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Terri Simon

Out-standing in our field

I tend to be a creature of habit. In other words, I seldom stray too far from my basic routine, especially when it comes to the mundane tasks in my world. It’s easier that way, and this no-brainer attitude helps me avoid those little surprises that often turn my world upsidedown.

Here’s an example: Every day, I drive to work using the same route I’ve used for the past 17 years. My favorite part of my ride is when I turn onto a backroad that eventually leads me through the countryside and ultimately takes me to the BCR. On the way home, I just reverse the process.

On these backroads, I seldom see other cars, and quite frankly, it’s a nice calm and quiet ride before I get to the chaos of the newsroom and all the elements of publishing a newspaper.

Some days I crank the CD player to a decibel level that was traditional during my youthful days, tuning out anything and everything except the music and lyrics and allowing me to focus on nothing (except the road). I sing along like nobody’s business, and by the time I get to work, I’m sure there’s a chance I could win “American Idol” or “The Voice.”

On other days, I have no sound at all coming from the car. I ride in silence, thinking about life in general — what I need to do, what I have to do, what I don’t want to do and what I’d like to do. Perhaps it’s my farming heritage, which causes me to study the corn and soybean fields that envelope my vehicle and me on these quiet. Every year, it’s fun for me to check out the crops (much like my grandfather used to do), and mentally attempt to compare them to last year’s bounty. By my standards (what do I know!), this year’s fields look fantastic.

But there’s one particular field that always grabs my attention. It’s a beautiful bean field boasting plants that I know are waist-high and absolutely bursting with bushels and bushels of soon-to-be-picked soybeans. The field is clean — no stray weeds or any obvious problems. Except ... there’s a single stray corn stalk that decided to grow on the edge of the bean field.

OK, I know that’s not unusual. Looking across bean fields in any county in the country, one can easily spot those stray corn stalks amid the beans, which I assume are leftover from last year’s corn crop or a friendly varmint or bird who deposited the corn seed in the bean field. It’s not a big deal, but I have to tell you, my eyes search daily for that single corn stalk — standing tall and proud and beautiful alongside the beans. I don’t mind telling you, a smile always comes to my face as I pass by it — for no other reason than what it represents to me.

You see, sometimes I feel like that lone corn stalk standing in a field, where I really don’t belong. I know that sounds a little nutty (or corny), but I have to believe we all feel that way sometimes. You know what I mean — different, out of step with those around us, unusual — like that tall, lanky corn stalk amidst those beautiful, bushy beans.

Sometimes, I wonder if that single, lone corn stalk longs for the comfort of the cornfield just down the road, but usually, I end up thinking the beans around him are probably jealous of his height and beauty and majestic stature.

We are all different from one another, and even when you feel like the differences separate you from the crowd, maybe we should be proud of those things that make us unique, special, instead of worrying so much about trying to fit in.

I know ... this is all a bit corny, but really ... shouldn’t we be just proud of our ability to be out-standing in our own field, wherever that may be?

Tonica News Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@tonicanews.com.