Old Iron's Funny Man


| June 2002



FC_V4_I11_Jun_2002_07-2.jpg

Floor jack and jackstand.

But then, Roger, a noted humorist, essayist and television personality, has a soft spot in his heart for farm-related nostalgia - one that he has successfully mined in the development of his chosen career.

And it truly was 'chosen.' In 1974, when their daughter was 4, Roger and his wife, Linda, decided to move to the country, leaving Lincoln, Neb., where Roger had been an English and anthropology professor for 18 years at the University of Nebraska.

'I walked away from a full professorship, something a lot of people would kill for, because I wanted my daughter to grow up in rural America,' he says. Along the way, Roger discovered he knew very little about rural America, until he started studying the humor of rural people.

The Welsches bought a tree farm near Dannebrog, in central Nebraska, and Roger set about establishing himself as a humorist and essayist who authored magazine pieces and full-length books, and offered television commentary.

'Now I see that moving here and living here has changed me substantially. What I partially did on the CBS 'Sunday Morning' show was to tell viewers that the people on small farms out here are more interesting than we think they are. They are wise, bright, interesting and fun. I see what it means to be a kid growing up in rural America, and it's something we can't surrender easily.'

Putting The Farm Into The Man

Roger was not a farm boy. He grew up in Lincoln, and only occasionally visited an uncle's farm. The closest he came to rural living was owning a piece of property near Pikes Peak.