Dad would know

In the month plus since my Dad has died, I’ve had more than a few instances where I desperately wanted to pickup the phone and ask him something. Car is making a funny noise, ask Dad. Tires are wearing funny, ask Dad. The neighbor has a new pickup, ask Dad where it came from. He’d know.

My husband and I were coming back from the dentist office and noticed a shed along the highway getting new metal siding. I thought the property was owned by someone else, he thought the guy using it owned it. Without even missing a beat, I said, I bet Dad would know. Then I sighed. My Dad was a bit of a gossip and loved to find information out before anyone else.

The other day a coworker asked where my Dad’s name Valere came from. I don’t recall any conversation besides the one where we were told his mother came up with it. So off to Google it I go. Valere is Latin and means to be strong or be well. In French it means brave. I like the second meaning better. Dad was brave. He wasn’t always right, but he did what he wanted and lived life his way. To me that’s brave.

Lately I’ve been going through some issues in my personal life and they’ve all seemed to heap on me at once. I was looking for verses, quotes and sayings on Pinterest and the Be Brave ones just really struck me. I even created a cover photo for my Facebook page that says just that. I don’t like change. I don’t like stepping out of my comfort zone. I also don’t like people who are mean and do things to hurt others. I’m trying really hard to forgive a couple of those people, but it’s just easier to forget them. I have to be brave to do that.

I’d also been sitting on a couple of voice mail messages that I couldn’t make myself listen to. Mostly because they were from my Dad. My phone has been giving me the dreaded “storage is full” and I’ve been trying to clean it up since I’m too cheap to get a new phone right now and don’t want to lose any of the 4,000-some odd photos I have on there. So one night when I was feeling particularly down, I was brave and listened to them. Same old Dad message, “Kylene, this is your Dad. Call me back.” But this time I could hear the age in his voice. I could hear the sickness. I could hear all the things I never wanted him to be. Especially gone.

Those phone messages are still there. I was brave enough to listen to them again, but I’m not brave enough to delete them. They just might migrate to a new phone when I decide to purchase another. I’ve got plenty of room for the next photos for now. I don’t have to be brave all at once.

dadandIdance2

Dad and I during the Father-Daughter dance at my wedding, July 18, 2009.

BeBrave

Be brave little one

In my last post I talked about my oldest son going to preschool. Well, yesterday was the day. Leading up to the day I tried to prepare Shaun the best I could. Giving him examples of what he’d be doing, recognizing his name or stories of what it was like for me or his dad going to school the first time.

Monday morning came. Dad stayed home to go with us to see Shaun’s classroom and the other kids. Shaun, who usually is up before the sun, had to be woken up. He insisted upon jeans, boots and a button-down shirt. I compromised with the boots and gave him a pair of other shoes to wear.

Once at the school, Shaun held both of our hands and I was trying my best to be brave like I’d told Shaun to be, but all Momma wanted to do was cry. He practically drug us into the classroom to see all the toys and stuff he’d seen at the open house. Then it was time for Mom and Dad to go to work. I began to get choked up and could barely talk. Shaun started to cry and I did my best to console him. Then it was Dad’s turn. We told him to go find a spot and sit down to wait on the teacher. I thought it would be a good time to sneak out.

I spent the rest of the morning at work worrying about him and how he was doing. When it was time for the bus to deliver him to the babysitter, I texted her and asked how he was. He was crying. Great.

But when I picked him up from the sitter, he was pretty happy. I quizzed him on the way home about his day. He’d apparently made a “best friend” but couldn’t remember his name, just that he had on an orange shirt. Come to find out he was mad at us because we’d left him and he didn’t get to say goodbye (again.) His dad took him fishing and they spent quite a bit of time together before bedtime.

This morning was much easier on both of us. His “best friend” was crying when Shaun went to sit on the rug. I told him to go cheer him up and I’d see him tonight at the babysitters. Hopefully they both survived the day. We can only go up from here!

Shaun on his first day of preschool, Aug. 24, 2015.

Shaun on his first day of preschool, Aug. 24, 2015.

Harvest

The very word harvest conjures up many childhood memories. As far back as my memory recollects, wheat harvest was a time like no other. Sure, there was stress, arguments, breakdowns and a rush to get the grain to the elevator, but there was also pride, hope and dreams fulfilled.

My dad quit farming shortly after I graduated from college in 2002. I really can’t remember my “last” harvest on the acres he worked, but I do have memories spanning most of my childhood. From my flip-flop that got lost in the bed of the truck and was later retrieved at the elevator, to the grape pop in glass bottles and the fights that ensued over the window seat in the truck, harvest time was special. Dad worked his butt off from the beginning of the work day until there wasn’t a speck of sunlight in the sky. He was dirty, tired and frazzled, but once the crop was in the bin he was happy.

Mom always said, “after harvest” we could get new shoes or get something special that we’d been wanting. They also got to pay bills, allowing them to farm another year. Most times, harvest was during the middle of June or sometimes later and since the Fourth of July was always so close, Dad would splurge (totally break the bank) on fireworks. He would come home with gigantic boxes – one for each of us 3 girls – and we would light stuff on fire well into the night. He’d also buy rodeo tickets to the local prorodeo. Most times for every night, getting the same row and seats if he could. Or we got a new belt, pair of boots or some jeans.

Since my husband has taken over his family’s 100-year-old farm in Clark County, the wheat crop has been less than stellar. His first crop was a failure because of drought conditions, as were the following crops. This year however, he managed to get the wheat in the ground when he needed to and received some necessary rains at the right times. It was nice to see the bin on the combine get full fast and not take quite a few acres to fill. I could see the pride in his eyes when he was crunching numbers in the truck and telling me what it made. It sure made my heart happy to see him relieved and proud all at once.

It was also the first time both boys had gotten the opportunity to ride in the combine while wheat was being cut. Shaun’s no stranger to the tractor and anytime he gets a chance to ride in the big machinery he will have to be peeled out of it, kicking and screaming. Chance was just taking it all in. Seeing them enjoy it made me pretty darn proud.

As always, I had the camera with me and found the right shot to take. Enjoy! Happy harvest!

A broken down combine gets checked out while another dumps, June 24 in Clark County, Kansas.

A broken down combine gets checked out while another dumps, June 24 in Clark County, Kansas.