The last time I threw a leg over Ol’ Red was about 10 days ago. Spring had just begun to peek out, with patches of vivid green here and there among the brown dregs of winter. Now the red-buds are in their brief and glorious flower and all the grass is green. Daffodils and tulips have come into their own. The peach trees in Campbell are just beginning to blossom. You could smell the freshly turned earth as the farmers begin their work — the same smell you remember from when you were a kid digging a hole in the back yard. With bright sun, 80 degrees, and little wind, it could not have been a better day for a ride.
Our circle took us on and off Crowley’s Ridge, as we went through Piggott, then Pollard, then on to Fagus, through Oglesville [you’ve got to wonder if the early settlers spent a lot of time whistling at the girls] and into Qulin. Just outside Qulin we stopped for a few minutes to "cool the saddle" , as my Dad used to say. [On long horse-back rides, we’d get off and walk a while to rest the horses…and his hemorrhoids.]
We stopped here because this monument caught my eye. The phrase "American Agriculture Movement" stood out even from the highway. I wondered if they had a made donation to cemetery upkeep, or if the movement was truly buried here. It turns out it was the latter, sort of.
"Walk softly, for dreams lie buried here." You may or may not remember the "Tractorcades" from the seventies and eighties. Farmers today are no less frustrated with high costs of production and low prices. They were more demonstrative in those days, driving tractors to Washington, D.C., and staging demonstrations elsewhere. These four men died in a plane crash on their way to such a demonstration. While they were the victims of engine failure (rather than being shot down by government black helicopters), they wouldn’t have been on the plane had they not been committed to this effort. Their friends and family have memorialized them here as martyrs to the cause.
This was a somber reminder of how precarious our agricultural economy is here. Yet, on the rest of our ride through the Campbell peach orchards and home, we saw the beauty of our countryside in spring. You see why people keep farming. It made for a mighty fine day.