My uncle began teasing me about it when I was seven. I was riding with him in his combine, watching stalk after stalk of corn slip through the heavy outermost blades, when he said, “You’re going to be one of them starving artists, aren’t you?”
I denied it. Starving? Not me. But his words stuck with me, lingering, as if a suggestion that the dreams I had might be less than ideal.
I come from a family of farmers. Pragmatism is a common trait, as well as straightforward intelligence (contrary to the stereotype, farmers cannot afford to be stupid). Our legacy is a plot of 160 acres that has been in our family for generations; it will be mine and my sister’s someday. Growing up, I anticipated “Corn Day” each summer, which involves the back of a pick-up heaped with green ears and an entourage of relatives - grandparents, aunts, curly-headed toddlers.
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