Thursday, August 23, 2012
Thanks for Sharing
What a lovely almost-fall-summer-day. The wind is strong enough to restyle my hair; the sun is bright, but temperate. I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude. I was graced with the most lovely, healing weekend and feel compelled to thank everyone who contributed.
Thanks to Bonnie, for squash and tomatoes, and sandwiches and water for the road. Thanks to Carlie for sharing her family. To Andy for sharing honestly the amazing young man he is becoming. To Lars for sharing a life so few will ever see, and the memories I hold in my heart forever. And thanks most of all to Bonnie, for sharing her daughter.
What a weekend. Did I say that yet? The drive after work yielded two hawks, a deer, a spectacular sunset and seven-hundred-eighty-thousand-three-hundred-forty-two fireflies in the fourteen miles between Kansas and Nebraska. The next two days yielded so much more.
We began the next morning with a jeep ride to count and feed cattle, admiring the Snow-on-the-Mountain decorating the landscape.
Then by fording one creek, and climbing one fence, we could cut through the sunflowers to hunt golf balls next to the city course. Not adventurous enough to climb down to the gully, I found only four and then reverted to taking pictures of butterflies.
When we had thirty or so, we headed back, only to notice that Lars left the gate open and 25 head of cattle were congregating near the backyard. Back over gutter bridges, over hill, over dale, and we managed to catch up to them AT the gate.
They know Lars though, and wandered back where they belong. They were happy to take the corn silks and husks and some less-than-optimal watermelon. Then we had a lunch and headed to Hardy so Bonnie could take care of church errands. Lars, Carlie and I had less spiritual tasks – to taste a few grapes from each row of the small vineyard in town. It took up one block, but boasted of at least seven varieties of grape, many already ripe. Carlie and I decided to walk off some calories, while Lars opted to join his friends in the Do Drop Inn. They let themselves in each day, make coffee, solve a couple problems of the world, donate their dollar and lock it back up. I’m not sure how long it’s been closed, but in a small town, that isn’t enough to keep out old friends. Carlie stopped to pick up her dad, catch up with people she hadn’t seen, and then we collected her mother and headed home. After stopping to check on the new farm truck repairs, Lars and I took it home and Bonnie and Carlie stopped at the Pamida for $4 wine and a few necessities. We returned to relax before getting ready for friends and relatives to gather for the evening meal. Nothing is as lovely as sharing a meal with old friends and relatives to celebrate the daughter, back home, from back east.
A few games of speed scrabble and we called it a lovely day.
We woke the next morning to Lars’ story of the neighbor’s charolais (blonde) bull having hopped the fence to beg some grain. So while Carlie chatted with our other aunt, Lars and I took the ’53 Willy’s Jeep to see if we could talk him into going home. It would be a loose interpretation of “we”, as I stayed happily in the jeep and took pictures. Lars waved his hands as if someone might notice, but the bull and his little punk forehead curls were just fine with his new best friends.
Just then, Carlie came jogging up the highway to join us. Bad news for us, the jeep decided his three farm errands were done. We switched out the fuel filter, we tested the fuel pump, it appeared the jeep was done for the day. Again, “we” was a bit of a stretch, but I am very good at holding up the hood and taking pictures. We hiked home, caught a ride with the farmer who owns the Mohawk bull, just in time to take Bonnie’s lunch to the lake.
Oh, what a day for the lake! Just close enough to gale force winds to chase away the crowds. A few waves this side of white caps, but warm water on healing silt clay, and the cousins hung out and chatted shoulder deep at the edge of the swim area. I marveled at the miracle family, created from an amazing couple who adopted an angel. It’s a story all its own that won’t fit here. I was lucky to watch and enjoy. Lunch was sandwiches and watermelon and all the amazing salads for which my family is known. It only took one young man to begin the seed-spitting contest, for everyone to join.
Back home for a nap on the couch, while Carlie helped Lars tow the jeep home. Either the jeep’s nap helped him too, or sitting level unlodged a pebble over the fuel tank intake. Regardless, having been towed home, he started just fine.
That night, we celebrated the Oregon Trail in Oak, with pulled pork sandwiches, a beer garden and more of Carlie’s old friends. Once home, Carlie, Andy and I played some more speed scrabble, then went outside for a most amazing show of the Perseids Meteor shower. Three good ones, taking off across a fourth of the sky, and we opted to walk a lap around the house to look for where the moon and Orion were hiding, then called it a night at 11. One more night of uninterrupted quiet, broken only by a symphony of rain, and it was time for breakfast and the drive home.
After such a healing couple of days, I found myself with the courage to think too much for the seven hour drive. I took a call from a friend, mourning the malicious end to her marriage. That was in contrast to the approaching evening when I was meeting a friend in a loving marriage, who was so much smarter the second time. In two weeks, I would fly to New York to celebrate another strong marriage, ten years young. My familiarity included a handful of marriages that were nurturing and positive, another handful where one spouse had lost twenty years to hope for what would never be.
To celebrate, or to mourn, that was the question. With renewed strength in my heart, I had the courage to look forward. My focus was to thank God for the insight, for the hope, for the stories and for the time. I was so lucky to be related to these amazing people who were willing to share their weekend. I am grateful. I may not celebrate a fifty year anniversary this lifetime, but I know they exist. That is my gift: an appreciation that many may never understand. So I live for now. I love for now. I cherish a weekend on a Nebraska farm.
From two years ago, this year's essay to follow next week. Thanks for reading!!! xxoocj