Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

At the end of January, I had the opportunity to attend the 23rd Annual AAM Convention and Tractorcade Reunion in Oklahoma City. I had never been to the convention before, consequently I feel that I can state my thoughts about the gathering and AAM freely and without bias. I will admit that I had read UNFORGIVEN, and met Charles Walters, Jr. a few weeks prior to attending the Oklahoma City event.

Other than the fine food and accommodations at the Biltmore, and a terrific Ladies' Lunch at the Macaroni Grill, I was treated to something more: History. I heard (and smelled Mr. Anderson's) not only what the guest speakers had to present, but I listened to members' true stories. ( There may have been a little leg pulling hear and there, also.) Relaying their existence as "pro-active" farmers, members of the AAM taught real history lessons. I do believe that there needs to be a compilation of AAM's stories on bookshelves at the least. A movie would be better, and a quick way for the public to learn more about AAM and its goals. The convention to me was full of modern day folk heroes, and the stories can and will be seen as legends. That view may not be the way AAM members would like to be seen. I would assume an objection to this perception, because it implies 'past' involvement.

From this newcomer's eyes - I still see great pride in AAM. This is a group that should be revered for promoting a better standard for farmers with proven theories, not just rhetoric. This "Movement" reminds us all of the gains once made for not only American farmers, but the all inclusive American economy. Other than the pride associated with past achievements, i.e. the "Tractorcade" - AAM must move forward.

I would like to see a resurgence of visible activity. I would like to be a part of it, as well. I understand that AAM has lost members to the passage of time, and perhaps a few stragglers to negativity and cynicism. The group, as I see it, is now setting aside more turbulent times within the organization. The fences are about mended. It is possible to gain members with a visible presence. Obviously the more members AAM has, the more people there will be to spread (our) goals and working ideas. It often goes without being said, because it IS so obvious, but - with more visibility as a group, the media MUST and WILL take notice that this "Movement" is moving.

Let me ask every member out there. Do you talk about AAM in the coffee shop, at church, of all places the sale barns? I am going to hope that for every person I met at the Oklahoma convention this year, they will have brought at least one person more with them next year. Encourage people to read everything they can about the group, if nothing else, ask your local library to get UNFORGIVEN and RAW MATERIAL ECONOMICS.
I just thought I'd give you my thoughts as a "newcomer". Thanks for letting me get to know all that were in Oklahoma City, I hope to see more of you, more often.

Kathi Mayhew
8133 Audrain Rd. #343
Mexico, Mo. 65265