Photo by Holly Spangler, used with permission from Prairie Farmer.
They say grief comes in waves. Ya know what? It is true. You never know when one will come creeping up on you, or taking you under for awhile.
Tonight as I was coming back from taking my kiddos to AWANA, the sights and sounds of harvest were all around me. I LOVE harvest. We're not a farming family, but growing up in rural IL and then spending almost eight years in rural ND, we've spent the greater part of our lives in farming communities. I love driving our country roads and seeing the corn change from bright green to golden tan this time of year. You can just sense all the anticipation in the air as equipment is brought out from storage buildings and prepared for the rigorous season ahead.
As I saw our friend's semi pulling out onto the rural road it just hit me that this year .... this year is so different.
My dad spent most of his life going down the roads of this great country in his own semi. Because of that job, he wasn't home much. At all. He'd always call us to check in though. I remember answering the phone as a child, you know the kind that was actually attached to the wall! One of my first questions would be ... "Where are you?". Even into my 30's the question was the same .... "Where are you?". I learned a good bit of my US geography knowledge from mapping my dad's trips. Often dad would speak of a friend he'd just met on the road for dinner. Didn't seem to matter where he was, there was always a friend passing through. No doubt there were times in his family's life that they wished they were the ones having dinner with him. Our dinners together were very few. But I knew that my dad being on the road meant there would be food in my house and a warm place to sleep. He taught me about work ethic and was always quick to speak praise to me of my mom for being there for us in the day-to-day.
There's one thing my dad loved more than trucking and that was farming. If his life-circumstances had been different he might have spent his life in the fields instead of on the interstates. For the last many years, dad would park his truck come harvest time. He'd head down further south in IL to his sister's place. To him, getting up in the combine was like vacation. He loved it. I could hear it is his voice when he'd call. His sister's family was dear to him.
Well this harvest that's all part of the past. Dad passed on suddenly last October from a heart attack. I miss his phone calls from the road. Sometimes when I hear the hum of a semi it takes me back to my childhood days of hearing his truck in the drive. I miss his hankie, that he was always quick to share with his children, and then his grand children. Not long before Dad passed on he took me aside and poured out his blessing on how I had invested my life .... in raising my children. I had never before heard such affirmation before from him on what I'd chosen to spend my years doing. I hold tight to that blessing this harvest.
The above photo was taken from my friend, Holly Spangler. Be sure to check out her blog and hear some wonderful stories of raising a family on today's farm.