My New Horse….

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All the years growing up on the family farm with my three brothers, I was second in command.  My  much older brother Stan (by 14 months) relinquished his title of oldest to me whenever it came to house cleaning or babysitting the younger brothers. There fore I assumed the role of first born and from that moment on my brothers referred to me as “Sargent General Sir”. It wasn’t a term of endearment . They were plenty angry at me when I hounded them to help clean the farmhouse before our mom returned from her routine Saturday hairdressers appt.  Back in the day she would tease all her hair straight out, and then take strands thin and about 3 inches wide, spiral them up on the top of her head and secure them in place with hair pins and then she would spray hairspray for 5 minutes to hold them in place. And hold they did….. forever.

Our Dad, had a strange affection towards his farm machiney that as a young person I didn’t get it. I took in his trait, but never took a moment to understand the “bond” he shared with sheet metal.  We were raised on John Deere Tractors and Ford pickup trucks. If there was any other kind of make or model out there, we sure didn’t know about and it surely wasn’t welcome on the farm.  And Dad would call his truck and tractors pet names, like “Old Bessie” or “old Girl” or “Julie” it was just something he would spit out when he was talking and never miss a breath.

Alas, fast forward 32 years. I bought a 200 acre farm, from Farmer Burt and He believed in farming the old way. He slowly converted me to Dodge trucks and Since He was an Oliver and White fan, it slowly became my choice of tractors also. Burt never owned a tractor with a cab. We did once, in 1995 but of course we sold it or traded it or some such thing . I didn’t care. I love the open stations. Love the sun beating down on me, the smell of dirt and diesel in the hair, I prefer mud over makeup….seriously it a nature thing I guess.

The years have gone quickly by and suddenly when I have field work to do, I wait and wait for the sun to come out completely , or the wind to die down. Then I have a small window of work opportunity before the sun moves out and the cool sets in and within a few hours my knees and joints are locked up tight from the cold.  We decided its time to find an affordable cab tractor.

On Monday before Easter, we found one. Much nicer that any we had looked at. By Tueday I finally got ahold of a salesman and by late Tuesday afternoon  it was ours. The sales man ask if I was going to drive down to Ohio and look at it. I said “Nope, I can feel it. Its suppose to have a Cass County Home.  Just bring her home”.

They set up delivery for Good Friday.  They were 90 miles away and called that morning to say they would be here sometime in the afternoon.  I had some of the grandchildren that day.   It was almost 3:30 p.m. and suddenly I could feel it. I am completely serious. I knew it was in the neighborhood. I grabbed my camera and stood by the glass door and within 20 seconds the white semi crept through the pines . I started snapping pictures.

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So, she is here. She is 36 years old and I am so beyond tickled with her. I cannot imagine how fortunate I am to have such a nice tractor. Not just because its a cab tractor but because its a WHITE FIELD BOSS and it so immaculate!!!!   When I think of all the nasty, rusted, wore out tractors we entertained the idea of buying this winter I just shiver. I was willing to make anything work to have a cab. Oh we could  sand it and paint it I had said, it will do…ANYTHING will be better than nothing right.

HERE’S THE MEANT TO BE PART OF THIS STORY……I  LOVE THIS WHITE TRACTOR. From the moment I saw it on the trailer my heart flipped.   I believe clear down to the bottom of my feet that Burt commandeered this tractor from Heaven and helped navigate  it right here to HIS FARM/OUR FARM.

See, how I refer to it as a her. Isn’t it the strangest thing how we pick up some of our parents traits and some 53 years later I cannot explain why. What I can explain is that when I am near the tractor I say odd things like :

“Sorry you are sitting in the rain old girl”

“Sorry, I haven’t been able to take you for a run today old girl”

“Man she’s a nice tractor isn’t she”

“Man, we hit the lottery with her”

Unbeknownst to me,  our four year old grand daughter noticed that a tear or two had fallen from my face when the tractor was unloaded and sitting in the front drive. She looked at me and said “Omie, why are you crying, you don’t like your  new tractor”. I said  “Oh Honey, these are happy tears, but we don’t have to tell anyone the Omie cried a little ok..”

Emma agreed, but per standard operating procedures, she couldn’t wait to BLURT it out to her momma that afternoon. “Mom, Mom, Omie cried when the man brought her tractor, but it was just a little bit. ”   Her little Brother Logan, a boy of few words , because he is that much like his Daddy. Rode in the tractor and never moved his facial expressions much. Acted like he has been in this tractor forever, but when I stop it, he simply says ” Why did you stop Omie, lets go again”…

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And my most favorite tale of the new tractor……..Yesterday I walked past the tractor carrying 5 gallon buckets of feed in my hands I muttered   “Old Julie, you are such a nice tractor”… and Logan who was following behind me slows and rubs his hand over the top of the front time a few times and say “This is a nice tractor”  “Omie’s New Tractor is nice”. Then he picks up his 1 gallon bucket of feed and continues to on.  You just cant write stuff this precious.

 

 

THE DOLL in the dollhouse

Shortly before Christmas 2015, I received an instant message from someone I had never met.  It was an older gal  and she just messaged me out of the blue to tell me that she really enjoyed some of the posts that I placed periodically via facebook . I thanked her of course, and tried to come off as a “normal” person, when in fact at this time of year, the Holidays tend to remind me of what family is and isn’t.

It seems that the older I get the more I can identify with that old adage that family isn’t always about BLOOD, its more about who shows up time and time again when you need it most with a few spare feathers in one hand and some “super friend” glue in the other and is there to piece you back together and tell you that you WILL  fly again soon!!!!   I was in the midst of that sort of day when I received such an message from Miss Rosemary.

I responded in kind, and then she responded again. Then I answered that message, and she answered another one of mine and by the new year January  2016, we were sharing messages that were 8, and 9 paragraphs long. It is true that we will divulge more to a stranger sometimes…..thinking that we will never meet so it sort of becomes a “safe place” to land. We shared, family stories, past hurts, gave encouragement and just seemed to communicate as if we had known one another for years.

Well, finally I believe that Miss Rosemary invited me for coffee. I would normally never go to a strangers home, but I had been inquiring around town and heard several glowing reports about her and her equally….beautifully spirited hubby. So I accepted the invite and over I went one Wednesday morning.

From the moment I crawled out of my truck, she opened her door and  she was a DOLL!. Bright, happy,  beautiful ,  with more talent and kindness in one hand than I have seen in a long time. She invited me into her home as if we had known one another for years. I was PLEASED that her husband was lingering in the next room. A safety guard that anyone as good and kind hearted as she is should have close by.  Half way through our visit, Tom joined us for coffee.  When I write “joined us” I mean He was literally invited. He didn’t just walk in and park his tall lanky frame at the table. Miss Rosemary “invited” him to join us.  If you cannot read between the lines here, let me lay it out plainly.

I adored these two people . Not because they were so warm and receptive to me, not because I felt like I had known them for years, and not even for the fact that I wanted to drop at their feet and ask “Am I too old to be adopted by you two”. No, none of those reasons.

I was mesmerized by the way they treated one another. The MUTUAL LOVE & RESPECT is so completely evident in their marriage of 50 years. She has an idea, she mentions it and off Mr, Tom goes to “help Miss Rosemary” make it a reality.  They laugh with each other, and at each other. They don’t bark or snarl or say crude hurtful things in a joking manner. They are the real deal. What a BLESSING for me to just sit in their presence. I assure you , they are the best kept secret in town.

To date, I have had several wonderful visits with these two fine people. I have had Miss Rosemary at my home, and still I can attest that she is both delightful and inspiring. There is NOTHING that she cannot create, in fact the home in which they live resembles yet another  precious “Little home” they created together.

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Look at this Doll House.  You would have to see it in person to truly appreciate it all to the tiniest detail. I was captivated by it the moment I walked in the door, Back in 1994 I stopped by a wood workers shop and inquired if he could make me a doll house —replica to the home I was renting at the time. I am so glad now that he was too busy to accept the request.

I bought a farm that same year, and 22 years later I am still in the processing of bringing back this old vintage farmhouse built in 1880,  Shortly,  I will begin to make my own doll house to replicate my home today,  and  I pray that Miss Rosemary and Mr, Tom will be available to help me make the inside of my doll house as adorable and warm as they have made theirs.

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There is a DOLL that lives in a DOLLHOUSE, but its a real house and she is a REAL LIVING, BREATHING, LADY….and she has a wonderful, kind husband and together they have created a beautiful life with four children and grandchildren and a town that adores them.  Their story matters to me, their history, how they met, how they raised a family and where, how they arrived at the home they have today. It matters to me, because THEY MATTER TO ME. Because they are a SAFE PLACE for my tired weary sole in this CRAZY, GONE MAD WORLD.  They feel like family and we share no common denominator of BLOOD.  We are connected by HEART.

 

The Easter Bikes

 

IF you have ever watched the classic movie YOURS, MINE & OURS, with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.  Then you will understand that in the middle of the movie when the two parents get married and have 18 children between them and they go to the commissary to buy their weekly  groceries the cashier always  announces over the intercom..    “THE BEARDSLEYS ARE HERE”.  Its a hilarious old movie.

Well, sometime ago shortly after New Years…… Papa and Omie (me) decided that we would like to buy all the grandchildren new bikes for their birthdays. Then we figured out that it sure wouldn’t be much of a birthday present to the grand children born in the late fall and winter. They would wait all year for their bikes and the others would be riding them if they were fortunate enough in the birthing order process to be hatched in the spring.

Then we conjured up that we would buy them all bikes for Easter. Mind you grandbaby number 12 in due in 2 months.  It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to do the math here and possible incur a small stroke. So we decided to buy a few a time. It was a good plan. It just didn’t materialize as we had hoped it would.

So last night, with only a week until Easter I figured I better go get at least half the bikes before the pickings are too slim. After all, Rockefeller is not my last name and our  money doesn’t grow on trees. So off to the local Walmart I hurried.  Picked up a few groceries and then to the bike section.  What I CARE to know about bikes is that they  have 2 wheels and brakes, oh and a chain is good. Seriously, you could never impress me with the brand of bike you own. It is just not important to me. Never has been, I was raised on a farm, and Dad would find our bikes at the local scrap yard, Red and Rusty were in and we were ecstatic to have  something to navigate through the sandy farm drive or go up the hill to the barn.  Not allowed to ride on the gravel road, our paths were quite limited to say the least. Hills and grass, Hills and grass.

We picked through the bikes and found 7 that would work for the oldest seven grandchildren. This was not a small process at all, simply because Walmart doesn’t have the prices on the bikes themselves. So we constantly  had to take a bike off the rack and walk it over to the scanner….price checking.

Next, came the BALANCING ACT. We loaded 2  of the 18″ bikes on to the top of our cart taking great pains NOT to crush any of the groceries. Then we had a couple Walmart employees  each walking a few through the isles and up to the check out area.

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What was  hilarious to me and perhaps the funniest part of this endeavor was walking the parade of bikes toward the front of the store. People were stepping back and watching us, talking and pointing, kids were watching us with their eyes all lite up like little Christmas trees. Several older people would smile and nod and whisper, or say “There’s going to be some really happy kids somewhere”. I would explain that it was for the grandchildren’s Easter and they would just beam. One Gentlemen said  to me at the check out “Do you have 7 children. I explained that they were for the grand kids  and that I had almost 12, but was buying 10 and needed 3 more. He nudged me with his arm and said “You are a special Grandma and you are going to make a memory for them , they will carry for always’.  “I sure hope so”, was my response.

It was a delight for our old hearts to watch the thrill that folks got just from seeing that many new bikes head out of a store all  at once. We really are still a large country but have small town values. For the most part, people are happy to see other people happy. For me, it was sweet to see that folks really care about the small things in life, what really matters at the end of your day, week, year, life.

We will probably NEVER AGAIN, buy that many bikes at one time. I think we did do it once for our Own  3 children back in 1988. We did this for the grand children, to BLESS THEM, not  to impress the outside  world. We did it to show them how much Omie and Papa love them and we hope it creates a memory in their hearts and minds that will last for many years to come, when we are no longer here.

We all only live once, it matters not if we are talking about bikes, or jobs, or dreams.  What is important is that we seek out that which makes us happy, and we remember that  “TO MUCH THAT IS GIVEN…MUCH IS EXPECTED.

22 years ago, Burt sold me this farm. I still pay on it today and will be mortgaged till I die, but He didn’t just sell me a dream, He GAVE US A LIFE. A new beautiful family bonding life.  Because He chose PEOPLE OVER PROFIT our children had a wonderful life here on this farm they would have otherwise only visited on occasion. Because Burt wanted the family farm to continue living , He sold it to someone that would strive to keep it alive and going and He didn’t sell out to the highest Mega farmer Bidder.

I am forever grateful, and more and more each day,  for the gift of His love and unselfishness.   I hope  that I am paying forward in all the ways that I can,  the kindness that  Burt so willingly relinquished.

UPDATE 3/31/2016

Easter Sunday, we lined all the grandchildren up in front of the garage after lunch. ( the man in the blue shirt has all the power here, that Papa.) When He hit that button and the garage door opened the  screams were PRICELESS…..but on the videos our girls took, you could hear lots and lots of ” thank you’s” and that was precious to us.

Then, the chaos began. Kids were riding into one another, there were adjustments to make to seats, and training wheels, and brakes to learn to use. The little ones in their attempts to ride would ALWAYS be in the way of the older kids who wanted to RIDE FAST.  It was in the famous words of Carey Grant “Good Stuff.

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JOEY FEEK sang…PRECIOUS LORD,LEAD ME HOME

20160308_190754 20160309_074250 20160309_074328 20160309_074428Anyone that knows me, would know that it is NOT like me at all to steer clear of anything that touches my heart. The death of Joey Martin-Feek on March 4, 2016 was more than I could deal with.

Here IS a beautiful, talented, young Christian Singer, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister. She never hesitated to give ALL THE GLORY to GOD. For everything in her life, and she strived to be a fine example to all. Yet the Lord saw fit to call her home. She  was so young, too young. She left behind a baby girl, (Indiana Boon) a precious reminder to  everyone that she was here, and a part of her will now remain.

I KNOW the Lord could have kept Indiana in Heaven, but He chose to share her with Joey for 2 years, He chose Rory and Joey for that little Down Syndrome Girl. The LORD KNOWS what HE is doing, He knew the future, He knew the outcome of a terrible cancer diagnosis  back in 2014.

Still, I have had a very difficult time with her death. I have followed her and her career since the very beginning. I have identified with her and Rory on more than a few points of life and I so much wanted her to be healed. At least for a couple of years.  So many folks that walk this earth are just full of  hate and anger towards  others .

There is nothing on this Earth that will satisfy us.  Nothing.

Contentment is a difficult Horse to catch!!

We can’t be satisfied . Not out of greed so much as just  because we are all hungry for something that cannot be found on this earth.  We plan for trips, take them and then begin to plan another, as a child we think “oh when I’m a teenager”, then we think “when I have kids” and the “Someday…when I get a minute” and the somedays never really show up. I believe that Only God can satisfy and fill the voided emptiness that sometimes plagues us. We can chase up and down every avenue in our own lives and believe that if we could just get that room finished, get the yard looking better, get those bills paid down THEN we would be happy and content. But it isn’t as true as we would like to feel it is.

I believe in God. I believe in the Bible. And all it says.  But I can’t begin to understand why He took Joey.  I am very touched and impressed with the way in which she left this world, and the way her family is going forward and walking through the painful battlefield of loss. I realize there are thousands of people in the world walking through troubled waters……we all do it. Its a part of living this Life, but it makes no sense to me.

And I will miss seeing Joey on her television show, I will forever miss the duo that she and Rory were, the love they shared that was so BEYOND real that it captivated you from the word go. They were the real deal, the authentic American  love story, the country kids gone to Nashville but  still kept their dirty farm boots on their feet.

Joey sang more beautiful hymns that I can name here, my recent favorite was Softly and Tenderly she recorded during one of her chemo treatments…and Precious Lord,  Lead me home.

The Lord saw fit in HIS PLAN, on HIS TIME SCHEDULE  to lead Joey Home , a little earlier than we all wanted it to be . The sun hadn’t set yet, there was still daylight left  to play in…but it was “Supper time, at Jesus’ house”.  And who could pass up that invitation.

I am grateful that JOEY MARTIN FEEK  didn’t leave this world “an Unknown”….because of her and Rory and their music, the world is a better place,  I am a different person, a better person.  I hope.