Monday, November 21, 2011

Been setting here thinking of Lyman

Later today we're going to a friend's funeral.  Friend probably isn't an adequate description. Lyman Shawler was a friend, family member, business associate, pillar of the community for many many years.  His health as been failing, and we knew he was mortal just like the rest of us.  But that doesn't make losing him any less painful. His obituary is online on the Prust-Hosch web site

Lyman's Mom and my Grandfather were brother and sister, so he was one of those folks I can't remember not knowing.  When Sue and I returned from college to the farm the first house we lived in was his Mom's house.  I've been trying to remember ... I think we were the first folks outside the Shawler family to live there.

Lyman was always "progressive", but in a different manner than most people. He didn't seem too interested in farming big, but wanted to do a good job with what he had.  Lyman had one of the firsts irrigators in the country, and one of the first center pivots.  My mistress (as my wife came to think of it) was a water drive single tower pivot.  Every 9 hours you could move it.  After over 30 years of service there were parts on the drive system that are no longer available.  So 4 years ago Lyman had the old dual piston water drive replaced with a new style
He commented he would rather watch that system run rather than watch fireworks.
He had other "funny" ideas. For instance, he didn't want his irigator engine setting out in the weather.  So he built a little building for it
 When t go to the place of needing replacement he bought a small carport and put over it
Lyman had other "funny" ideas.  That is why he was a charter member of the West Union Ruritan Club, a community service organization.  And why he served for 16 years as a member of the Mill Creek Conservancy District, helping to build eight flood control structures.
Lyman helped Clark County form the first county wide park district in the state of Illinois, and was the first president of the park board. The Clark County Park District Board worked with the Soil Conservation Service to build Mill Creek Lake and Park .

In 1966 Lyman received the Illinois Soil Conservation Award from the National Wildlife Federation and the Sears Foundation for “outstanding contribution to the wise use and management of the nation’s natural resources.” In 1971, he received the 14th annual “Raindrop” award from the Wabash Valley Association, where he was a charter member.

Lyman was always  planting something.  Trees, turnips, alfalfa, he was always planting something. It was joked (not without reason) Lyman could plant alfalfa in the middle of a blacktop road and it would grow.   He also planted people.  Lyman did a lot more quietly behind the scenes than many folks knew about.

When my son was going to college I know Lyman did his best to encourage him.  There was a little 2 acre patch north of the pond that floods every year. After several years of losing the crop to flooding I told him I wasn't too interested in planting it any more. The next year it dried up early and he had us plant it to soybeans.  I had some seed left over so I donated it to the project.  He paid to have it sprayed.  When we combined it I put it in the truck and took it to the elevator all in his name.  He looked at the ticket and said "just have them make the check out in Jim Bob's name"

I finished this, but had to come back with one more thought.  You can't talk about Lyman very long with Doris coming up. I though I should maybe include a photo of Doris. This is the typical photo of Doris
Just like Lyman, you can't get her to slow down long enough for a photo

I could go on quite a while, but I have to get around. This setting reminiscing isn't getting the work done, and Lyman wouldn't have liked that.

My friend, we will miss you.

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