Prairie Village News 5/24/16

Faron Wahl, Manager

I was checking the village’s spring wheat crop the other day, as I like to do often, and was impressed with the stand. I pulled one healthy stem, studied it for a while, and took it back to our gift shop.

As I showed it to our staff there, they started teasing me about killing our wheat crop by pulling it up. As we talked more, I got to thinking about how often they’ve been able to get away from their responsibilities primarily on our north end to see our wheat crop on the south. Never, it turns out.

That’s a problem, as I see it. Here we have these three astute gals serving as the face of Prairie Village to all visitors, yet it turns out they are so busy in their part of our world that they’ve never seen our wheat crop. Fact is, they weren’t even sure we grew our own grain, much less what we do with it.

This isn’t a strike against them, mind you. They’re all attentive staff doing their job well. But they work the front lines of an organization founded on a threshing festival, so this void needs filling. I believe deeply in enabling one’s staff to know and understand the large picture.

So a couple of days later I walked into the gift shop and announced “Well ladies, we’re going on a field trip!” A glance around the counter indicated a variety of questions were brewing, all of them clearly tied to a silent assumption that their manager was a few bales short of a stack. The look Haley gave me was as though I had announced I was about to sell the opera house on eBay.

Without pausing to let the skepticism fester, I explained to our college crew where we were truly headed, and noted that at no time during their school years had they likely taken such a bona fide field trip – one in which an actual field is the destination. No argument from them there.

Away we went on a golf cart, due south and east a whole .3 mile to the northern edge of one wheat field. During the chatty two minute trek, they seemed to be reluctantly coming around.

After unloading our “tour bus”, I briefly described the process of binding grain for threshing, and how we plant our own crop in preparation for the Threshing Jamboree. I then pulled one bright green stem and laid it flat on a white sheet of printer paper I had packed along, briefly explaining the numbered leaf stages of wheat, tiller leaves, how the plant will boot and develop a head, and so on.

By the time I was finished, one girl was standing in the wheat while another took her photo, ready for a growth comparison on the next trip I had already promised. A few good questions were launched, and then we packed up our cart and headed back – but only after I witnessed one of them carefully re-planting the recently plucked wheat stem and marking it for checking next time around.

And yes, we are truly going to repeat the field trip throughout the summer, visiting our wheat through most of its growth stages. And during this year’s Jamboree weekend, I don’t care how crazy busy we are, I will find a way to take them on one last field trip for the season, enabling them to witness our own threshing first-hand.

Next week’s trip will be even more fun than the first. I’ll be packing donut holes.