Fields of Our Fathers
|My grandpa loved farming, ranching and FISHIN'!|
|Grandpa Archie and my dad on "Doc" the family cow horse.|
“I was 19 when my dad passed away. He left behind 2,000 acres and a young kid to run the place. I had always helped him out on the farm, but never made any real decisions,” Rooney said.
Rooney’s father, Harry, suffered a severe cerebral hemorrhage while changing a flat tire. The hemorrhage led to his eventual death. Fear is the only feeling Rooney could recall upon the death of his father. As a college student, he was left with the responsibility of a 2,000-acre farming operation and a herd of about 100 head of commercial cows. Equipped with only the knowledge from his high school years, he had to make the farm work. A neighbor convinced Rooney’s mother to send him back to finish the semester. A few months from the end of the term, Rooney spent every weekend at home, working in the fields around the clock in order to get the spring planting finished for the farm.
“It was hard, and it was all I could do to keep up with the farm and school. Mom would sometimes have to put on her jeans and hop in the tractor like a man to help out. She hadn’t always. You see in those days women took care of the home; they didn’t work in the fields like the men,” Rooney said.
|4 Generations of Rooney Farmers - Grandpa, Dad, Marguerite (Grandpa's Mom), and my brother, Bret.|
“Dad’s death ended up being a good experience for me. I just never realized it until the farm became successful. Things got better, after I learned how to make it work,” Rooney said.
Later Rooney would experience a tragedy not completely unlike the one that befell his father. In his 70's, he was diagnosed and treated for lung cancer. For a time, he wondered if his success was coming to an end, but Rooney, unlike his father, had the chance to look out his kitchen window to see his son plant the same acres of wheat he had planted for his father 50 years before.
|My Grandpa and I in April of 2007 - He wasn't about to let me go to Prom without his approval|
All my best,