40 years ago

Forty years ago today was a big day in our lives…

(We were both  14)

ūüôā

 

 

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Not quite sure

I published my first blog post in 2007.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege to meet several of you in person… Kristina, Grace, Brittany, Cheryl, Val, Lisa Maris, Michelle, and I’m a thinking I am missing someone :-).¬† I’ve connected with a few more of you via facebook¬† ¬†something I’ve never taken that for granted either.

On the flip side,¬† I’ve watched people I loved to interact with suddenly drop off the face of the earth without nary a whisper…Doctor Victo, Linda, Joy,¬† Bill, Michael, to mention just a few…their blogs either just¬† went silent or were deleted without any notice.¬† Every time, it felt like a friend had just skipped town without explanation.

In my last post, , I mentioned in passing the “writing muse” seems like it is starting to dry up.¬† When I first started blogging back in 2007, my mind was overflowing with topics and issues I felt driven to write about, but now, 12 years later, I feel like I’ve said everything I want to say.

I actually still have 5 active blogs….this one, my farm blog, a history research project blog, a 4th one¬† that is unapologetic-ally deeply spiritual, and an earlier version of this one, currently set to private.¬† Each with a specific purpose.¬† this blog (heart to heart) is where I tend to process life.¬† Last count there were between 600 and 700 blog posts between all of the blogs…Many of the posts “clunkers” I’d be the first to admit.¬† ūüôā¬† A few I may revisit and eventually assemble into another book…I’m still not sure.

So I’m not sure what is coming next, if anything…When Kristina¬† was here last week, we talked briefly about this, and maybe I would be interested in using “prompts” to stimulate my writing.¬† That doesn’t really appeal to me, I do have plenty to keep me entertained now that the new growing season has arrived.

What would help me out more than anything, would be for those of you that are regular readers (even if you don’t leave comments all that often) is to answer this question- Why do you subscribe to¬† this blog?¬† ¬† Are there certain topics that resonate with you more than others?¬† Is there something I’ve touched on in the past, you’d love for me to write about more fully?¬† Or are you good with¬† things just as they are? (Even that would help me get some direction.)

Give it some thought and let me know.  Any feedback @ this point would be helpful.

Danka.

DM

Me in the orchard….

Few more weeks and this is what it will look like.

 

Mom’s Birthday Gift

My mom turns 85 this month.

I wasn’t sure what to get her.

What do you get for someone who doesn’t want or need more stuff?

Decided to take her out on a date.

A coffee date.

I am scheduled to pick her up tomorrow morning at 9.

Just the two of us.

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I’m her first-born.

If you were to ask me to summarize my relationship with my mom in a word, I would say Confidant. (And it goes both ways.)

Confidant:  One to whom secret or private matters are disclosed.  A person with whom you confide things.

Mom lost her father when she was three.¬† Raised by a single mother.¬† Grew up during the Depression.¬† Told me once, “She never realized she was poor, because everybody was poor in those days.¬† Her grandmother helped to raise her while her mom worked. There was no social security in those days. Your family was your safety net. They ate pigeon pie.¬† Fish her grandpa would catch.¬† Her grandma has a big garden.¬† Took turns sharing the bath water with half a dozen other kids on the back porch every Friday night.¬†”

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Here’s where you (my blog readers)¬† come in… ūüôā

Mom and I will have no trouble carrying on a conversation when we are together. It never is.

BUT, I wouldn’t mind taking the opportunity to ask her a question or two about something of substance.

Any suggestions?

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Early picture of my mom and three of us.

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24 hours later….

Coffee date with her eldest

As it turned out, it was the perfect outing.¬† We did talk family history, but it wasn’t forced.¬† Found out mom initially went to college to become a teacher. (I never knew that.)¬† ¬†Two different local businessmen offered to help her out with her tuition. (Never knew that either) ūüôā

 

Stats

Blogger I follow just passed 40,000 followers.

On a given post, he will get between  100 to 150 comments.

Just for fun, I took the number of followers I have had (223) divided that by the number of comments I typically get, and found you my readers are 10 times more likely to comment than the other blogger, whom I enjoy reading.

Yesterday I was in the office and decided to look at the people on that list of 223 followers….75% of them I’ve never ever heard from, several blogs no longer exist, some were linked to business sites.¬† Lots of smoke / no fire.

So I went through the list and started deleting.

Now I’m down to 53 followers.

Did the same thing on my farm blog.   Went from 160 down to 70.

It felt good.

It feels good.

I would rather my words go out to 3 or 4 people I know who  read my posts and interact on some level, than have my thoughts go to thousands of places where nobody reads or cares.

I find it hard (sometimes) to write, because of this.¬† I’m not 100%¬† sure I can even¬† tell you why, although that proverb/ word picture of “being careful not to cast your pearls before swine” came to mind…¬† ¬† (Translation:¬† Don’t place what is precious and valuable before someone who¬† will¬† just discard and trample it into the mud)

People write for lots of different reasons.

I write for a couple of reasons….

Any guesses? ūüėČ

By the way, please don’t feel any pressure to comment, (or like this post)…I mean it.

Just the fact you are reading this means you made the cut.   I know you are out there and I value your interactions in my life.

Thank you! DM

 

 

Lois

I met Lois 13 years ago.

She and her friend Floe had signed up for¬† a class I was teaching at our local community college¬† called “Bible for Dummies.”

Lois was 80 years old.¬† Farm wife.¬† ¬†She had a couple of hundred chickens/ sold eggs on the side.¬† Sharp mind.¬† Quiet, sweet personality.¬† I remember thinking no way is this lady 80 years old…65 maybe. Floe told me on the side Dave her husband could be a little “overbearing.”¬† Said Lois didn’t get away from the farm much.¬† Hard worker.¬† It was “good she was able to take a break and get away from the farm for a few hours.”

After that class ended, wife and I would occasionally stop by Lois’s farm and buy eggs.

We read in the obituaries a few years ago, Lois’s husband had died.¬† ¬†I think we may have gotten eggs from her one time after that.¬† I think of Lois every time I drive by her farm.¬† ¬†Christmas night, feeling nostalgic¬† I googled her name to get the address of her farm.¬† I was thinking about dropping her a note.¬† ¬† ¬†Two addresses came up for Lois.¬† Her place that I knew about¬† and a 2nd local address.¬† It was a care facility.¬† White pages said she was 93 years old.

As I was driving past the exit to the care facility¬† this past Thursday morning I thought, what the heck, I’m going to stop and ask if she lives there.¬† No harm in that.

Walked up to the front door. Doors were locked.¬† Needed a security code to get in.¬† Off to the right, were the instructions and code numbers.¬† ¬†Punched them in, sure enough, this time the door opened.¬† Straight ahead was an office with two secretaries and a resident, so I popped my head in the door and asked, “Does a¬†Lois, so- and so lived there?”

The secretary in charge looked at me as shook her head slowly¬† and said “Nope.”

I went on to tell them the details of why I there…It was spur of the moment.¬† Wasn’t even sure she was there, just that the computer said so.¬† Told her about the class Lois was in years before with me.¬† Told them I’d occasionally stop by her house to buy eggs, but it had been a while…

At this point, the secretary does some non-verbal signals with her eyes toward the resident sitting in the chair next to her desk, three feet in front of me….

It was Lois.

I did not recognize her.

Different hair style and her face was puffy.¬† ¬†I’m guessing she’d put on 20 pounds.
I asked how long she had lived here?  Secretary guessed maybe 3 years.

All this time Lois just sat listening to me banter, then reached up and grabbed my hand…didn’t let go until I left.¬† I looked her in the eyes and asked “Lois, do you remembered me?¬†

¬†“Yes” she said in a quiet voice.

We all  had good laugh.

Secretary said she thought I was joking initially.

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I’m still processing that little adventure.

I did write Lois a letter last night and pop it in the mail.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine going from the¬† active lifestyle that I have currently… where I can do whatever I want to do, make home-made bread, have a big garden, tend 80 apple trees, build furniture in my wood working shop, ferment sauerkraut, have a dog…..to moving into one room where all of my earthly possessions have to fit.

(And I couldn’t bring my dog).

Libby (our dog)

I watched a friend of ours (Helen) transition from living on her own, to moving into two different care facilities as her health declined…She pulled it off with amazing grace.¬† I’m not so sure I want to wind up like that.

(Not so sure I  have too much say in some of those details either.)

Radio DJ Friday morning was talking about her grandmother.  Grandmother lived through the depression of 1929-1939.  She said her grandmother had a remarkable cheerful disposition, in spite of all she went through. She asked her grandmother how she did it?

Grandmother told¬† her…¬†“It is a choice.”¬†¬†

Would love to hear any thoughts any of you have on this issue of aging, transitioning from one  season of our lives to the next.

I am taking notes ūüôā¬† DM

 

Billy

Across the street from where we are currently working is a group home for handicapped young men.   The first day we were on the job, I  swore I heard an auctioneer.  Looked out the window and there was Billy, pacing back and forth with his microphone calling out to an  imaginary crowd.

“Who’ll give me five dollar?¬† Who’ll give me five???”

“Hep!”

On and on it went, for  15/ 20 minutes.

If you didn’t know any better you’d have sworn it was a real auction.

This will be the 4th week on this same job, and Billy has probably had a dozen auctions since I’ve been on the job.¬† He’s crossed the street a couple of times just to give us give us some crap.

(Crap is  German for good-natured teasing by the way.)

Billy is a big boy.¬† Place him in his mid 20’s.¬† He’s all of 6 ft tall,¬† 220 pounds.¬† Cusses like a sailor…worse than a sailor actually.¬† ¬†But behind that intimidating exterior, is someone’s little boy.¬† I have no idea who his parents were, or what the specific details of his disabilities are.¬† I do know he can walk.¬† He can carry on a conversation. I think he works part-time @ a local can sorting place for people with disabilities.

Having 2 grandchildren ourselves with disabilities has given me a whole different perspective on people like Billy than I used to have.¬† He’s mobile.¬† Lives on his own with minimal supervision.¬† He has a job.¬† Has a lot going for him.

Where I’m going with all of this you may be wondering….

Well, yesterday I decided to buy something @ Billy’s auction.¬† I was working in the driveway, cutting out stair treads when I heard him again.¬† Looked across the street and it looked like he was pointing right at me while he was calling..

So I raised my hand and shouted “Yep.”¬† Then “Yep” again.¬† Finally shook my head and made a cutting sign across my throat, indicating I wouldn’t go any higher.

Pretty sure I just bought my own truck.

 

 

 

 

In the middle of the night

Two weeks ago, I followed a young couple¬† into our local farm and fleet store.¬† She had a noisy pair of boots on that were going “clomp, clomp, clomp.”¬† There were purple wisps of hair sticking out of her head scarf. I couldn’t help but hear the tone of her voice as she talked with her man.¬† It was¬† short and snippy.¬† ¬†I found myself forming a judgmental attitude not because of how she was dressed but because of¬† her attitude and tone of voice.

Three minutes later  when I went over to the stain and paint isle, they were standing right in front of the dark walnut stain selection, the last item on my list.  I asked they if they could see any cans of dark walnut stain?

The woman turned to look at me and inwardly my judgmental attitude  was suddenly gone.

I  recognized the two of them.

I was ashamed.

I knew part of their story….

They had been in a¬† terrible car accident two winters ago. The roads had suddenly turned to a sheet of ice, and as they approached an intersection,¬† they couldn’t stop.¬† Their car slid¬† out¬† into the path of a semi.¬† There were several fatalities and both of the two people standing in front of me that day had spent weeks recovering in the hospital, and to this day are still dealing with medical bills and reconstructive surgery.

Just within the past month, the woman had confided to someone I know, that she has to take a lot of medicine in order to “Keep her s*#@t¬† together.

We never know what other people are dealing with when we see them in public.

In the middle of that night, I woke up¬† thinking about that young family and what they are still dealing with.¬† A thought began to form in my mind… I wanted to do something/ anything/ to encourage them, yet do it anonymously.

Since we live in a relatively small town, I had to be careful and keep the details kind of vague.   Decided to posted the following on our facebook page:

I stood in line behind a young family today who has had some serious heartache the past year or so. I don’t know them personally, just knew who they were. When she turned to say something to me, I could literally see the pain and brokenness in her eyes. Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about them and wanting to do something anonymously for Christmas. I happen to know where the wife works, and also know her boss…here is what I’m thinking…I would like to give them a card and a gift in the form of either cash or gift cards to Walmart, the grocery store, etc. If you want to be a part of it, or know more specifics, shoot me a message. …. Going to give it to her boss Friday the 21st…the first day of winter. .

PS this will be the only time you see this post…won’t keep seeing it on our feed.¬†

¬†Thanks! DM”

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7 people stepped forward and said they wanted to be a part of the action.

I’ll be dropping the $ and gift cards off this coming Friday.

Kindness and love are  still alive and well in middle earth.

Do not doubt me.