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Column: Embracing the possibilities

Dick Nichols' monthly column Business Beat
Dick Nichols 0020
Dick Nichols, Western Wheel columnist.

Old John Crosby was the finest wheat grower in the county.

His yields were always the largest. But he had no time to read articles in farm journals. “You don’t teach farming out of books,” was the way he put it.

His son, Young John, had other ideas. Inspired by his high school principal, he resolved to study agriculture at the nearby university. Old John was skeptical.

“Next spring we’ll each take a quarter section,” he said as his son went off for his first day of classes. “We’ll both put in some wheat and I’ll show you who knows farming.”

The next summer, Old John was scornful of some of his son’s new ideas, but couldn’t help noticing that the young man did almost no replanting while about 20 per cent of his own seeds had failed to germinate.

Sure enough, in the fall, Old John harvested his usual 72 bushels per acre. But when Young John weighed in, his average was 80!

So it was that on the first day of the next semester, Old John came down to breakfast dressed in his Sunday best and carrying a suitcase. “Where are you going?” Young John asked.

“To the university with you,” he replied.

Old John may have gone to university for the next 10 years for all I know, but the most important day of his education was the day he decided to pack that suitcase. I would have enjoyed being in his class. He had a lot to offer to his professors and fellow students. If they wouldn’t learn his practical experience, I doubt they had much worthwhile to offer in return.

Opening your mind is difficult. You have to try to understand someone else’s point of view, even when you disagree or don’t like it. But embracing new possibilities, opportunities, and suggestions can free your mind in ways you would have never thought possible.

As we move forward after this pandemic, people aren’t going want to completely return to the way life was before. Companies forced by circumstances to resort to teleworking have come to see their employees have, for the most part, been happier and just as productive working from home. Why waste time in rush hour traffic jams every day?

For a community like Okotoks, this will likely mean more people are going to be in town on weekdays, eating lunch in local − rather than city − restaurants, and freeing up the former rush hours for in-town shopping rather than commuting. The opportunities for local entrepreneurs will be exciting, and our quality of life will be even better than it was before.

Things are going to be different when all this is over, and I guess I’ll have to get used to it like Old John Crosby did. To do that I’ll have to have an open mind.