Name: Brian Doane
Family: Dad to Xavier, Hadley and Nixon
Profession: Runs a family grain farm with his father, and Seed Dealer with Pioneer Hybrid
Years in Grenfell: 10
What is one area of your life that you're working on improving?
I think it's got to be work/life balance. Traditionally, it's been hard, with everything I'm trying to do, with the stigma around farming in general, how it's work, work, work. All consuming kind of work. It's lots of scheduling. So when it's my time with the kids, I have to commit to that, and just be there. Not have my brain still be at the farm all the time. I have really good staff, a couple full and part time, but it can still be pretty time consuming.
What was your favorite subject in school?
That's an easy one. I like math actually. With farming, there's lots of math involved. Xavier really likes math as well, so we do farming questions. The other day we were at the rink, and Hadley was asking me for money - which is non stop, for treats or whatever. So I gave her a $5 bill and I told her, "This is one bushel of barley. Here you go". Then she thought about it for a while and had to figure it out, like what does that mean Dad? So I had to explain it to her. So ya, I like math. It's a lot different now though in school. Sometimes when Xavier brings things home from school and says, can you help me with this? I don't know if I can.
What are your retirement plans?
Like you always hear, the stigma with the farmers - "Oh, you're never going to retire, you're never going to want to quit, or leave". But I don't actually see myself like that. I feel like this generation has changed a bit since my dad's. He's still there. He won't retire. He's 69 almost. He'll probably just live there as long as he can. But I won't do that. I like travelling. My goal would be to retire in Hawaii. We were there once and I really enjoyed it. I'll never totally leave the farm. It will always be a part of me. But just depending on what the kids want to do, if they want to take over, then I'll still be involved. Xavier at this point could take it or leave it. He likes coming out when he can do something. Like drive a grain cart or something. But if we're combining, well, the combines just drive themselves. He can't even do anything, so he gets bored. Nixon's different though. He likes it. Hadley, I don't really know where she's going to end up. She's got lots of different interests. So ya, I'd say I'd like to travel, winter in a spot where we can enjoy the weather. And then I can come back here and find a combine seat in the fall. I can also see myself being pretty involved with the kids, with my grandkids - I'm assuming I'll have some someday!
What's the best thing about getting older?
Actually, I think for me, the best thing about it is that I don't give a ---- anymore. I've always kind of been like that, and that's why I've said I'm well suited to live in a small town. I don't care what people think or say. But you see what's important and what isn't as you get older. The kids, you put most of your effort into them. We all go through those stages where materialistic things matter, keeping up with the Joneses, but to me - I don't care anymore.
What do you do to spread joy?
What do I do to spread joy? Hmmm.. well, humour. I mean, I like cracking jokes, especially in stressful situations. Ya. Humour is always a good weapon. Just staying positive I guess. Trying to listen to people. In sales, that's really important. I've learned that over the years. When you first start out, you try to talk more than you should. And sometimes that gets you into trouble. Some people just want to talk, and it's important to listen. And to just be passionate about something. I'm passionate about agriculture. I can talk about that until the cows come home. And hockey is obviously a big passion of mine as well. It helps that Xavier is really into it.
If you could travel on a train, plane or boat, what would you choose?
Probably a plane. It's easiest to get to Hawaii that way! My mom and dad actually took a train to B.C. this summer, and they hated it. It had too many stops, delays. I always thought I'd like to take a train to see things, and I would, but I guess that kind of turned me off to that. So I think the plane, just because of the distances that I'd like to go to.
How different was your life a year ago?
Well, I guess we (he and his children's mom) were already separated then. It's just figuring out how to be a single parent I guess. It's really not that hard, it's just figuring out the time. Just getting the kids used to it too. They're resilient. Also now integrating other people into their lives, because we're both dating other people. That was scary at first, but at the end of the day, I think it's healthier for them to see us happy. The more that they see that, I think that will help them have healthier relationships down the road. Being in this situation, it is what it is. I'm not the only one going through it. Until you actually do go through it, you don't realize how many other people are also going through the same thing.
What is your favorite memory with your grandparents?
It would be playing cards, for sure. My dad's parents lived in Moosomin. It would be staying at their house and playing cards. I loved doing that. When I got older, I'd stay in Moosomin at their place, when I had a job there. Just hanging out with them, and listening to my grandpa talk about the war. He was in WWII. He didn't talk about it a lot, but he fought at Dieppe. As a percentage, there weren't many survivors, but he's one of them. He was lucky. He was wounded fairly seriously. So I mean, if he hadn't made it, I wouldn't be here talking to you. I'm really interested in all that history.
What is your biggest fear?
That's a big question.. it's easy though. Losing a child. Of course, that's my biggest fear. We had one year when Xavier got sick. He was around 5. He had an infection around his lungs. It wasn't in his lungs, but a complication of phnemonia or something. They had to drain fluid from around his lungs. It was in November, and he was in the hospital for 10 days. He had a couple surgeries and lots of IVs and stuff, so that was our first exposure to anything like that. That was pretty scary. He wasn't really getting better there for a few days, and they were trying to drain the fluid. He's actually still got some scar tissue on his lungs. I'll never forget that, when we took him in for the xray. Lisa did it, and his one lung was just white. It was totally engulfed in fluid. And now I can't remember if it was the week before, or the week after he got home, but Hadley was in too. Her appendix burst. So they both had to go by ambulance from Grenfell to the city within a month's span. And hers was an emergency appendectomy, because it had already burst. She was in the hospital for awhile too, so we got to know all the staff there.
It's Halloween. Are you the parent that dresses up with your kids?
Absolutely! Ya, I have to dig out my afro wig and my velvet jumpsuit, and my chains. Gold chains. I love dressing up. I never miss it.