LETTERS FROM THE FARM
I suddenly realized the other day that it had been a good while since I had written any letters to the relatives. Working a farm can do that, keeping you out of touch of loved ones far away. I just thought it extremely odd none of the relatives had complained about not receiving my very informative and enlightening farm news. The relatives are just too polite, knowing how important my time is, to complain about not hearing from me, I decided.
So, here goes, a long awaited letter to our relatives, with a few notes to help you write your own relative letter.
Dear Favorite Relative, (they love it when you say that)
How are you? We are fine. (Notice the flow of the letter, how well it moves along here.) The surgery on my hand wasnít too awfully bad and I decided after eight weeks that maybe I wasnít going to die after all. I did find out that I was sensitive to certain drugs given after a surgery. This is a good thing to know in case you have to have another surgery, in spite of the fact I said Iíd shoot myself before ever having surgery again.
I made a list of the drugs I was sensitive to and at the top of the list is the D drug, with a star beside it. I canít quite remember the name, except it started with a D. I woke up from surgery with a nurse hysterically flitting around my bed, screaming, "You quit breathing!! You are sensitive to D!"
Noting that this could be important I wrote down D and when I see that nurse again I will ask her to repeat the name of the drug so I can finish spelling it. Oh, and to also thank her for noticing that I had quit breathing.
Howís the hand now, you ask? Well, I have found that the doctor was more then considerate, realizing that I was a farmer, and shaped my hand into a hook. He must have understood the need on the farm for a hook. I can snag hay bales easily now and let a goat go flying by and my hook hand has them in no time. Now if he could have only made my arm longer I could really snatch those goats that are far away.
Only one problem with my new hook hand is signing my name. I canít seem to grip a pen just right for all the fancy curves of name writing, but I have discovered that a scribbled X is accepted by everyone. And, if I want to write my middle initial, I just jot down two Xís. The letter X is a mighty letter and like the Master Card, will be accepted the world around.
Yes, we finally got our winter firewood in, I know you all must have been worried about that. Lee is still hand splitting the firewood, in spite of people calling us the "old fuddy duddies", since we are at that older adult stage in our lives. One morning after splitting a manure spreader load of wood he had cut the day before, Lee just laid in bed. I came back an hour later and he was still there.
"You okay?" I asked sincerely, feeling a bit guilty that I had forgotten about him lying there.
"I canít move," he groaned.
"Whatís wrong? Did I tuck the sheets in too tight again?" I asked.
"Too sore to get up," he whispered. "Even my toe nails hurt."
"What? I canít hardly hear you. Speak up," I shouted, still feeling sensitive to his pain.
"Canít. My lips even hurt," he whispered.
Dear Favorite Relative, to tell the truth I had to ponder a while over this new turn of events. Lee was too sore to get the rest of our firewood in! I, I mean, we would freeze this winter!
I finally made the ultimate sacrifice, "Want to go buy a wood splitter?"
Personally, I think he jumped out of bed a tad faster then what he should have if he had been in the pain he said he was in. But, I tend to have a suspicious nature. We bought a wood splitter that same day and Lee went back to joyfully cutting firewood, while I ran the splitter and split and loaded what he cut. He kept looking over at me, grinning fondly, with a bit of sentimental moisture around his eyes, a true look of love. Then, I realized he was looking at the new wood splitter. Well, I have to admit, it was new and shiny, worked without complaining, and never stopping. I was falling in love with it myself.
How are the nephews, you ask? Finest bunch of boys youíd ever want to meet. Never whimpered or complained once when I called up and invited them out to our famous annual goat barn cleaning. Of course, they knew that I knew every nook and cranny where they could hide, so just gave up like real men and came out to help their old auntie and uncle.
They worked like real troopers, never complaining about the heat. Just kept that goat manure flying into the old manure spreader and every now then all over each other when someone made too sharp a comment on missing the manure spreader with a forkful.
And, boy, did I feed them. You have to remember I was working with just one hand at the time since it was right after my hand surgery. I didnít have the nifty hooked hand I have now. But, I still whipped up a venison stew that they would long remember. Have you ever noticed the color of the lid of the garlic bottle is almost the same color as the ginger spice bottle? Well, I say that a good dose of accidental ginger in the venison stew never did anyone any harm and it made a nice conversation piece at the dinner table.
I tried to explain this new spice in my stew was because being one handed it couldnít be helped. Lee kindly pointed out that it was because I hadnít put on my glasses, so took the blame away from my newly sewed on hand. Thoughty of him.
It was good to have the dinner table full again with dirty faced, pungent smelling men. They insisted on washing their hands before eating, even though I did comment on the time and that it was getting late and they had a few more loads to get out of the barn.
The nephews regaled us with tales of their youthful experiences as they ate their ginger venison stew. One of the nephews had decided one day to go with two of his buddies and run the single lane country back roads just to see where they went. While going up one road they came upon a big black snake lying across the road with no way for them to get around him. They didnít want to run over the snake so they thought they would help move him along. One of the boys, being deathly afraid of snakes, decided to stay in the truck.
So, the nephew and his friend got out, trying to decide how to encourage the happily sunning snake across the road. His friend decided the best thing to do was to pick the snake up and move it. But, he didnít particularly relish the idea of picking a snake up, so he grabbed it by its tail and did a flip with it to toss it across the road.
Unbeknown to him, the snake was in the process of shedding its skin. When he picked it up by the tail and gave it a snap to get it across the road, the snake snapped out of its old skin, over his shoulder, and in through the truck window with the friend that was terrified of snakes. The friend shot out of that truck like he had been shot out of a cannon and blames them to this day that they did that on purpose.
Lee and I chuckled over the tale. Kids. As they get older theyíll learn to check for that shedding skin before chucking a snake off the road.
Well, I have rattled on long enough. I must close now and put on my track shoes and go grain the goats. If I run it just right, I might get all the grain in the feeders before they tackle me and take the bucket away.
You all take care and remember if you ever want to come and visit, the best times are when we are loading hay into the barn, doing the annual goat barn cleaning, worming the herd of goats, or... Well, I guess itís just about any time. Weíll keep you entertained so you never get bored.
From Your Other Favorite Relative,