There is this pillow on my bed that reads, “Give thanks,” a simple phrase that holds so much meaning. It sparked something in my exhausted brain that deserved to be written down.
Only a few hours ago, I was sitting in my terminal waiting for my flight back to Nashville after a long weekend in Chicago. Trying to keep my act together after saying goodbye to my dad, which by the way never gets any easier (even when you’re in college), I pulled out my computer to commit this weekend to some sort of document.
Five days ago, I left for Chicago ready to embark on yet another year of adventures with the Farm Aid crew. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Farm Aid, an organization that raises money for farmers all around the nation. Founded by Willie Nelson and Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid has touched thousands of lives and more importantly millions of hearts.
Year after year, I pack my bags during the third weekend of September and prepare myself for the joy, moments of panic and many laughs to come.
Growing up in “the industry” so to speak, I’ve met and worked with many people. I’ve worked with people who have taught me some of the most important lessons one can know, I’ve worked with people who have pushed me to my limit, and most importantly, I’ve worked with people who love what they do despite the craziness of it. And I find each one of those incredible humans returning to Farm Aid every year.
However one wants to phrases it — dad, boss, co-worker or best friend — Rich MacDonald is my partner when we’re at work.
Fast forward to the morning of Sept. 19 at First Merit Bank Pavilion in Chicago. The sun is shining, the air is brisk and crew members all around are moving frantically to make sure the 12-hour show is as successful as it can be. As I pass people, the phrase “Happy Farm Aid” is used loudly and often. Despite the severe weather Chicago had endured only hours before, Farm Aid was ready to share its cause no matter what.
I walk out of my trailer and see my dad’s smiling face. Even after a night of only four hours of sleep, my dad embraced the day and, as I like to say, was busy being superman solving problems for whomever he could.
Each person I walk by is here to help put on this spectacular show with an even more heartwarming cause. No matter where I turn, people are moving quickly, working to have everything ready for when the clock strikes 12 and the show begins.
The best part? You can tell everyone wants to be there. This team that I am so privileged to be a part of loves this cause so much that no amount of rain, wind or mud will stop them from bringing this cause to life for the 30th time and giving farmers across that nation a platform upon which they can speak.
Most people say work takes you away from your family, but how fortunate am I to say that in my case, it is the complete opposite? Work brings me closest to my family. Work has also provided me with an entirely new family that I never imagined having.
Year after year, my dad and I share our stories with each other at the end of this big day. What’s new, what happened that day and how I might solve a problem differently next time. These stories are essential to our relationship as both co-workers and the father-daughter duo we are.
However one wants to phrases it — dad, boss, co-worker or best friend — Rich MacDonald is my partner when we’re at work. He never fails me, never fails to teach me new things, and never forgets to keep pushing me towards my aspirations, whatever they may be.
At the end of this long weekend, I’m reminded to give thanks. Thanks to my friends for picking me up at the airport, thanks to my professors for graciously letting me miss three days of classes, and thanks to Farm Aid. If it weren’t for Farm Aid, I don’t know who would have helped create this one-of-a-kind and unbreakable bond that I share with my dad.
Thank you, Farm Aid.