Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On the road with Marge

Last wednesday I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the same conference as my grandmother!  I was excited as well as nervous about this, because hell I had to follow the Honorable Marge Burke for goodness sake!  The first and only women majority whip in the WV House of Delegates, let alone the millions of other prestigious titles she had won, along with at the present time being the Committee Chairman for the WV Farm Service Agency.  What was I going to say that was going to be anymore important or interesting to hear then what she said ?!?  So on tuesday during the 2 hour drive to Lewisburg ( and while Grandma was sleeping in the passenger seat) I started kicking around ideas on what I was going to talk about.  I could talk about.... going to college for Agriculture education....... my experience in the American Junior Angus Associtation and my run for Junior Board ( good times weren't they luke! :p) ............... graduating college to turn around and go on the road showing cattle.  All these were ok ideas and I had a hell of a lot of great stories to go along with them ( a lot of them weren't appropriate to talk about though :p) but I really didn't think they defined me and my role as a woman in agriculture.  We got to Lewisburg and I decided to give up for the night and just sleep on it.  Well no matter how many stars I wished on or Robert pattersons I dreamed about :p the idea still had yet to come to me.  We drove on into beautiful Lindside, WV and walked into this wonderful celebration.  As soon as we walked in, it was Hey Marge! all over, random people I couldn't name and lots of good friends and peers I have memories with since I was a child.  She was Ag superstar in our state and no one could top her, everyone wanted a hug and kiss from Marge and her big bouncy voice rang throughout that gymnasium.  That's when the idea hit me, all the ideas I had come up with to speak about they were great ideas in there own right but they weren't who defined my role as a woman in agriculture it was that big beautiful laugh from a little gray haired lady that defined me, this woman is who shaped my life and plowed the way of guidance to all the great things I have done in my life, she was the one who taught me to judge cattle and help me buy my first angus heifer (twistville's power play lady) to show at the 96 eastern regionals which began my wonderful jr. angus career, she was the one that enrolled me in 4 -h and ffa and instilled in me the desire to teach agriculture.  She planted the seed, tended the plant and made it blossom into all the wonderful things I had done in my life, but she was MY grandmother to all these people in the crowd she was a strong-willed, spunky woman that no one wanted to fight with and everyone loved.  I had a unique view on life because of her, I never thought that it was the man's job to farm, I never knew anything but how to work hard in life.  So that's what i talked about I brought my world to them, the same teachings that Marge instilled to me I tried to bring out in that crowd of women both young and old in Monroe County, WV.  When I was done speaking my grandmother was so proud and the whole ride home we talked just about life.  I will never forget the woman I am, nor the woman that made me, my idol and my grandmother Marge Burke.


  1. What a wonderful story, and wow! What a wonderful grandmother! It is so crucial to any young person to have a positive influence.

  2. This is a great tribute to your grandmother, Burke! I'm sure she's as proud of you as you are of her!