Join The Edge of Farming as they chronicle the lives of growers who brave the fiercest conditions. They’ve gone from the Mississippi Delta, north to the Dakotas and west to the wind-blown fields of Texas to see how some of America’s most successful ag professionals take care of business. Read More...
Lauri Harvey Keagle
March 4, 2013
The last time I was in Indianapolis was the summer of 2003. I remember it pretty well because I was still sulking about The Colts being moved there without my permission and not quite over their inglorious departure from my hometown of Baltimore twenty years earlier. My bitterness melted away however in nearby Plainfield at The National Chimney Sweep Training School, the site of my very first Dirty Job. There, I was instructed in the fine art of “flue maintenance,” and engulfed in flames while attempting to extinguish a raging creosote fire from the top of a rickety demonstration platform. Things went downhill after that and by the time I finally left town I was unrecognizable, concealed under a thick layer of ash and soot, with no plans of ever returning to The Crossroads of America.
Of course, in those days I was unrecognizable on a daily basis. Dirty Jobs would not debut for another six months, and I had no reason to think that anyone would watch when it did. I was wrong about that, and I’ve been wrong about a great many things ever since. A few months ago in fact - proving once again that my plans and my life have little in common – I returned to Indianapolis a lot cleaner, and a lot less anonymous, to deliver the keynote address at The 82nd National Convention of The Future Farmers of America (10/21/09).
For those of you who don’t know, The FFA is an organization of 500,000 teenagers, most of who look like they fell off the front of a Wheaties box. Wholesome, polite, and impossibly well mannered, these are the kids you wish you had, diligently pursuing an adolescence of agricultural acumen. Unfortunately, I arrived at their annual convention with the same level of planning and forethought I brought on my last visit, (i.e., none,) and found myself pacing in the wings twenty minutes before my appearance, trying to arrange my thoughts into an “inspirational and G-Rated message.” Luckily, I happened to glance down at the “FFA Briefing Packet,” recently handed to me by one of the organizers, and found some inspiration on page 4. Read More...