Caleb Jones

Who’s gonna fill their shoes?

Who’s gonna fill their shoes?

I was heading south on Interstate 55 when the country music station I tuned in played a familiar song. It was George Jones singing “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” The Possum’s sad ballad was an appropriate song for the event I was attending at the request of...

More than a teacher

More than a teacher

This week my kids got postcards telling them who their teacher would be for the coming school year. It took me right back to my days as a Clarksburg C-2 Bulldog. My teacher for most of my formative years was Nancy Hartman, who had a huge influence on my life. Between...

See you at the state fair

See you at the state fair

For a farm kid, this is the best time of year. The ponds and creeks are the ideal temperature to jump in. There’s a chance the square bales you’re hauling are straw, not alfalfa. But best of all, it’s fair season. When it was fair season at the Jones Farm, that meant...

The quality-of-life business

The quality-of-life business

My wife likes to give me a hard time for being so giddy when holidays come around. In my opinion, holidays were created for celebrating, even if that means putting on my old beat-up Easter Bunny costume or dressing as a leprechaun to hand out gold coins at Max and...

Fast, cheap and good

Fast, cheap and good

About the time my brother, Clayton, graduated high school and went to Mizzou, my dad figured out that the free labor he had been enjoying on the farm was coming to an end. Like every farmer who has had to face this, he made the decision to trade in the square baler...

It’s all for the kids

It’s all for the kids

It was one of those sunny days this past month when I decided my kids should learn how to ride a bike. After a couple of scraped knees, a few tears and one very tired dad, I realized learning to ride a bike takes more than 15 minutes. I gave up and spent the next...

Diapers and Blackouts

Diapers and Blackouts

Not long after our firstborn arrived, I offered to give my wife a few minutes of peace and solitude while I ran an errand with little Max. It was just a quick trip across town, so I scooped up my boy and took off, not even thinking about bringing a diaper bag. I don’t...

No 9-to-5 Job

No 9-to-5 Job

I’m not going to lie to you, a few Fridays back, I snuck out of the office early to spend time with the kids. Our member-owners probably didn’t get a full day’s worth of work out of me — but for some things you just have to make time. I’d like to think I was following...

Trust and Dog Food

Trust and Dog Food

Just after Christmas my dad, son Max and I jumped in my truck and took off down the road to southwest Missouri. Max thought I was off on a never-ending search for parts to keep the tractor running. He was pretty surprised when we picked up a wet-nosed, furry bundle of...

Lunch with an Old Friend

Lunch with an Old Friend

One thing I really like about rural Missouri: Once you get to a certain age, just about anywhere you go outside the city limits you’re likely to run into an old friend. It might be in a coffee shop on Main Street or at the local MFA buying some cattle feed. You rub...

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