Skip to main content
Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

The path back to normalcy is paved with little wins

Loretta Petersen’s cheesecake is always a delicious hit at Mason County’s springtime fish fry.
Date Posted: July 14, 2021

I was really trying hard to focus on getting the right amount of potato and macaroni salad scooped into the corners of each meal container at Mason County Farm Bureau’s 2021 springtime fish fry a couple Saturdays ago. But the containers were cold and the wind was cold and I was hustling to keep up with Lyndsay and Nicole, who were masterfully dosing out the fish and fries like the professionals they are.

But nobody’s complained yet and I think most of us were just glad to be baby-stepping together down a path aimed in the general direction of normalcy. Unlike last year it did at least happen — they pulled it off — and it was a welcome return to form.

Of course my homeland is only one of 65 county Farm Bureaus poking hesitant toes back into the bracing waters of what we so long took for granted. Many have been squeezing pent-up, in-person events onto their calendars before we start losing members’ attention as they focus on the new growing season.

Like any best-laid plan, Mason County’s 2021 fish fry was an imperfect affair, but in that charming, close-enough kind of way that all quality people find more than adequate.

I rumpled 80 paper flyers into 80 FB can coozies but we forgot to pass them out to attendees.

First Lady Lyndsay Earl and I put tablecloths on the wrong tables — the cold ones, basically, where nobody ended up sitting.

We rushed to individually package dessert items that arrived in pre-COVID bulk containers. The cookies took it well but the 4x8 sheet of cheesecake Loretta Petersen contributes every year resisted our best attempts at tidy portioning. By the time it got into bowls and those bowls were wrapped, well let’s just say even the kindest judge would’ve dinged us on presentation.

And then there was my salad scooping: erratic at best! My apologies to those who felt shorted on their carb load.

Sad thing about human nature is somehow it’s always easier to nitpick our shortcomings than praise our little victories. Mason County pulled off one of their most beloved local traditions after COVID forced them to ice last year’s event. For a county Farm Bureau that’s been trending upward in recent years, the timing of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic was a real kick to the soft parts.

Per usual, however, loquacious county president Seth Earl had the right attitude.

“Not bad, not bad — I’ll take it,” Seth thought out loud. “Not the big turnout we were hoping for, but we did it.”

You could see the relief on people’s faces and hear it in the tone of their voices. Everyone was warm and gracious, clearly thankful just to be in each other’s company. There’s something very comforting — very everything-is-right-in-the-world — about seeing farmers gathered around the tailgate of a truck, just talking.

And it was heartening to pitch in and witness them doing what farmers always do when they get kicked down: get back up and get back at it.