Blanco County News
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Sleeping While the Wind Blows
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 • Posted July 25, 2014 9:22 AM

The following story was popular when I was but a youth. Farmer Smith wanted a boy to work on his farm. He was doing some interviewing of candidates. A thoughtful-looking lad of about sixteen attracted him. The boy was confronted with a rather abrupt question from the gruff old agriculturalist. “What can you do?” The boy swung back at him in the same style, “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

It was no wonder at all that upon receiving such an answer the farmer turned right-about-face to others for the help he needed. Notwithstanding he didn’t particularly like the answer to a civil question that he got from the teenager, there was something about the gray eyes of that fellow that got under his skin. He approached the lad again with the same question, “What did you say you can do?” Again the same answer bounced back at him, “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

The farmer was still disgusted with such an answer and went to look into the faces of other youngsters who might want a job on a farm, but there was something about the answer he got that stuck to him like glue. First thing he knew his feet were carrying him back to meet the steady gaze of those deliberate eyes of the boy with such strange language.

For the third time he thundered at the farm help, “What did you say you could do?” For the third time, too, the farmer got the same answer, “I can sleep when the wind blows.” “Get into the wagon,” said the farmer, “We’ll try you out.”

Now, according to the story we don’t hear very much about our boy and how he was getting along with his new employer for several weeks, but we can guess pretty accurately that his time had been occupied pretty well. Then one night Farmer Smith was awakened about 2:00 a.m. with what might be a cyclone. It seemed that gusts from the north in only a few minutes developed with intensity to threaten the roof over his head. The trees cracked and noises outside turned the farmer’s nervous system upside down.

The speed he used to jump into his trousers was only outdone by the lightning as it broke up the darkness outside. With shoes half-laced he rushed out into the farmyard to see if anything on the premises was still intact, but he would need the services on a wicked night like this of that new boy. He called up the stairs of the attic where the latter slept, but the response was the healthy lung heaving of a healthy lad. He went half way up the stairs and thundered again, but only a snore echoed back. In excitement he went to the boy’s bed and did everything but tear the bed clothes from the youth, but the lad slept on.

With a mixture of desperation and disgust he faced the gale, and out into the farmyard he plunged. He first approached the cow barn. Lo and behold, the milk producers were peacefully chewing their cuds, and the inside of their abode was as snug as a mouse under a haystack. It didn’t take him long to discover how the boy had chinked up the cracks of the cow barn and reestablished the locks and hinges. In the pigpen he found the same tranquility, notwithstanding the forces at work that night.

He turned to the haystack. As he felt about in the darkness, it didn’t take him very long to determine again the preparation of the lad with the gray, steady eyes. Every few feet on that haystack wires had been thrown and weighted on each side. With this construction the alfalfa was peacefully under control and laughing at the elements.

Our farmer friend was stunned with the revelations he had in those few minutes of that cyclone night. He dropped his head. His mental maneuvers shot like lightning to the boy snoring in the attic. Again, the peculiar answer of a few weeks ago slapped him in the face: “I can sleep when the wind blows.” (Marvin O. Ashton, “To Whom It May Concern,” 1964.)

Can we sleep when the wind blows? Are we sufficiently prepared for life’s trials, for the real storms of tragedy that we can not only survive but do so securely and serenely? We can be prepared if we keep our priorities straight and take care of the things of each day as they come. There are those who buckle under pressure, who fall apart when things get rough. They cannot sleep when the wind blows because they have not developed sufficient faith in that Being who is all powerful, who stands by us in good times and bad. It is written, “…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).


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