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Cheesy Oscars speeches

Joaquin Phoenix talked about dairy cows at the Oscars last night, and since he regrettably didn't use the opportunity to recommend ordering extra cheese on your pizza or mention how good it tastes with an Oreo, I'll do it for him because Miss 4091 is wide-eyed in disbelief: GET THE EXTRA CHEESE ON YOUR PIZZA. (Also, milk and cookies go great together.)

I'm also not going to repeat what he said here, because it's never helpful to repost things that aren't true. But I DO think it's helpful to remind each other of some of the other joys of farming, and specifically the dairy-ing kind, which will probably never make it into an Oscars acceptance speech, even though they definitely should.

If he'd be open to it,  I'd love to introduce Mr. Phoenix to the people that work at the dairy, some of whom had never been around animals or equipment, some of whom never even knew they loved -- and are naturally gifted with -- taking care of animals until they started working in agriculture.

I'd love to invite him over for a meal at our house and let him walk the creaky, wooden floors that four generations of the same farming family have walked or let him look out the window at the farm land the same family has farmed for decades.

I'd love to plop him in a Gator or a Mule and let Chris tool him around the fields, explaining how he knows -- even when it's dark outside -- every spot where the ground rises and falls and dips because he's walked and driven it time and time and time again. 

I'd love to introduce him to our nutritionist and hoof trimmer and veterinarian, men who all have made it their work to ensure the health and well-being of animals that aren't even theirs. 

I'd love to let him see my kids' love of the farm and the outdoors, how they snuggle barn cats and watch newborn calves with wonder and how they talk to the cows as though the cows are even paying attention. (They are not, just to be clear.)

I'd love to give him the space to watch a mama cow give birth, to see firsthand a newborn calf only moments old, to watch how well those babies are cared for, and to see them promptly settle in fresh bedding and take a long winters' nap.

I'd love to see him experience how everybody at the dairy rallies during busy seasons of the year like silage and planting and harvest, how people step up for one another and fill in for one another and have each other's backs, and how everybody celebrates and breathes a sigh of relief and takes huge naps when those times are over.

I'd love to give him a chair to sit and watch a cow chomp on her cud like it's her only job, to watch the rhythmic movement of her mouth and the "don't you have something better to be doing?" look in her eye.

I'd love to have him listen to some of the stories the guys can tell: things they never thought they'd accomplish that they've accomplished at the dairy, problems they never thought they could solve being solved at the dairy, capacity and courage they never thought they'd have being learned at the dairy, and I'd love to have him hear how much they laugh.

I'd love to encourage him to walk a pen of cows, to see how calm and placid and downright content they are . . . and HOW HUGE THEY ARE IN PERSON.

I'd love to introduce him to the men and women who get up in the middle of the night to help calves make their way safely into the world, who are up again before the sun gets up to feed the cows, and who fall asleep after it's gone back down because the cows' well-being comes before their own, to the folks who work the overnight shift when it's dark and quiet at the dairy and the only sounds are cows chewing and shuffling and country music playing in the milk parlor.

Do I think Mr. Phoenix is going to change his mind about farming and the farmers who do the work? Probably not. But would I love for him to see the truth for himself? You bet so.

So when you're done accepting awards and the red carpet is rolled up, Mr. Phoenix, you're always invited to come see and experience what dairy cows and dairy farming and dairy farmers do. Take us up on it. You just may find that your speech at next year's Oscars might be . . . a little different.

PS Don't forget the extra cheese. You won't regret it. 

1 comment:

  1. I hoped you would comment on the oscars speech. I'm so glad you did! Thank you! ;)


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