seasons and 300 harvesting seasons is a long time.
Farmers are born optimists. When the seed is planted in the soil, we look forward to that day of harvest and the promise of a very bountiful year. Somewhere in that 150-day growing season cold weather, cold rain, hail, thunderstorms, intense sun and dry days threaten the bountiful harvest. Perseverance is the only thing that brings us to harvest season with optimism still in mind. After the harvest, reality sets in and optimism for the coming year knocks on the door of the farmhouse.
Three hundred times John Chenoweths, William Chenoweth, Elias Chenoweth, Bill Chenoweth, Elzie Chenoweth and Dean Chenoweth turned over the soil, dropped seed gently in the soil and covered it with a thought of optimism and prayer for a good growing season. Through the years, the most abundant crop produced was of children to carry on the legacy. Children with a understanding of the work ethic of farming – long days, short nights, through cold rain, intense sun, blowing winds, drought, flood and good fortune.
My heritage is simply to plow through – thick or thin. Just keep turning the soil, planting the seed. I will never see the harvest of all I hope I have planted, but like my ancestors, the hard work continues. Sharpen the plowshares and just plow through.