Tribute to the American Farmer

For those who have been in a hole for a week, allow me to show the best ad spot I’ve seen in a Super Bowl, and one of the best I’ve ever seen. No blaring music, no screaming salesmen, no dazzling special effects, no shiny-legged dancing girls in four-inch heels–just solid-gold Americana at its finest. Here’s the spot that introduced millions of young Americans to the greatness that was (and always will be) Paul Harvey.

Yes, the piece above is a commercial, and no, I’m not a Dodge guy (Ford is my brand). For an ad, this is uncommonly temperate, not even revealing itself as such until a few seconds at the end. Instead, the spot pays fine and due tribute to farmers through resurrecting one of the masterpiece radio commentaries of the late Paul Harvey — a chap to whom I listened on many a rural radio station while driving toward a future storm. I’ve got multiple memories of hearing “The Rest of the Story” in southwest Oklahoma, western Kansas, eastern Colorado, Nebraska and the Texas Panhandle. “Stand by for news!”

I’ve never been a farmer. I grew up in a city of a million, the inner city to be specific…and didn’t live in anything resembling the countryside until the past decade. Yet, through visits and stories from those who knew, then from years and years of travels across the Great Plains, I’ve found that many of the most real, honest, genuine people, as a whole, are farmers and ranchers. One is a neighbor now, the guy behind me with 80 acres. Another was my father, as a kid (long before he became a rodeo cowboy and truck driver and barber and city-dwelling manual laborer and spawned me via my city-raised mom). Another was an uncle we visited several times via Trailways bus. I never lived on a farm, but I came to honor those who did.

Yes, I’ve always had utmost respect for the resident agricultural professional. A Paul Harvey piece from 1978, that this Harvey fan somehow never heard until last week, finally brought the reason for that respect into focus. You hear it above.

Let the naysayers groan. I don’t care. Despite being an ad, the spot does a fine job of honoring all farmers, past, present and future.

R.I.P. Paul. And God bless the family farmer. “Good day!”


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