Happy Birthday To An Oklahoma Country Girl

IMG_3104

The grandson Einstein and Daughter-In-Law #3 doing one of the things she does best–her mama thing

I wouldn’t change a thing about you, #3, from your beautiful smile to your willingness to dive in to help anybody who needs it. I’m proud of the woman you’ve become and thankful you’re one of my girls. At first, I loved you because my son did. Now, I just love you.

God bless you on your birthday and always, dear #3, and enjoy this Rascal Flatts song that says it way better than I can.

[youtube.com/watch?v=Vyjq5SCbjQk]

You Never Knew You Were So Special

L

My mother-in-law, Lois, before she was even a mother

This post isn’t amusing, or about ranch/farm life–even though my mother-in-law was an old farm gal–or about any of the other stuff I usually write here. The following thoughts about my mother-in-law are deeply personal and I debated about whether to publish them, but if this posthumous letter makes anyone want to be a better communicator before it’s too late, then perhaps it is worth sharing.

Dear Lois,

I haven’t been to your grave since we buried you almost two years ago. Not from lack of respect, but because I can’t stand it. Maybe someday.

I still dream about you at night sometimes. In the dreams, my heart leaps with joy when I see you alive, and I run to you like I am a young girl and not a middle-aged grandma.

I miss talking to you on the phone two or three times a day while you tell me the same stuff and repeat the stories I heard over and over for forty years.

I miss you sitting on the opposite end of the pew from me in church. Sometimes, for just an instant, I think you’re there, and then I remember you’re not, and you won’t ever be. The great grandkids won’t ever dig through your super-heavy purse during services again, looking for gum, and paper, and pens.

I miss you puttering around in your flower gardens and in your kitchen. And the taped on labels stuck to everything in your refrigerator. And your saved junk mail envelopes with your copious notes on varied subjects from the latest diet, to farm machinery for sale, to the weather report. (I could hardly bear to throw them away after you died.) And your three (very original) categories of illness. And your huge collection of $3 shoes.

I miss you at my back with your wisdom and prayers between me and my own mortality. It’s empty there without you. And frightening. There are still so many things I need to know and I can’t ask you anymore.

Now, it’s me praying for the kids and grandkids in the middle of the night…and I’m not as good at it as you were. I wish you could see the great grandkids, how they’ve grown. They’d tickle you to death. Blondie misses you and hoards everything that used to be “Granny’s”. She and I sometimes open the box where all your stuff I’ve saved for the kids is stored–she keeps close tabs on those china cats.

I wish you knew that #1 grandson and his family rocket around in your car. #2 and his family are living down on your old place. And #3 and his family use your dining room set with that old buffet. You’d be happy about all that.

I wish you knew I kept your old tea pitcher because it reminds me of you and the thousands of glasses of tea you served to people in your lifetime. I use it at all the family gatherings because it makes me feel like you’re still there, a little bit.

Most of all, I wish you knew how bad I feel about arguing with you the week before you died about normal human body temperature. What difference did it make if you thought 96.8 was normal, or 97.7…whatever it was?

The awful, gaping hole your absence has left in my life would astonish you. You never thought you were anybody special.

When you said goodbye to me, I wish so badly that instead of letting my grief paralyze my tongue I had told you this: When I married your boy all those years ago, one of the best things I got out of the deal was you.

[youtube.com/watch?v=5kf18ti4oug]

Related Post

The Most Aggravating Man Who Ever Lived

A Mish Mash Of This’N’That From The Ranch Pen

IMG_3381

A freakish crossing of contrails wrote Hi in the sky, and even dotted the i

How Long Does It Take Paint To Dry, Anyway?

Every summer about this time–aside from spotting weird contrails and watching paint dry–everything starts to seem pretty blah.

IMG_3236

Our dog is hot.

IMG_3396

Blondie and Git’R’Done

Our kitties scratch the grandkids. I don’t know why.

wind turbines in SW Oklahoma

Some days the wind won’t even blow.

Farm People Need Fun, Too

So, next week…hold onto your hats, ladies and gents! Gramps and I plan to take a couple of days off and head for the bright lights of the city. We need to shop at Sam’s Club. Gramps is out of those little square cheesecake things and I need a super-sized bag of nuts. (Hmm…I’m stroking my one, middle-aged lady chin whisker thoughtfully, searching for the deeper meaning in that statement.)

Well, anyway. There’s not a doubt in my mind y’all will want to stay tuned to see what a couple of ultra-conservative Christian hicks from the sticks do for fun.

Back To Business

We had a good rain a few days ago, and we’re really thankful for that. One of the farm ponds that has been dry for ages even got some water in it.

Gramps took some heifers (young female cattle) to the livestock auction. A lot of ranchers are looking for replacement heifers to rebuild their herds since the drought of the past few years caused a massive sell-off of female cattle in the southern plains.

 livestock auction pens

View from the auction barn’s overhead walkway

Um…Excuse me just one minute while I make a note to myself. I’ll forget, sure as anything, if I don’t do it right now…

IMG_3429

Okay, where were we…? Oh, yes. Sale barn.

auction barn

Inside the auction barn.

That isn’t our bull and we probably won’t name him “Tiny”. The weight scales’ screen shows he weighs over a ton.

IMG_3425

Roper and his farm

The grandson, Roper, hung out with Gramps at the cow sale then came home where he ate Cheerios for lunch and set up his machine shed on his “farm”. (The blue ribbon is his river.) A lot of the toys are the same ones his dad–Son #1–played with as a boy.

So, moms, remember: Don’t ever, ever throw out the kids’ toys. Your house will look like a hoarder’s pit, but you might have grandkids some day!

(And as an aside: One of the best things about being a grandma? I don’t have to make the grandkids eat! I can say things like: Do you want some Cheetos with your Cheerios, honey? What could be better than that?)

Posts I liked this week

I read this post about a farm dog a few days ago that actually made me tear up and have to blow my nose. We’ve had a few good dogs like that in my lifetime and it’s terrible to lose one. I highly recommend reading this post, All Farm Dogs Go To Heaven.

Another site I like is the FarmOn website. There are lots of good farming stories and information there. You can also sign up for a free bumper sticker from the American Farmland Trust that says “No Farms, No Food”.

Happy #2, Ladybug!

And, finally, the granddaughter, Ladybug, and I celebrate a shared birth date this week. She’s definitely the best birthday gift I ever had, hands down!

IMG_3378-002

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Buddy Green doin’ I Don’t Belong.

[youtube.com/watch?v=73-6P09xaAE]

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse my blog, he’s just one of my favorite singers.

Sign up for email updates from The Ranch Pen in the box at the top of the sidebar, or follow with bloglovin’ or feedly–handy tools to corral all the blogs you follow.
Follow on Bloglovin
follow us in feedly

Eh? What’s That You Say? Oh, Thank Goodness…Just Happy Birthday

IMG_3124

Danni and Sis

Today on my youngest sister’s birthday, we mark–my sister and me–another milestone in our whirlwind descent into hopeless middle-age and senility. How do I know? Because we increasingly have conversations like the one below.

(Bear in mind, both of us are old farm girls, so we have farm and livestock related injuries possibly too numerous to mention in the limited space of the world-wide-web. For the sake of brevity, I will keep the sample injury inquiries in the following conversation to horse-wreck related.)

I call my sister on the phone. We both say hola (spanish for hello) in an amusing fashion. With that out of the way, we proceed.

Danni: Well, how’s the ol’ bohonkus today?

Sis: Not too bad. How’s your ol’ shoulder?

Danni: Tolerable. Gramps ain’t breathing real good today, though. (He was having allergy trouble.)

Sis: Really? What’s wrong with his breeding?

Danni: (stops in her tracks. Her blood turns to ice water while she stares in speechless speechlessness–as two ultra-conservative Christian women, that has never been a topic of conversation between her and Sis and she can’t understand why all of a sudden it should be.) Um…maybe we’ll not discuss that.

Sis: Why not? Where’s he bleeding from?

Danni: (jumps as though stung on the bohonkus) Oh! Oh…! Bleeding! I thought you said breeding!

Sis: Ack! No! Eeww!

So, Hermana, Happy Birthday. Let’s make a date to go to a town with a store. We will shop for matching nautical themed outfits. I call the sweatshirt with starfish and ship’s wheels. You can have the complimenting slacks decorated with lighthouses. Be sure to wear your old-lady shoes with the buckles.

I’m actually kinda thankful for you, but you know how we are about such stuff. So, here, have a blog post.

God bless, and enjoy The Lewis Family tearin’ up So Many Years, So Many Blessin’s.

[youtube.com/watch?v=aBtDl7DMH-A]

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse the blog, I just like ’em.

Happy Birthday To A Southwest Oklahoma Country Girl Via Japan

417788_569514656415457_2074654576_n

Daughter-in-law #1 with Danni

I can’t claim to understand what it must have been like for you as a little girl to lose your dad, and then your mom, and come to a strange country to live. What I do know is it has taken a special kind of courage for you to build a life as a wife and mom from that beginning. I’m proud of you for that–and many other things–and I love you more than I could ever say to you, dear #1. I bless the day God brought you from Japan and placed you in my family as a daughter of my heart. Happy birthday.

God bless you and enjoy Josh Groban and this song that makes me think of you.

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just love him.