Monday, September 27, 2010


Second Prize Letter from the "Do You Want Your Daughter to Marry a Farmer" booklet.

Dear Mary: Your letter saying that there is nothing that you "want so much as a chance at farm life with David," makes us very happy.

We have had some quiet amusement over Aunt Florence's objections. From her standpoint, they are natural enough. One is born "rural-minded" or one is not. Her views have been distorted by newspaper, magazine, stage and Government statistics proving (?) the drudgery of farm life. Happily you realize its beauty and value.

Life's values are not measured by such standards as ease of living, fashionable clothes and carefully tended hands. Service makes living beautiful. There is no reason why a farm woman should neglect her personal appearance. Your splendid health and David's, with
your fine ideals for home and community life, would make you shine anywhere.

Both of you love to work and are especially adapted to country living. Your tastes are domestic. Your love for animals and gardening will make you in sympathy with David's ventures in crops and cows. You delight to see the sun rise!

Both of you understand that it is the discipline of the farm, the insistence of its duties, the certainties of its penalties and the great fact that you are working with Nature in the things that make the world go, that make the farmer a broad, self-reliant, forceful individual. Strength is refreshed daily because he is dealing with the elemental facts of life.

David's social instincts match yours. Denied the finest lectures, concerts, dramas, your opportunities will be great for helping to secure worthwhile recreation for a large, scattered, needy group. School and church need your help. I believe with Bailey, that "a man cannot be a good farmer unless he is a religious man."

"The Fellowship of the Productive Life," says Carver, "does not offer the insult of a life of ease, or aesthetic enjoyment or emotional ecstasy. It offers instead, the joy of productive achievement of participation in the Kingdom of God." Read it with David.

Do not be disturbed because you cannot start with all of the labor-savers. Things were shabby when we began. Half the fun of having "things" is in working intelligently for them. You will have a fairly convenient house, running water and a good woodpile! Father jokes about my measuring a man by water and wood but there is more in it than appears.

Your small musical talent enriches your life. Rosalie has real talent. I feel as certain that she should not marry a farmer as that you should--since it is to be David. When she considers marriage, I hope that she may find her husband among one of the other honorable professions. Note the "other." There is no more honorable profession than farming--but each for the niche for which he is best fitted to play his part in the world.

Here comes David. I will let him read this. Blessings on you both.--Your loving mother.