THIRD PRIZE LETTER from the "Do You Want Your Daughter to Marry a Farmer," 1922; By Mrs. Cola L. Fountain; Jefferson County, New York
That depends on the farmer. I would wish him to have health, ambition, broadmindedness and vital religion.
Country life needs the assistance of far-seeing men and women. Each community must have a percentage of unselfish, helpful farmers and their wives who are willing to build up the weak places in their community at personal sacrifice.
Farm life has its disadvantages; so has city life. Because the rural school needs attention, the country church needs aid, and the spirit of neighborliness and co-operation is weak in many communities, the country offers a wide field for tireless, tactful service, which will result in a corresponding development of the individuals engaged therein.
Farm and home bureaus, backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, are doing a wonderful work, but they will reach their limit unless the farmers and their wives grasp the opportunities they offer and fit them to their needs. There must be found in every rural group, someone who will stand back of the efforts the Government is making for Agriculture, and help by voice, example and spirit to put them over.
One's words go far in a rural community and one's influence counts. There are dangers threatening the very foundations of American farm life, and in order to decrease them, farmers must put forth sound, sane and well-balanced efforts. They must read, think and act.
Country life is sometimes narrow but it never has to be. There is no need for a woman who can see the sky, the rising and setting sun and the wonders of the soil beneath her feet, to spend undue time in reflecting upon the littlenesses in her neighbor's character. A mind filled with large interests is never narrow and the country furnishes those interests today. If we are narrow in the country we should be just as warped in the city.
Many city conveniences can be installed in farm homes. I have never had any of these myself. I should be delighted if my daughter's home could have them but I hope she has been so reared as to realize that her truest happiness does not depend upon conveniences, but that the soul-satisfying life is the one whose days are filled with well-directed efforts.
If she can marry a farmer with whom she can join heart and effort to make her corner of the community an uplifting example of the bedrock of American Yeomanry, if she and her husband can be relied upon to push forward every measure that will help to break the plaster cast in which the "backbone of the nation" is at present largely encased, then both her father and I shall bid her God-speed.