“There’s gotta be a better way” I would imagine might be the phrase mostly commonly said before an invention is created. It’s what my dad said some time around my 3rd grade that led to the invention of a mechanical weed puller for row crops. At this time there were not chemical options for the weeds that came up in the row. A cultivator could be used for weeds between the rows but the only options for the ones in the row were to hire people (his kids) to walk each row and use a hoe to pull each weed.
Our dad saying, “there’s gotta be a better way” not only led to this incredible invention of this machine, it also changed our lives as kids. We went from hoeing weeds to traveling all over the country in a motorhome demonstrating this machine. It became one of the most memorable parts of my childhood. We fished in some of the best lakes in Minnesota, played on the beaches of California, explored Texas and much more. And every demonstration meant a new farm house, with new kids to make friends with and new adventures to be had.
There were times we had money and times we didn’t have money. Our dad was not the typical mold and that came with a lack of consistency with finances. What we got plenty of was a desire for adventure, an openness to change, a love for traveling in a motorhome and strong connection to John Denver. Out of the three 8-tracks we had, that one got played the most, over and over and over and over.
I look at my own life today and realize I consistently seek to find a better way to do things, many times subconsciously. I can thank my dad for that for sure. I can thank the years that have passed for the enjoyment of the process. I used look at “the better way to do things” as a means to make me happier. That need is mostly gone now. I still am always looking for that better way, but I am happy right now while being excited for the better way to develop. Thank you dad for being the free spirit you are and never letting go of looking for a better way.
By the way, this story didn’t end with the introduction of chemicals as an option. It did lay dormant for a while but got resurrected with the organic movement about 7 years ago, give or take. My mom and dad are back out there traveling the country spreading the word of this machine that of course has seen multiple improvement modifications because, “there’s gotta be a better way” right?