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Unless you're active in farming, it is hard to realize the isolation a farmer really has to endure -- or enjoy.

For me, I enjoy being alone on a tractor. Of course, the tractor I'm using these days isn't forcing me to sit out in the weather.

No, a modern tractor of today has an enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning and, in addition, there's radio to keep up with political talk.

What a bonus. When I started part-time farming in 1946, it was with an Avery tractor that had you sitting on a steel seat, completely exposed to the elements. Worse, with lower gasoline power you went over ground with one implement -- today we can tow two in tandem.

With only my thoughts and the task of mowing corn residue correctly, I find myself mulling many columns. One that jumped to mind recently was a column I read by a college professor detailing his and his family's ability to pursue and obtain higher education, and the benefits they enjoyed because of it.

Certainly I agree, but his column ignored the fact that those who do not have the talent or access to college can still be productive and successful.

Also, Professor Snooty, you might perform a bit of research and find out just how many under-educated, yet highly-successful, individuals contributed money so that you could have that lofty college position. As I've noted before, many financial supporters of colleges are those who couldn't attend themselves when they were young, yet still achieved financial success and wish to share it with the next generation.

My second thought was of three unemployed young men I met recently.

All were in their late twenties and all had absolutely no definable skills. (An additional commonality was excessive hair growth and skin markings.)

My thinking was that when we give unemployment figures, they should be delineated along skills lines -- not lumped together, as with a skilled tool and die maker being in the same broad category as an individual fit only for "grunt" labor.

Yet another tractor thought is a subject that has me thinking a lot lately, namely Carroll County's money crunch, and the questions it raises.

Number one is that the real reason for our money woes, I think, is the money lost on court cases or spent to avoid them. As we know, one recent case in Mount Airy alone cost about $23.5 million in a settled land purchase price designed to stave off further court action.

My question is: With three commissioners with no higher education and no legal training, shouldn't they have needed advice of legal council to determine if a decision to stop a developer was the legally correct thing to do?

Voters should know if our commissioners made the decisions that resulted in lawsuits on their own -- or did they have legal advice to proceed?

Just a thought. From my perspective, it would seem that without such expenses, Carroll County might be in a better position to suffer through the present crisis.

As a married man, I know there are many questions never answered, and some that we ought never ask:

Did you love anyone more than me?

Were there any marriage proposals prior to mine?

Are you happy you married me?

Would you be better off if you married someone else?

Have you seen my teeth?

Then, of course, there's the real divorce-getter:

What did you do with that money I gave you?


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