Ruby Pearl getting to go to Gramma’s.
My Home…My Heart….Always.
Had her treat and it is nap time!
Ruby Pearl getting to go to Gramma’s.
My Home…My Heart….Always.
Had her treat and it is nap time!
November 1988 my eyes first caught sight of this dark haired cowboy in the town neighboring ours. In town for the night with my folks and a friend, this guy was pointed out to me…had never seen him before. All I remember is the black cowboy hat with a silver hat band.
January 1989, I was in this neighboring town at the bar with my brother, socializing and playing pool. Was actually playing fairly well until a good looking guy with a ball cap came in, walked over to the pool table and started talking to Brother…my pool game went downhill fast.
Later, I went to sit at a table with my aunt and asked her if she knew who this good looking guy was. He was her neighbor, Kirk.
Not long after that night Kirk started coming out to the farm every Sunday afternoon to help my brother with whatever farm work he needed help with. Some afternoons they’d come into the house and sit at the kitchen table with the folks. I’d spend the entire day trying to get a look at him from the house windows or stand at the kichen counter and listen to him visit with my family.
I asked in town about this guy. One of my best friends told me to stay away from him, he was the boyfriend of a good friend of hers.
I seriously had such poor self-esteem that I didn’t actually think I could get him, was just wanting to know about him.
One Sunday afternoon Kirk left and came back later, all dressed up. I was standing in the kitchen washing dishes when he walked in, asked where Brother was and then went down to the basement. Kirk came back up and sat down at the table. Talk about major nerves at the time. I’d never talked to this guy other than to tell him Brother was in the basement. I had such a crush on this guy…I was 16 and had never so much as held hands with a guy.
Kirk said he and Brother were going to go to The City for a movie. Then he dropped….”So I hear you have a crush on Chris”. Holy CrapBalls! “Ummmm, no”….maybe a little lie, I liked his friend as well, didn’t want him to know that. “No, I don’t like Chris.”
The only Sunday he missed was the one I knew he would, the day after his junior prom. I was so upset because I knew he was taking HER…at age 16, DEVASTATED!
Then came the end of the school year…his school got out the day before mine. When I got off the bus that last day his pick-up was parked at the house!!!!! No one was home besides him and Little Marty (our not blood brother, who also went to school where Kirk did)…mom was at work, Brother was hauling cattle and dad was at the VA.
The boys were down the hill working on the fence at the sick pen….I HAD to come up with a reason to go down there!
As luck would have it, my Old Man, my horse Charlie, was saddled and tied at the loading chute right next to where the boys were working…BINGO!
I changed and walked down the hill, unsnapped Charlie and was putting his bridel on when HE talked to ME! Kirk started giving me a hard time about whether or not I could actually ride, when I informed him that I definitely could ride, he informed me that he had a horse at home that could get me off…with that I hopped up into the saddle and took off hell for high water, showing him that I could indeed ride! Quaking on the insides the entire time.
My birthday is coming up shortly and it’s gotten me to thinking about my life~choices I’ve made over the years to bring me to the person I’ve become. Thinking about the goals and dreams of the girl who graduated from high school and about the kind of person I was at age 18.
Oh, I know, our childhood is the shortest time of our lives, but it’s also the time that forms who we are up to that point in time~what we believe and forms those hopes and dreams for our future.
As most know~I was born into a multi-generational farm family. When I was only a few months old we moved from the family farm started by my Great Grandpa Peter T. and Great Granda Anna. That was when dad separated from farming with his dad and brothers and began his own operation while still running some cattle with his dad.
We moved from about eight miles east of town to about nine miles west of town. The farm had been owned for a couple generations or so by my Aunt Kate’s family~the widow of my mom’s brother. A handful of so ears ago we learned from an old platt map that my Great-Great Grandma and Grandpa K had a farm homested just over the hill on a part of that land on the north side of the road. Funny how you sometimes find links in the past to things in the present.
I lived on our farm west of town until the day I married at ae 20. College was about a half-hour drive from home, so it didn’t make sense to live at the dorms in the city.
As the youngest by six and seven years~I spent a lot of time entertaining myself as a child. Brother was always doing his own thing and Sister ran with the town kids and had no interest in farm life, she spent most of time in her room reading, in the den on the phone or laying out in the backyard.
I was often out exploring~climbing trees, visiting with the cattle, riding my Old Man Charlie, playing with my Barbies or Strawberry Shortcake dolls and reading and writing stories and dancing wherever I could carry my little tape player.
I loved going places wit dad and helping him with the evening chores and riding in the cab tractor with him whn he was doing field work. I was a daddy’s girl~kinda still am. I was blessed with a dad who enjoyed having us do with him.
Wasn’t close with mom until after Kaet was born. Mom was and still is a traditional farm wife. She was cooking, baking, cleaning, doing laundry and working in the yard all day. She cooked often for a table full at dinner and supper~with hired hands and friends stopping in to visit and staying to eat. During planting and harvest seasons she often hauled meals out to the field. She still enjoys a table full of mouths to feed.
We grew up when parents weren’t expected to entertain their kids, that wasn’t their job, which is how I still see it. Brother played baseball in elementary and middle school for our local small town league, other than that, it was only school activities for us. We weren’t town kids!
I did get to take dance lessons when one of mom’s best friends starting teaching tap lessons out of her basement when I was in the first grade. One lesson a week and I took the bus there. Being there were a few of us farm girls in the same area taking dance on the same day~the farm moms took turns car pooling a month at a time. Anymore running than that and it wouldn’t have happened.
When I was in the 5th grade mom went to work in the city. When I was in the 6th grade Brother graduated from high school and Sister graduated when I was in the 7th grade. After that it was me, mom and dad at home with Brother still farming with dad and moving in and out of the basement for years~depending on whether or not he was seriously dating anyone or not.
I feel it was those years after Sister moved away that I really started forming who I was to become. I wasn’t the baby sister anymore, I was basically an only child.
When I was in the 6th grade I made a new friend in a different clique. My preppy friends didn’t like my new friend and I felt that I needed to decide between the two groups since the two didn’t mesh. Many times over the years I’ve thought I really made the wrong decision. I chose the farm girl and her friends.
Long story short, she was what we would now days call a toxic person. I had no guts to stand up for myself towards her and for years just put up with her treating me like shit when she was in one of her moods, afraid if I unfriended her that I’d have to friends. I was so insecure~still am. I’ve never liked to make waves or to rock the boat. She is the reason I preached to my kids to not put up with any friend that treats you lik crap.
Now that I’ve totally gotten off subject…will continue next time…
This song speaks to me. I can feel the passion for how I grew up when blasting this song. Can’t explain it other than it’s an emotional thing.
I grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa. I sometimes wonder if people who’ve never lived on a working farm, known people who have or visited a working farm just don’t know that it isn’t just a job that one clocks out of at the end of the day or that it’s just the husband’s job. It is a lifestyle, it’s the lifestyle of the entire family unit. Personally I don’t see farming as a job, but as a way of life.
All my growing up years at home my dad was up at 5:00 every morning, seven days a week. He didn’t run and still doesn’t run via alarm clock, but his inner clock. He’d get up and dressed and then he’d make his breakfast, three eggs, three pieces of bacon and three pieces of toast. Many mornings when we were kids he’d be the one to make our breakfast. Mom has never been able to make pancakes to his satisfaction. He’s very proud of his pancake abilities! I assume he makes them the same way his mother did.
First light and he was out feeding the cattle and the horses. Still is. During the frigid winter months he’s always spent part of the morning and part of the late afternoons carrying his two five gallon buckets from the house and filled with hot water from the mudroom, back down to the cattle yards and horse pens. He still does. Always carrying them, not loading the buckets into the back of a pickup or into a gator. Back and forth, back and forth until all the waters are broken open for the livestock to be able to drink.
Dad has only ever run feeder cattle and now roping cattle, but my brother started his cow/calf herd while in high school and at this time of year is a round the clock operation. Calving happens in the dead of winter and round the clock it’s going through the herd and checking and making sure things are okay. Dad has always helped brother with calving season. The cattle are in the fields on stocks, not in the lots.
The best for me was always when a calf would need to come inside for whatever reason. Until a few years ago when dad purchased a small heated shed, the calves would always go into the backroom of the basement. The backroom has a cement floor with a water drain for easy clean up for any mess and also one of the warmest places in the house. Was always a treat to get to sit with the babies!
Before government regulations changed things, we always worked our own cattle without a vet. Can’t do that anymore, which in my opinion is complete bullshit, but to each his own! One of my favorite times of the year. When I was young I ran the back gate, letting cattle into the chute and closing the gate behind. That rough old rope helped contribute to the callouses on my hands. Eventually trimming the crapping ends of the tails off was added to my list, along with the pour on on their backs. Eventually I was allowed to start giving shots, dad always said I was the best shot giver, seldom ever broke or bent a needle.
It drove my grandfather crazy. He was always telling me to go to the house, it was mans work and I didn’t belong down at the chute working cattle. My dad would always tell me I was just fine. Depending on how many cattle we’d gotten in, it was a long, hot and filthy day, but it felt so good when the last head was let out of the chute.
There was sorting cattle with the horses when it was time to separate loads to go to out for slaughter. There was getting cattle in with the horses when the buggers got out and moving from pasture to pasture. My favorite part was when we’d have a renegade or two or three get away from the group and I’d get to play cowboy…my Old Man, Charlie was the best cattle horse, more often than not all I had to do was hold on while he did what he knew needed to be done.
One early morning when cattle got out dad got me up to help since Brother wasn’t home, I wasn’t totally awake when one head took a quick turn and Charlie saw it before I did…he didn’t dump me but came mighty close. Loved the adrenaline rush! Now all I can think of is how much my lower back would kill me if I were to land my ass on the ground. Memories!
Spring was always busy and something I wasn’t allowed to help with. The disking, planting, ect. Dad didn’t even like his dad or Brother helping, he has a way and he just prefers it to be done his way. Recall one time my grandpa came out to HELP, dad wound up having to fix grandpa having disked a section of field that dad had already planted.
Oh, then there was haying season, three times a year, four on a good year. Another thing I wasn’t really allowed to help much with. Hot, dirty and heavy work. We baled mostly small square bales, takes a lot of time to pick all the bales up, stack on the racks and then unload and restack wherever dad chose to stack for the year. Getting help was tough back then, high school and college kids aren’t so much up to baling as in years past. Dad mostly bales the large round bales now.
The only time I ever really was allowed to help was when people would buy bales. Dad would have me help load the pickup and ride along and help unload wherever it was they needed to go.
I would get to help some when it came to cutting silage, I’d get to drive the tractor with the empty wagon.
I won’t go any further, lots of hard work, early mornings and late nights. It takes a village to run a family farm, but it’s a lifestyle that is nothing short of pure love! Wouldn’t have wanted to have grown up any other way.
Another Halloween come and gone, this year we had no trick or treating, no pumpkins…just another day of the year. Didn’t miss not doing the trick or treat thing, it’s something Leo never did like to do, so we haven’t done that around this house in years. Did really miss not getting the pumpkin patch put in this year, next year hopefully we’ll get our asses in gear early enough in the season to get the new garden plot tilled up before the wet season begins. There are few things I enjoy more in life than watching the pumpkins, gourds, ect., come to life as the months creep past.
Had a productive day today, getting my energy level back up as I’m starting to feel better. Did some baking, some laundry…rode out with Bubba to put salt blocks out to the far yards at my folks’ when picking Bubba up after school. It had been years since I’d walked the ol’ feedline bunks…memories came flooding back. Visited with dad and Bubba while they unloaded bags of feed, salt and mineral blocks from dad’s pickup before heading south. Beautiful fall day to just spend some time outside and do some remembering!
Bubba and I did head down to Hornick to The Godfather and Aunt Kathy’s to drop a treat off for Aunt Kathy for Halloween. He usually gets the treats, this time we treated her! When we were in Mitchell, SD at The Corn Palace a couple months ago she picked up some candy corn salt water taffy and loved it and has been after Kirk to stop and get her more on one of his drives through Mitchell for work…he keeps forgetting, so I ordered her some and we got it in the mail today. Not many things are more fun than to do a little something like that for someone you care for and see their eyes light up! It’s the little things in life!
Two of Kirk’s younger cousins were down visiting at their grandparents, so we had supper with the family, showed the one cousin the pictures we took a month ago for his senior pictures, met the girlfriend, Leo played basketball with the other cousin. We tried to get Leo to go trick or treating with Leah, but he wasn’t thinking that sounded like fun. She’s only maybe two years younger than Leo, they are second cousins…told him they could go as cousins…he didn’t get the humor. Funny is something that I’ve not been often described as.
Had a really nice couple hour visit with the aunt and uncle. We talked about the uncle who passed away in May, his headstone was installed last week…about family and how we’ve all changed since Uncle Jay was first diagnosed with cancer a little over a year ago. We laughed, we teared up…had a really great night!
As we went to leave Bubba said he was going to jog the 1/4 mile or so to the highway…had to take a shot and laugh…he’s jogging down a long driveway, between two just harvested cornfields, after dark, on Halloween…less than a mile from The Children of The Corn house! You couldn’t have paid me enough! Got to love him!
Love and Peace!
(Grandpa Raymond, Brother and dad in Montana late 70’s)
I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster a large part of today…started going through pictures last night for my brother’s big surprise 50th birthday party tomorrow. Yes, I said it….50. Doesn’t seem possible that the oldest of us is hitting such a mega milestone. We’re entering a new era, we’re getting old and it kinda sucks the big one!
Oh, my brother and I have had our ups and downs over the years, him being the oldest and me being the youngest. He’s always been mom’s favorite, I’ve always been dad’s…sister would be our aunt’s favorite, okay, she wouldn’t find that as funny as I do, but you know….fact is that sister was born a town girl, she couldn’t wait to get off the farm and the rest of us are have farm blood running through our veins.
When we were little mom said Brother hauled me around everywhere, that was before my memory begins. As far back as I can remember he was doing his thing, we were all the type to do our own thing, we seldom played together. When we did it was usually outside in the tree houses that Brother built. Brother liked outside, farming with dad when mom would let him (allergies and asthma kept him inside until pry high school) and with his calves and building things.
cousin picture back in the 70’s, me, Brother and Sister in the back row
Although we weren’t close when we were little I obviously thought we was pretty cool. When I could join band in the 5th grade I chose the trumpet because that’s what he played, didn’t even take Sister playing the sax into consideration. When it was time for college I chose the same college and studied agriculture as he did. Of course I never told anyone that, who does things like that? Gosh, I remember bawling throughout his high school graduation because that meant he was leaving.
No worries, he’s never left, he’s always been in the area…as a 6th grader I obviously didn’t realize that was an option.
When Brother started his cow/calf herd he started with a Santa Gertrudis bull. To this day I think they are among the most beautiful cattle breed. As a little kid he had a Brahman, to this day I think they are the most beautiful animal and swear someday I will own one!
Brother and his youngest LuLu
We had our issues as I got older. I recall one summer we spent fixing the cattle yards fences, lots of yelling and bellering. It was not a good experience, it was then that I learned we could not work together. I recall a time or two it got ugly and dad gave me the okay to never have to work with him unless someone else was with us.
But over the years we’ve gotten close in a not obvious to most people kind of way. We aren’t a huggy family, we don’t say we love each other, we don’t show emotions around one another, we have little ways that let one another know that we care.
He was the one to call when our Oma passed, he was the to call when our Uncle Gene recently passed, he’s the one that takes the helm during situations like that. Instead of calling to tell our Great Uncle Bob about his nephew passing, Brother made the two hour round trip to personally tell him. He said he would be the one to deliver the bad news. When I was in high school and a family friend who was a few years older than me had killed himself, Brother helped the family get things in order, took donation cans to area business’ to help the family pay for the funeral expenses.
me, Dad, Mom, Brother and Sister
Makes sense then that when it came to my starting to date the guy he brought home as our hired man, Brother tried telling mom what my curfew should be. Makes sense then that when Brother dated a girl I didn’t like and then married, I was none to happy. Makes sense then that I wasn’t happy when she decided she couldn’t be married to a farmer that worked around the clock during haying and harvest season and during calving season. We may be a little over protective of one another, we just don’t make it known to one another.
It’s funny, since he and his ex divorced years ago, every time he’s started dating someone he’s gotten serious about he’s made sure to tell me in an off hand way. He doesn’t do it to Sister, just me. He won’t say that he’s dating someone, he’ll say, oh so and so and I went to supper the other night. It’s subtle, but he’s letting me know. It’s kinda funny in a kinda sweet way.
the twins, Brother and LuLu
Seems impossible that we are now entering a new era, one we’ve always seen our parents in with their siblings. Our parents have entered into the phase of how we always viewed our grandparents. If we could just make time stand still.
Happy 50th Birthday Big Brother and here’s to another 50!
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