Jordan Green: The friends we call family

by Jordan Green

In life, there are quite a few things we can’t control.

The weather. The economy. Traffic. The past. Sometimes, the words that fly out of our mouths.

That’s why, over the years, I’ve grown fond of the little friend who is always by my side – or hanging down the front of my face. He’s always there when I need a shoulder to cry on; he usually sticks to the other person’s shirt. Anytime I’m in a picture, he’s surely visible – front and center in the shot. The little friend for whom I have such great affection is the booger. Why? Because I can pick him!

Picking boogers is a choice. In a world where we don’t get to make many choices, it’s important to savor the ones we do get to make. Of all the things we get to choose, the people we call our family members are the most important.

I’m fortunate to have a number of people whom I’m blessed to call my family. I’ve got a hard-working father, a strong mother, a genius of a sister, and grandparents, aunts, and uncles who love me more than I could ever imagine.

And I’ve got a number of other people whom I call my family. We don’t share a bloodline, and we didn’t hatch from the same family tree. But we’re kin just the same. I call them my “adopted” family.

When I think of my adopted family, I think of people like Wheeler and Betty Cobb. Wheeler was the first man who ever taught me how to work on old tractors, a skill that I’ve put to use a lot in my life – probably more so than my bank account would like me to. Wheeler and Betty have always treated me like their own, and they give me a hard time when I need one.

I think of people like Dayle and Janie McGaha. Dayle was the publisher of the Blackwell Journal-Tribune for many a year, and he is a real role-model to me in the field of newspapering. A good talk with Dayle lends lots of wisdom to this youngin’. Janie’s delicious cherry pies and sassy comebacks make every trip to their house worth the visit.

I think of Elmore Bathurst, who taught me how to agree to disagree with others. He’s spent a lot of his life in the political arena, advocating courageously for the rights of farmers and rural Americans. Though some of our other political views don’t always align, we learn things from one another. And we have a great time conversing, by golly!

I think of Jack and Linda Day. Jack gave me a .22 rifle for my 16th birthday, and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. And Linda – one of my many loves – has done some beautiful seamstress work for me. But I don’t go to their house to have buttons sewn on my coat. I go for the laughter and hugs.

I think of Jim and Randa Corbin. My first boss, Jim hired me as an eighth-grader to help mow lawns in the summer. He taught me the value of having a good work ethic, and he always has a great sense of humor. He was in college once, and now that I’m there, he’s got great ideas about activities rowdy college kids should do. Kudos to Randa; she’s a bold woman for putting up with him all day.

And last – but certainly not least – I think of Uncle Bob Lynch. We met at a tractor show in Pawnee three years ago, and since then, we’ve been family. Trips to his farm are filled with fun work on old tractors, good old-fashioned gospel singing, and laughs loud enough to be heard ‘round the world.

Those are just a handful of the people I call my adopted family. I’ve got so many more people in my life who fit into that category, and I know I’ll add to that list as the years go on. I’m excited about that. A family can never be too big. Parents agree with me on this; kids are great tax breaks!

You might be wondering why I chose to write this column today. No, it isn’t very newsy. But it is timely: In three days, I’ll be celebrating my 20th birthday. I know I’ll get some gifts and all, and those will be nice. But they’ll only be so nice for so long.

Today, I’m celebrating the gifts that I’ll have forever: Those special people who make my life happier, and who love me and support me each and every day. They’re always there for me, and I can count on