As 2023 comes to an end, Progressive Farmer's Cornerstones page in the December issue features an archive photo taken by John McKinney. As far as I'm concerned, the image reflects the time and patience of a photographic saint.
I try to imagine what it was like that day and how hectic it had to be getting a cattle producer dressed up like Santa, a newborn Hereford calf to lay still and puppies to stay in one spot for just that second needed to get it all on film. Yes, film. There were no digital cameras. Mr. McKinney did it the hard way.
I saw that image for the first time earlier this year. It was hanging in an aged frame on the back wall of a small, main street store in Senatobia, Mississippi. It had been the cover picture for The Progressive Farmer's 1964 Christmas issue and the storeowners knew our Santa personally. Chatting about it felt like home.
I left thinking of all the lives shared through the pages of this great magazine and how satisfying it has been for me to help tell those stories and share those memories. Months later, I saw the image again. Our design editor had pulled it from the photographic archives. It was a full-circle moment.
That picture speaks to me of the friendship that has existed between Progressive Farmer and its readers for generations, going back to that first issue in 1886. Over those years, our writers and photographers have been welcomed at farms and ranches across the country. I've been privileged to meet some wonderful people and I've always left those visits feeling I've made new friends. There is something about the mutual love and respect that exists between all of us in agriculture that is truly special.
On a more bittersweet note, seeing that picture again also makes my heart hurt a little.
This issue, December 2023, is my last with the Progressive Farmer staff. After a 34-year career with what I consider to be the best agricultural publication in the world, I am retiring and leaving it to the next generation of talented writers. With that sadness comes the sweetness of knowing that the memories and articles featured in these pages will last for generations to come. They live on, framed and frozen in time, for all of us to remember the past fondly -- and to anticipate the New Year with optimism. Because in agriculture, that's what we do.
Merry Christmas and a blessed 2024!
Victoria G. Myers can be reached at email@example.com
You can see more about Vicki leaving DTN/Progressive Farmer in the Editors' Notebook blog, "Giving Thanks for Great Talent," at https://www.dtnpf.com/….
To see our December Cornerstones quotations on Christmas, check out your December issue of Progressive Farmer magazine or go to https://www.dtnpf.com/….
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