from Farm Life
Honoring Adam, the First Farmer
by Ellis Parker Butler
It looks to me as if this year 1926 was going to slip by with nothing at all being done to celebrate one of the most important anniversaries the world has ever had, and that is why I call attention -- especially of the League of Nations and the Secretary of Agriculture -- to this matter here and now. If we did the right thing we would hold this year the whoopingest big International Exposition ever held in the whole world, and we would do it in honor of the man to whom we all owe a whole lot -- Adam.
It seems to have escaped the attention of everyone but myself that Adam died at the age of nine hundred and thirty years. Verse 5, of Chapter V, of the Book of Genesis gives us this information: "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died." The good old man first drew the breath of life -- according to Usher's chronology -- in the year 4004 B. C., and hence he went to his final rest in the year 3074 B. C.
This is figured this way:
Adam breathes first .................. 4004 B.C.
Adam lived, years .................... 930
Adam died ............................ 3074 B.C.
That is simple subtraction such as any child can do, but we must also remember that since we began reckoning the new way, when the year 1 A. D. followed the year 1 B. C., there have elapsed 1926 years. So, in order to know how many years have passed since Adam died we have to add 1926 years to the 3074 years, and thus we discover the tremendously important fact that this is the 5000th anniversary of the death of dear old Adam.
I don't ask you to take my word for this; you can figure it out for yourself. It is a simple matter of addition and is done in this way:
Years B. C. since Adam died 3074
Years A. D. since Adam died 1926
Total years ............... 5000
Now I claim, with all due respect to those who want to celebrate a mere paltry fifty years that the telephone has existed, or a petty little century that has passed since this or that happened, that this anniversary of Adam's death is something really worth getting excited over. There are mighty few people or events that can have a five thousandth anniversary. We get all worked up over some man or event when it has a centennial anniversary, but here is a man whose death has had fifty centennials right in a row. I claim we ought to celebrate Adam's five thousandth anniversary in a noble and fitting manner this year while we have a chance, because he will not have another fifty hundredth year anniversary for five thousand years, and most of us won't be here then.
What I propose is that Congress or the League of Nations or somebody shall vote some money
-- say eighty billion dollars -- and hold the biggest and grandest International County Fair and Exposition ever held, with statues of Adam in butter and all that sort of thing, including brass bands. If not that, I think Congress should at least order the coining of a lot of silver half dollars with a good portrait of Adam on one side and the words "Remember Adam" on the other.
And if the government can't see its way to do that, I think the Postmaster General should stir around and get out a special souvenir postage stamp illustrating some interesting event in Adam's career. I will buy one of the stamps. I suggest that they be one-cent stamps but even if they are two-cent stamps I will buy one. I want to do honor no matter what it costs.
The reason a great big County Fair seems to me the best way to celebrate the five thousandth anniversary of this important event is that Adam was the first farmer. A World-Wide Agricultural, Horticultural and Arboricultural Exposition is the only thing that would properly honor Adam.
There should, of course, be a Machinery Hall, showing the improvement in agricultural implements and machinery since Adam's day, but -- unless it was desired to celebrate Eve at the same time as a sort of compliment to the first farmer's wife -- there would be no need to include sewing machines and vacuum cleaners.
The show should be strictly a farmers' show because Adam seems to have been created especially and particularly to supply a farmer where none was before.
In the fifth verse of the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, where it is explained why the creation of Adam seemed necessary, it is distinctly stated that before Adam "there was not a man to till the ground."
In the fifteenth verse of the same chapter it is stated that Adam was put in the Garden of Eden "to dress it and keep it." It seems to me that Adam was not only the first farmer, but that he was created especially to be a farmer, and there is at least a suggestion that thus the farmer was the crowning perfection of an otherwise excellent world.
Even then, you see, Adam was not, as is commonly supposed, given the Garden of Eden as a mere pleasure park in which to pass the time in idleness. He had the work of dressing and keeping the garden, and was pomonologist and arboriculturalist until the commandment regarding the forbidden tree was broken, and then he had to leave the Garden of Eden and go out to a land of heat, and heavier labor where farming meant that he could eat only after the sweat of toil.
And that is why I think we should have a grand jubilee and hurrah on the five thousandth anniversary of Adam's repose from his labors. He was a man whom we should all esteem. He was the first genuine son of the soil because he was made from it; he was the first tender of orchards and the first dirt farmer. If for no other reason I think that a man who farmed for something like nine hundred and thirty years deserves a celebration of the first class. He earned one.