Something So Big

Friday, June 29, 2012

Back to the Farm

Mom and Dad moved off the Homestead right before Halloween last fall.  I'd been back a few times to help move things to their new house, and then when we gathered on the morning of Dad's funeral.  But Sunday was the first time when I truly went back to the farm, to the place where I grew up and we lived as a family for what seemed like forever.

This picture reminds me of when my sisters and I were little, only the kitties were PUPPIES!

Christopher and his cousin from his mom's side are anxious to show off the little furballs!
We were on the farm for Annamae's first birthday, but look who was born just that morning?
Tim and Maryellen set up some really fun games.  The water balloon toss was especially welcome on a hot day!  (As you can tell, their garden is growing really well....hopefully we'll get some rain to keep it that way!)
I partnered up with Mark so he could throw me a balloon right in the sun.  I managed to catch it, but the next time around I wasn't so lucky!  I think I took this picture after we were out of the competition.
The Birthday Girl with her cake.  Nothing like babies and cake ... and lots of frosting!!
Present time....
...and I hope that Mae fits into this patriotic tutu for a little least until the 4th of July?  It was my first attempt at those cute things.  Happy Birthday, Sweetie!!
Tim had some "wet diapers" which you had to try to throw into the bucket. (They were watered down, not "real" wet diapers!) Check out the bucket lid ;)
Somehow a water fight broke out.  Wynne got a retaliatory bucket from her daddy...

....but it felt pretty good!!

Paul said "Forget the water guns...
I'm gonna throw my kid right into the wading pool!"  Poor Payton.
It was a fun diversion from an emotional afternoon for me.  I don't know how my Mom and sisters felt, but it was bittersweet being back on the farm.  Every corner of that place has a memory of childhood and young adulthood.  Do you see that maple in the foreground?  There used to be a much larger one in its place...only 17 short years ago.  I say "short" because the time went by so quickly.  Paul & Marla and Mark & I had our wedding receptions on the farm, and we can remember that big oak tree being part of the backdrop for a lot of pictures. 
Go back a little further and it was the home to a raccoon.  Tim's dog Robbie climbed a ladder to look down into the hole of that tree and sniff out that coon.
Go back a little further and it provided much-needed shade for many days of play in the front yard.
See that fence for the pasture?  I remember when Mom had the Fink boys eating dinner at our table with us, during the installation of that fence.  Before that fence was another one that stood between the potato patch and the driveway.
Walk along the long gravel driveway to go down and get the mail...or walk down that driveway when you were on a pity pot and pretended to "run away".
Ride along that driveway with Mom and go just a short ways up the hill to get Dad for dinner.  Sometimes take lunch right out to him, working in the fields.  
Look down from the fields, over the pasture, and back to the farm.  See the sheds, the corn cribs that Dad built, the cows walking their trails down to the gate to get ready for another milking.  Swissy leading the way with her big, beautiful brown eyes and thick, tan neck.  Sbaahhhhhhhhhhhhhs.  

Dierks Bentley sings "Every Mile a Memory".  

How about
"Every INCH a Memory"?

I'm so thankful that my brother and his wife can live on the Homestead and raise their family there, to keep old memories alive and to build new ones of their own.

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.--Luke 2:19

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bus Rides, Bingo, & the Brewers!

On Wednesday we took a break from all of the kids' games, summer school, lessons, etc. to ride a bus to the Brewer game.  Every year my brother Brian organizes a charter bus in his town, and this year he opened the seats up for family members first, as a tribute to one of the Brewers' most avid fans...Dad!  Guess who got to sit in the very back with her cousin Garrison?
 We played "car bingo" along the way, looking for things associated with Dan and Tammie's 25th Anniversary, which was also on that day.  Can you guys find Dan's favorite store Farm and Fleet?
 Brian did a great job of organizing the whole thing.  Our bus was the first to arrive at Miller Park, so we parked right next to a shaded grassy spot for tailgating.  He even had a raffle give-away for Brewer, Badger and Packer #1 hands on the bus!
 Mom brought along a friend, Shirley.  Their husbands played baseball in Belmont for many years together!
 Brian, Mark, Crystal's friend John, and our cousin Dan M. start the grills.  I thought 10 a.m. was too early for grilling out, but it was a hot day and we were all hungry by the time the food was ready.
 John & Crystal brought along some movie candy, so they were pretty popular people at the tailgate:) Wynne hung out with her godmother Aunt Tammie (Uncle Dan is over her left shoulder).
We girls had our picture taken with a statue of Robin Yount, #19.  Robin was a shortstop when I was a kid; the last time the Brewers were in the World Series!

Miller Park is an impressive venue.  We had about an hour to explore the Kid Zone before the game.  Bernie Brewer goes down a much larger slide in the ballpark during a real game, and luckily for us he did it FOUR times on Wednesday's outing with the Toronto Bluejays!  

Paige ran to first base with the help of 1st Baseman Corey Hart!
 Wynne would run down and forget to touch the base, so the timer kept rolling.  Some kids made the distance in under 3 seconds!
Ally is not used to pitching a baseball.  Unlike softball, it's overhand...and of course, the ball is a lot smaller!  She still went over 40mph.
 Shae tried her hand at pitching, as well.

Mark promised Cy if he threw it over 50 mph, he would buy him something at the over-priced concession stand.  Cy tried really hard....three times!.....but the fastest he could pitch it was 47 mph.  A good effort by a hungry boy!!
 Then it was on to the Klement Sausage races!  It doesn't matter who won, but I will tell you that the Short Legs had a tougher time sending her guy down the track ;)
Garrison told me to take a picture of him calling the runner at home "safe"!  The kids were given these cool roll-out "Go Brewers" signs and the nifty "eye blacks".

Even though it was soaring into the 90s, our seats were excellent, just 14 rows up from first base and in the shade most of the game.  Thanks Brian!!

 The Miller Park staff let you bring your own food and water bottles into the game, as long as they in unopened containers/packages.  That was our saving grace, as the game went just over 3 hours!  It was really fun, though, just hanging out at a major league game with cousins, grandma, aunts, and uncles....and the  Brewers won, 8-3!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunday Drive

There's nothing like a Sunday drive, and Grandpa has the wheels to prove it!

We celebrated Father's Day with Mark's Dad and family.  The younger girls and I took a ride with Grandpa Donny to the Platteville Mound, Belmont Mound, and the College Farm. 

 These ladies were happy to see our girls, who were very willing to pick up the stray alfalfa!
 When we arrived back to the home farm, guess what the boys had picked up?
 The old Trail Ram had been fixed up!  Cy kinda liked it;)
 Mark went back in time about 30 years.  What a neat Father's Day gift!
 Nobody wanted to ride, of course.

 Then another surprise:  Greg, Kierta, and Tage came down to visit!!  Kierta is almost 4 but will probably surpass Wynne (6) in height by next year.

Tage (2) is buckled up and ready to go! (Kierta's just a little excited, too :) )
How fast can this thing go, Uncle Joey??

Taylor, Glenn, Ryan, Mark & Shae

Happy Father's Day to all Dads!
Your loving, watchful presence is sorely needed in this world.

I will stand at my watch     and station myself on the ramparts.--Habakkuk 2:1

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Dad, When I Was 13

Helping Mom and Dad go through papers and pictures on their move into town last fall, I came across a lot of memories, of course.  One was a poem I had written for Dad on Father's Day 1984.  I was 13 going on 14--just like Ally is this summer--and Dad was my hero.  At that time, he was very involved in our church and in A.A., starting up a Care & Share Task Force at school to make the community more aware of the dangers of drug and alcohol use.  Dad was very strong in his beliefs, and he didn't shy away from sharing those beliefs with his kids.  What some called arrogance, I took to be a contentment and assurance in God's direction in his life.  I get a lot of my spirituality from Dad.  As they say, "Faith is caught, not taught."
Look out, cat!!! (By the way, this is when I was 20...doesn't Dad look pretty good at age 61?)
Once in a while, I think I don't count for much in my eldest daughter's eyes because she is so very close to her dad.  But reading that poem and remembering how I felt about my own daddy at that age, I am reassured that a strong father-daughter relationship is a very good thing.  I am thankful for what I had with my dad, and I am thankful for how Mark and our own daughters get along now.  It will help them to find a godly man of their own in the future!


You know just what to say
And when to say it, too;
That's why the world around
There are no fathers quite like you.

Dad, you mean so much to me;
No present fits you more
Than three, simple words
That say what dads are for.

I love you!
Happy Father's Day

Mom & Dad, Stonefield Village trip 1984

You'd think that since it's Father's Day weekend, I would be thinking about my Dad more.  But I don't think it's possible to think about Dad more than I already do.  If I had words to describe how I feel since his passing--and more time to sit here and cry and pray and write--I could write an entire blog about him!  Every post would be another ache of my heart, another memory that makes me laugh or cry or both.

Daddy, I miss you each and every day.  You weren't perfect and we had our disagreements...and some of us kids would say, "Man if I ever start acting like Dad, stop me!!"....but I'm not going to focus on the things that you weren't.  There were so many things that you WERE.  You were an awesome spiritual leader for our family, an awesome faith sharer to me, an awesome farmer who worked his butt off to provide for us, a man who never expected more than he gave and put in an honest day's work much of your life.  You were an awesome dad who played with us, taught us how to work, "goosed" our knees, tucked us in at night, held us and comforted us when we needed it, and reassured us that we were beautiful children of God.  You were an awesome woodworker, A.A. mentor, and church leader.  You were an awesome grandpa who never tired of seeing his kids and grandkids at endless school, sports, and church events.  You were an awesome man who knew grace and devoted his life to his wife and children.   You were all these things and more....and I feel so greedy now because I want you back to hug and to talk with.  To hold your soft, warm hands and hear your deep, loving voice.  

Praise God for His unending love, and for the promise of Eternal Life that you are makes me kinda jealous!  I will see you and hug you again!  Happy Father's Day, Daddy!
Amy :)

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.--Psalm 103:13

Friday, June 15, 2012

Odds & Ends with Family & Friends

"Helping" at Grandma's Yard Sale
Wynne, Paige, Catherine, and Shae 

Checking out Uncle Glenn & Aunt Sara's new basement...and TV!
Shae, Brooke, and Paige
Boys and their video games...
Trevin & Cy
Ally taking the baby taking the baby out for a walk at the Davis home!
Ally & Lauren
Sara and some of her brothers admiring their newly-finished basement
Doug, Ryan, Jamey & Sara
Mady & Lauren checking out their cousins' toys!!
Ally & her new cousin Payton
Visiting at the Davis home
Doug & Paula, Ryan, Ally, Grandpa D, Jamey, Sara & Payton, Mark

The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm.--Proverbs 12:7