Farm Favorite Friday: Fritz

Guess what day it is…Farm Favorite Friday my friends!

I am so excited for today’s post written by Mardel Robinson. Mardel is one farm woman I’ve grown to look up to. Hey, us farm gals have to stick together!

Anyway, she grew up showing cattle, passed the ropes on to her daughter, and currently serves on the Bureau-LaSalle-Marshall-Putnam Extension Unit Council, and the Princeton Farmers Market Board.

So without further adieu, here is her story:

“This time of year I always think of Fritz. Fritz Westphal. The farmer a mile west of our place, on Ashley Road between Plattville Road and Helmar Road. I don’t remember a time that I didn’t know Fritz, his wife Mary, and their three children.


Mary was my 5th grade teacher in 1963, when President Kennedy was shot. After she told us the horrible news, she led our class in prayer. Glad I grew up then instead of now!

Sometimes I would go play with Fritz and Mary’s younger daughter Sharon, who was pretty nice to me considering she was a few years older. Sharon’s brother Dan and sister Dorothy were too old to care about us.

Fritz and my dad co-owned a baler with Andy and A.J. Our four families spent the summers moving from one farm to the next baling hay and straw, and eating great dinners prepared by the wives. We were all just down-to-earth farm folks who were neighbors by chance, and business partners and close friends by choice.

Yep, Fritz and his family accounted for a lot of my childhood memories at Pine Lawn Farm north of Plattville, Illinois. But there’s one memory in particular that always comes to mind this time of year. Fritz’s left hand. The hand that required Mary to alter his glove. The hand that only had his little finger and maybe a third of his palm; the rest of his palm, his other three fingers, and his thumb had disappeared into the corn picker late one fall afternoon. My dad said Fritz was hurrying to beat the rain.

I know this story is a bit morbid, and it’s certainly not my favorite farm memory, but it’s an important lesson and reminder. PLEASE everyone, be safe this harvest season. No matter how far behind you get in the fields, please take time to eat healthy meals and to rest your body and your mind. Be extra vigilant when operating or repairing machinery, and when moving machinery on the roads. Don’t take short-cuts. And keep tabs on the others in your crew.

Remember my friend Fritz!”

A bit morbid? Yes. But it could have been much worse. So please be safe out there; life is already too short.

Do you have a similar story? How’s your harvest going? We’re currently looking for someone to feature in next week’s Farm Favorite Friday?

Until next time, happy trails!

Categories: Farm Favorite Friday | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Farm Favorite Friday: Fritz

  1. Sheila

    Enjoyed reading about Mardells life on the farm but how horrible for poor Fritz!! I can’t imagine the panic that must have taken place. Farm life can be rough!


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