As I look back to my youth, I find that I grew up with the best lessons of life. That’s because I grew up on a farm, and as I get older, I miss it more and more. Although there was a lot of very hard work, it also had rewards, as well as heartaches. It’s hard to explain how I feel when I see a white-faced cow or a small lamb running in a field. I have a great fondness for horses, especially the Draft horses, which are known as the “Gentle Giants.” And I have a special place in my heart for the dairy animals.

I have to say that seeing all these family farms disappearing makes me sad. I grew up knowing most of the people who owned these farms. They were friends and family to me. After all these years, I still watch the weather forecasts and hope each farmer has a good growing season. What I am saying is that my soul still belongs to the farm.

When I was young, not many younger kids lived nearby. So, I spent a lot of time with my brothers and my sister. I believe that those days being with them made us very close later in life. I have to say that I really miss both of my brothers. They left us far too soon. However, I am very close to my sister. We both chose the same profession by working in law enforcement.

As time passed on the farm, more neighbors built homes and moved in. They had children closer to my age, and we all became fast friends. The farms became our playgrounds. Those friendships have been a lifelong connection that we still have today. We played in the silo, the hay stacks, and the cattle fields. I’ll bet that some went home with a little cow poop on them. More than once we had “cow pie training.” It was a good time that I was able to share with a lot of friends.

Today, I have a very hard time driving by my parents’ old farm house and the fields. The property has been left in such bad repair that it makes me sad. I tried to buy it back from the current owners, but they never contacted me back.

I see the farms today that do a fall theme for family gatherings. It’s amazing that so many large groups of families come back to look at such farms.

It’s too bad that more people have not been raised closer to the farm. Our farm gave me such a respect for life and has helped me get through the tough times. Too bad there is not a program that puts people back on the farm. Maybe we would all respect each other a little more.

To those still farming today, my sincere love and respect to you and your families. May your days be full of peace.

By Loren Pool

Contributing columnist

Loren Pool is a retired Delaware County deputy sheriff.