I always enjoy adventure, so it is only fitting that when it came to choosing a mate I settled on the ultimate dairy farmer challenge: I married a city girl.     
     This adventure proved to be much more trying than I could have ever imagined. Over the decades, I have learned that having a city girl on the farm means one must remain constantly vigilant and be prepared to swiftly correct any number of bad habits. Training might be a good word to describe this process except that a certain someone might read this, and I would have to spend the rest of my life existing on cold SpaghettiOs.
     Occasionally, that harsh teacher called experience will demonstrate there are times when a guy would have been better off to keep his big mouth shut.     
     Take what happened one spring day some years ago. My wife was doing laundry when I saw her toss what appeared to be a tattered old grease rag into the trash.
     “What are you doing?” I exclaimed as I began to dig frantically through the contents of the garbage can.     
     “I was just throwing away that tattered old grease rag is all,” she replied blithely.
     I retrieved my prize from the depths of the garbage can and shook off the coffee grounds and egg shell fragments.     
     “Humph. I’ll have you know that this is none other than my lucky underwear,” I replied.
     “Oh, I see,” said my wife. “Is this the same lucky underwear you had on that time you were tossed over the corral fence by the bull?”     
     “No. I had to incinerate that pair, remember? Now, look closely at this underwear and maybe you can learn something. See this fossilized coffee stain?”
     “Yeah,” replied my wife, pretending that she was stifling her gag reflex.
    She often does that sort of thing when I am trying to teach her something. She must think it is funny.     
     “That’s from the time when I was at the sale barn and spilled hot coffee on myself. After all my jumping and flailing was over, I learned that I’d bought a load of feeder pigs real cheap.”  
     “But, didn’t half of them kick the bucket as soon as you got them home?”     
     “Well, yeah. But, I like to remember the part about how I got them for half price. See how the waistband is all stretched out? That’s from the time when I nearly struck it rich.”
     My wife rolled her eyes with such force that they nearly popped out of her head. She seemed somewhat dubious about my claim.
    “This I have to hear,” she said, crossing her arms.
     “One day during corn planting, I’d gotten my 4020 tractor stuck out in the middle of Heppler’s slough. My brother came over with his tractor to pull me out. We hooked all of our chains together, but we were still about a foot short so I ….”    
     “Good grief. Do you really expect me to believe that load of hooey? So, tell me. How did you miss out on this supposed untold wealth?”    
     “I was just getting to that part. After we got my tractor to spring out of the mud, I told my brother that I bet it would be loads of fun to string a bunch of underwear together and tie them to a guy’s ankles and jump off a tall bridge. But, some city guy beat me to it and named it bungee jumping. I have to admit, though, that has a much nicer ring to it than underwear jumping. Now, look at this grease stain. That’s from the time I overhauled the tractor engine all by myself.”     
     “But, didn’t the engine fly apart the first time you started it? And a chunk of cast iron punched a hole in the wall of your shop?”     
     “Yep. And, that would have been my head if I hadn’t stooped to cinch up my underwear.”     
     My wife threw up her hands in disgust.
    “I just don’t understand you farmers. Why is that you insist on hanging onto things that are so obviously worn out and obsolete?”     
     Fortunately, the wedgie my wife gave me seconds later (right after I made an ill-considered quip that I do not care to repeat) was easily removed once I made it to the emergency room. No major surgery was required, and I was able to walk normally again in about a week.     
     I am just glad I was not wearing my lucky underwear.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, S.D. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.