The first thing that comes to mind when I see this photo is how much Ed loved the Fair. He never took the time to enjoy much off the farm but he sure made the Fair a family outing…
From the time our oldest son showed his Elsie cow in 1978 to the Fair of 2017 Ed was like a kid again come every third week of August.
Just being out where he could see and talk to other farmers was a treat for him. Up until the late ’90’s early 2000’s it was 6 days of the year that we all looked forward to just to see his excitement and enjoyment while being off the farm.
,No we were never the showmen with the top cow in the ring or even close to it…but he had fun.
Taking care of all the cows was his goal at the farm. He loved his animals and he loved the field work , too. Having a good day always had something to do with the animals or a day when you had to unload hay wagons continuously to keep up with whoever was baling; then get up the next morning to do it all over again.
After our kids all left the farm everything fell onto the two of us. The Fair was still something to look forward to when the grand kids took over showing. It just came about naturally, keeping the annual outing important without a hitch since 1978.
Some summers Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with favorable hay making weather in July and early August as all farmers know.
So if hay was ready to bale on a Fair day Farmer and I did it…sometimes with help from the kids and grandkids if it wasn’t a show day….but no complaints as Grampy still got to the Fair even if for only an hour or two.
Fast forward to August 2017…his last Fair. Still a full week of Fair and hay. This time some of the kids did come to help unload the wagons and help with chores with him and I. And more happy memories made with Fair food, his animals and even a bit of midway fun was the payoff for the hard work of the day..
When I look back now I think of that Fair as one of the last things he got to enjoy with no strings attached.
The day before the Fair of August 2018 we laid my Farmer to rest. And with heavy hearts the grandkids showed his animals that Fair week.
Once again the Fair is coming up…the third one without my Farmer.
It seems like just yesterday we were all looking forward to those Fairs with our 4 kids. But time marches on…Farmer’s cancer diagnosis….hitting the road on the Journey…his health declining so quickly but never a complaint…the grace with which he prepared all of us for what was inevitable. He was an amazing person.
I prefer to feel he lived the way he wanted to…after I had heart surgery in 2014 I always assumed he would be the one sitting here today facing a 3 year loss and not me. Three years doesn’t seem possible…seems like yesterday most days.
I have read hundreds of inspirational messages during that time and all have touched me in one way or another. Loss is hard to bear…someone you trusted with anything/everything….a soulmate and best friend…the one who could be so good at talking through the hard times and sharing the best of himself with no expectations.
And yes, he was obstinate and self-centered at times, not willing to listen to anything but his own ideas… he knew best.
That made him who he was…the full picture of good and not so good. But somewhere in that picture you will find a heart full of love and a soul full of self confidence and strength like no other person I know. That is my loss.
As crazy as it is, I do talk to butterflies and crows…they are his messengers. I can feel him through their presence. They are my safety net when the sadness takes over. I know he is watching over me. It is all what you believe in.
So as I sit here with so many thoughts and feelings about his last days I have so much respect and pride for the man he was. I am sad and have shed my share of tears…He is missed more than I can express here with words.
My Farmer will be forever missed…the memories we made help these days. I guess I have moved on to acceptance of the loss , at least that is what the grief counselor would call it.
We all still expect him to appear at the craziest of times and God knows I wish he could; but he needed to rest and enjoy more of what awaited him. I pray he found that place.
I pray that his children and grand children have their own personal connection that keeps him close; I am sure they do as time goes on. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
I will hold him in my heart forever and he lives on for me in the wonderful memories we made. I take great peace from the things he taught us all…To hear the kids and grand kids say ‘Grampy did’ or ‘Dad Said’ or the best for me is “I remember Grampy or Dad used to…”!!! It keeps him here for all of us. We all need to be close again.
Ed, I will feel your touch in the breeze and hear your voice when I need it most. But your smile and laugh are always a part of what keeps us all going. Couldn’t ask for more.
Until next time…every one stay safe and healthy. And thank you for your continued support of this blog.
I love and miss you Farmer…