Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Farmer's Wife

Farmer Brown's wife, Mrs. Brown gets up every morning to make her husband breakfast. Her preparation is calculated and well timed so the minute Farmer Brown walks in the door, he slips out of his muddy boots, hangs his dew kissed jacket on the rack and slides into the chair at the head of the table.

She serves him bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, cut fruit, and fresh orange juice. Every morning for twenty years, she's never missed a day, never been off a minute.

Farmer Brown knows he's a lucky man. Farmer John, on a morning visit to help birth a calf, started to head home after the hard work. Farmer Brown invited him in for some breakfast. He was astounded by the spread and exclaimed that he never gets up each morning to bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, cut fruit and fresh orange juice. He's lucky if there's some cold cereal and milk to pour in a bowl.

"Yes sireee, I'm mighty lucky indeed. Every morning, for the last 20 years she's made bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, cut fruit, and fresh orange juice.

Then the un-forseen day finally arrived. Farmer Brown, his appetite stronger than ever after cow-milking for an extra hour, took off his boots, his perspiration-heavy jacket and sat at the head of the table. He surveyed the spread and almost jolted off the side of his seat.  The table was set alright, but it was only set with bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, waffles, cut fruit, and fresh orange juice.

"Where are the pancakes?" Farmer Brown bellowed.

"I couldn't find the axe," his dutiful wife answered.

"You couldn't find the axe? What does that have to do with missing pancakes?"

Mrs. Brown looked Farmer Brown in the eye, "If you're going to use an excuse, any old excuse will do."

It took me a minute to think through Mrs. Brown's "excuse," but after I "got" it, it totally made sense, and ever since hearing this story, I've been conscious of each instance when I've contemplated backing out of a duty. I remember no pancakes because Mrs. Brown couldn't find her axe and that an excuse, any excuse, can be a breach of integrity, a sin of omission, laziness, or selfishness. 

I told my mom I'd wash the California car. On the morning of my departure, it was raining and certainly I could get away with that legitimate excuse. But then the rain cleared, so I drove the car to the car wash, but it started to rain again. Certainly another legitimate excuse. But I'd said I would wash the car and I didn't want an excuse. Short on time by now, with other tasks that had to be completed, I asked my daughter and her husband to wash the car. They happily complied. I had to ask for help, but in the end, there were no excuses. 
Farmer Brown's wife, Mrs. Brown gets up every morning to make her husband breakfast. Her preparation is calculated and well timed so the minute Farmer Brown walks in the door, he slips out of his muddy boots, hangs his dew kissed jacket on the rack and slides into the chair at the head of the table.

She serves him bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, cut fruit, and fresh orange juice. Every morning for twenty years, she's never missed a day, never been off a minute.

Farmer Brown knows he's a lucky man. Farmer John, on a morning visit to help birth a calf, started to head home after the hard work. Farmer Brown invited him in for some breakfast. He was astounded by the spread and exclaimed that he never gets up each morning to bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, cut fruit and fresh orange juice. He's lucky if there's some cold cereal and milk to pour in a bowl.

"Yes sireee, I'm mighty lucky indeed. Every morning, for the last 20 years she's made bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, cut fruit, and fresh orange juice.

Then the un-forseen day finally arrived. Farmer Brown, his appetite stronger than ever after cow-milking for an extra hour, took off his boots, his perspiration-heavy jacket and sat at the head of the table. He surveyed the spread and almost jolted off the side of his seat.  The table was set alright, but it was only set with bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, waffles, cut fruit, and fresh orange juice.

"Where are the pancakes?" Farmer Brown bellowed.

"I couldn't find the axe," his dutiful wife answered.

"You couldn't find the axe? What does that have to do with missing pancakes?"

Mrs. Brown looked Farmer Brown in the eye, "If you're going to use an excuse, any old excuse will do."

It took me a minute to think through Mrs. Brown's "excuse," but after I "got" it, it totally made sense, and ever since hearing this story, I've been conscious of each instance when I've contemplated backing out of a duty. I remember no pancakes because Mrs. Brown couldn't find her axe and that an excuse, any excuse, can be a breach of integrity, a sin of omission, laziness, or selfishness. 

I told my mom I'd wash the California car. On the morning of my departure, it was raining and certainly I could get away with that legitimate excuse. But then the rain cleared, so I drove the car to the car wash, but it started to rain again. Certainly another legitimate excuse. But I'd said I would wash the car and I didn't want an excuse. Short on time by now, with other tasks that had to be completed, I asked my daughter and her husband to wash the car. They happily complied. I had to ask for help, but in the end, there were no excuses.