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Date:10/20/2014 3:57:17 PM
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Tribute to an Old Farmer
We lost one of the "Flannel Shirted Old Men" of our Adoration group. Dick Detaege passed away at the age of 82. Dick would kneel in the back row at St. Pat's through hours of our Catholic Eucharistic Adoration. I was always impressed with his appearance. He was the classic example of the retired farmer.

When I was a boy, my Pa would point out the old farmers. He'd say, "Do you see that old man standing there with his knees bent a little? That's from years of standing on wagons. You have to bend your knees a little to absorb the bouncing of the wagon. Don't matter if it's horse-drawn or a tractor." Dick, even in his 80's, was a trim, fit man, and he was slightly stooped from decades of hard work; and yes, his legs were bent a little at the knees. He would be dressed in a worn red-flannel shirt and work jeans. He was a kindly, brown-skinned, work-worn gentleman. After Adoration, I would talk with him. I loved to tell him about my own piddly gardens and he would always be supportive. I looked up to that man. I had heard that when he was dairy farming, he and his sons would take corn knives and cut by hand the outside two rows of their cornfields so as not to have them crushed and wasted as the mechanical corn-picker was wont to do. No other farmer at that time would have made the time and effort to do that.

During Mass, as I would walk back from Communion, he would smile at me from his seat on that back pew. Now that he's gone and as I reflect, I consider his smile a benediction. Unfortunately, last Sunday I walked back on the other side of church and did not get to see him, though I did notice that he was in church. Kind of funny, that with all the stuff a grown man has to think about as he's sitting in church, I always managed to make a mental note to look for Dick. But that's how much I thought of him.


Two years ago I made it to Adoration while in my Postal blues. I had worked 10 hours on my day off (all on overtime and double-time) and had made it for the last hour of Adoration and Benediction. I told ol' Dick about this as we went to your vehicles in the parking lot and he said to me, "Well, it looks like you did well by your family and The Good Lord." That statement from that man meant the world to me, and still does.


Enjoy your Heavenly reward, Dick Detaege. I had told my family beforehand that I wanted to be like Dick Detaege when I grew old. Now, more than ever, I want the very same thing. --Gary
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