Lessons I Learned On A North Dakota Farm

Image ©2017 Clarence Holm

  • Never dig an outhouse hole deeper than what you can climb out of.
  • The fluffiest cats were always skunks.
  • Grabbing an electric fence in never fun, despite what your older brothers tell you.
  • The facts belong to whichever sibling is telling the story.
  • To judge a man, look into his friends eyes.
  • It is never good to take a bath in the same water as the youngest child.
  • Brakes on a John Deere only work if you can reach them.
  • The best neighbors come when you holler.
  • A man plows straightest when he looks at where he is going.
  • When your hands are full, it is harder to pick a fight.
             – Clarence Holm


Dusty gravel roads
Near swaths of ripening wheat
-Father’s furrowed brow

                              -Clarence Holm

I think of my father, especially when I am trying to solve a problem that requires some patience. When all seems lost, I think back to my days on the farm, remembering the endless chores and the way my father attacked them day after day after day. Dad’s stoic acceptance of running a small farm with old equipment held together with bailing wire and cardboard gaskets, in a weather cycle that didn’t produce enough rain to parch the sandy soil, taught me that even in a losing effort there are battles to be won.

Though our family gardens were doomed to be raided by the neighbor’s pigs and the Massey Harris combine and the old John Deere tractor were unwilling farm servants, dad always found ways to persevere. Even when most sane men would throw in the towel, his stubborn Midwestern will would drive him through the crisis.

I remember lots of happy times too. Noon-time meals with the entire family sitting down to meat and potatoes, covered in gravy served with Mom’s fresh white bread on a plate in the middle of the table. I loved hearing his lunch time dreams of tomorrow, when the next harvest would run over our bins.

I remember him during those times of joy and sadness and wish I could stand near him again to walk in those fields of Dakota. Even though Dad rests in peace, I just wanted to say just one more time, Happy Fathers’ Day dad; I love you this much.

Grandma’s Fire

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge 152 Color/Warmth

When I was young, my grandmother had an old wood burning stove that she would use to heat the kitchen and make meals. She would get up early on cold winter mornings to stir the ashes and rekindle the fire. Once started, it would only take a few minutes for grandma and the fire to bring the house back to life.

Ash colored embers
Stoked deep in smoldering warmth
Gave our morning life

                          -Clarence Holm



R.I.P. Lincoln Town Car

It is with deep regret that this writer reports the passing of the 1998 Lincoln Town Car (Vehicle ID Number 1&%$82W3WY730##31) driven by my daughter, Emily Ann. The car suffered an irreparable seizure when the car was separated from its’ front right wheel assembly while failing to cross a yawning pothole in Minneapolis. The resulting completely independent suspension part was towed along with the rest of the car to a temporary parking facility, awaiting collection by a charitable organization.

Remaining vehicles of the Nationwide (formerly known as Harleysville) policy A101%&874, include a 2005 Ford Ranger and a 2008 Chevy Eclipse which continue to be driven by Clarence and Mary. Emily Ann has decided to leave the Holm Nationwide Auto policy after surviving the untimely demise of her beloved Lincoln and has taken up a separate permanent residence in the city where the car recently passed away (Minneapolis).

The Lincoln Town Car was preceded in death by other former Holm vehicles, including an AMC Jeep and a Chevy Lumina.

While the Lincoln had served well as a Student’s College Vehicle, it is quite fitting that as Emily began her new career with a new employer the Town Car would have been retired.

While sad about the car’s demise, Emily is looking forward to the purchase of her own vehicle and obtaining (and paying for) a separate insurance policy as an adult in a separate residence.

Those wishing to leave a memorial are directed to a new GoFundMe Campaign established to assist Emily in her search for a cheap transportation replacement