And so we come to the end of 2012, reflecting on what actually happened during these previous 12 months, while looking ahead to what might await us in 2013. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are a good time to pause and do this kind of reminiscing. We should be thankful for what we have, but, more importantly, we need to remember those persons – in our business and personal lives – who have had an impact on us.
I can recall writing a similar column in December of 2004 when my son Jeff was an Army helicopter pilot serving in Afghanistan. Eight years ago I was thrilled that he would be coming home for Christmas for two weeks – a brief break from his overseas duty. Having served two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, Jeff concluded his Army career after seven and a half years of service. Today he’s a successful airline pilot living in Virginia.
Other thoughts are on my mind these days. For example, I am thankful that our cotton farmers across the Belt survived a wild price ride this year and still have faith in this crop even if corn and soybean prices are going off the charts.
I’m also appreciative of having had the opportunity to work with some outstanding Extension cotton specialists who are now moving on to other careers in the private sector. In this regard, I’m thinking of John Kruse of Louisiana and Chris Main of Tennessee. No matter what the topic, John and Chris were there to help answer any question. On the retirement front, I am really sad to see crop physiologist Owen Gwathmey and plant pathologist Melvin Newman of the University of Tennessee Extension Service leaving us. They were fixtures at the Milan No-Till field day each summer, and the 100-degree heat never fazed them.
And how can we forget Louisiana cotton consultant Roger Carter who retired earlier in the fall? He was a friend to our magazine for decades. Now it’s time to visit him in Florida and enjoy that shrimp dinner.
Some of our best friends left us too soon. Long-time Mississippi Extension agronomist George Mullendore, who recently passed away, made significant contributions to the industry for more than three decades. His loud and contagious laugh will be missed. And, finally, how can we describe Arkansas farm broadcaster Stewart Doan, who traveled many a mile with us on the ag media circuit for 27 years? He was a friend who simply loved being around anybody connected to agriculture.
At the end of the day, I’m thankful for all of these persons. I was fortunate to spend time with them, and they won’t be forgotten.
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