This is a day early (better early than late).  Our family has a lot of birthdays in February.  To kick off the month on the 11th is my Dad’s birthday.  This year he will be 54.  It is hard for me to go back and see where the time has gone, I can only imagine how he feels.  His children are grown, and he has grandkids that are growing too fast.  I have a favorite story that I wanted to share, in honor of my Dad’s 54th birthday. 

My mom stayed home with us and my dad farmed.  Financially, it made things tight, but also made us grow up happy and humble.  We didn’t want for anything, not really.  I didn’t grow up with electronic games or MTV.  I grew doing chores and raising animals to show at the local 4-H fair.  We did not waste gas on unnecessary trips to town.  We were no strangers to pulling weeds in the garden, walking beans, and detassling corn. We played kick the can and could run bare foot across gravel faster than anyone I knew! It doesn’t sound glamorous – but, I loved it, truly. 

For my 10th birthday, it was like every other.  Mom made dinner and cake and had my birthday presents wrapped.  The card is always signed, “Love ya, Mom and Dad.”  Dad was usually just as curious to see what gifts we received as we were.  However, Dad made the decision to do things a little different for my 10th birthday.  He asked me if I wanted to go to the store to see what we could find.  We went to the only store Dad was really familiar with, Farm&Fleet.  We made the 30 minute trip and got to the store.  We did some looking around and my eyes caught the most magnificent light-washed jean jacket I had ever seen.  $24.99 – ouch!  We did NOT spend money like that.  So, we decided to keep looking.  After perusing for twenty minutes or so, Dad decided we should go back and check out that jean jacket again.  I can still remember how I felt in that moment – I wanted that jacket, but did not want Dad to spend that money.  I was excited and nervous.  He said, “do you like it?” I replied, “yes, but its ok, that is a lot of money.”  He shrugged and smiled.  He picked the jacket off the rack.  “Would this size fit?  I tried it on and beamed, “yeah it fits.”  “Well, lets go check out.”  I am sure we walked out with other necessary items like oil and filters…  And, I am pretty sure he crabbed a pack of twizzlers on the way to the cashier.   

My Dad and I don’t always see eye to eye but I have grown an appreciation for his insights.  I have learned through the years that he is a very kind and wise soul.  Sometimes outspoken – And yes, I know where I get it from! I am so proud of the lessons he has taught me and continues to teach me.  He loves to farm.  I want that for myself – to do what I love, with a passion.  He makes it look so easy.  I often think he is one with the ground.  He has risen early and stayed up late to get field work accomplished.  Every minute counts when you have nice weather.  Mother Nature can change her mood at the drop of a dime (typical woman).  She can make or break an entire year’s crop.  Dad, now better known as Grandpa – has a remarkable relationship with the grandkids.  It’s hard to know who beams more –  The little ones when they coming running through the door, or Grandpa scooping them up.

Dad, on your birthday and for everyday I forget to say it.  Thank you for the blessing you have given our family.  We are all proud of you – and we love you!  Happy 54th Birthday – here’s to 54 more! 

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