Good thoughts keep us going in bad times

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Thoughts of brighter days in the past keep us going in tough times

During these difficult times, when companies and people are divided into essential and nonessential, when we are ordered to stay home, except for grocery runs, when the TV news is bad news, from beginning to end, when some dairy farmers are asked to dump their milk, it is easy to fall into a deep funk.

What I’ve been doing lately is keep up with the news, but then I try to think brighter thoughts. On these warming days in April, my mind goes back to when I was 14 or 15 years old, sitting on our Farmall H tractor pulling a tandem disk and smoothing a 20-acre plot that will become our oat field.

I can smell the newly turned soil, I see birds flitting in the fence rows, and even scare up a rabbit or two as I make my way back and forth across the field, the warm sun on my back and a feeling of accomplishment as the winter-weary field is once more brought alive.

I think of my family and the good times we have together, especially when we gather for a week each year at a lake near Waupaca. Not different from many families these days, one grandson is in San Diego, another in Gunnison, Colorado, one in Boulder, Colorado, one in Denver. A son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in Avon, Colorado, great grandboys and their parents in Minneapolis, two kids, and their spouses live in Madison. What a wonderful time we have when we are all together.

These are some of my thoughts today—they help me keep going when the road ahead is foggy and more than a little frightening.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: During cloudy days, think of those that were sunny.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to