I had the first date with my husband when I was 13 years old. Well, almost. The story actually goes like this: My 8th grade best friend called me on a lazy Sunday afternoon, wanting me to go to a movie. An hour later, a car pulled into the driveway, and my friend and her boyfriend were in the front seat with her mother (of course, we were not driving yet), and in the backseat was another boy, her cousin. What? She didn’t say anything about boys! She knows I already “like” a boy at school. I was instantly mad at her. I was also rather awkward at the age of 13, and didn’t know how to talk to boys. So consequently the next two hours were uncomfortable for all of us. I was irritated at her for a week, and didn’t give the boy another thought.
As a sophomore, two years later, I started attending the consolidated high school, and I saw the boy again. What? “That boy” was now a hot-shot tennis-pro senior. Wait. I know him. He knows me. We went on a date once. I was smitten. Unfortunately, he was dating another girl. So as I patiently bided my time, I memorized all the halls he walked between classes, and I walked them too, even if it meant I would be late for history. Is that stalking? Maybe.
One day, at the end of first semester, it was rumored that he and his gal had split up. So on that very day, when I walked down his hall, I actually raised my eyelids and made eye contact with him for the very first time. I smiled, said ‘hi’, and kept on walking. He must have been doing some stalking of his own, though, because when his buddy offered to set him up with a blue-eyed blond, he guessed it was me. We started dating that Friday night, January 21, 1972, and have been together ever since. We got married two weeks after I graduated high school.
After he finished college we moved to the city where he worked as a certified public accountant. We had 4 baby girls in the space of 13 years and enjoyed living in the suburbs. Life went pretty much as expected for about 35 years (there are many stories to be told, but they are for another time).
Two weeks after the unexpected death of my husband’s older brother, suburbia took a surprise turn. Coming into the kitchen that morning to get his coffee, my husband said, ‘I would like to take Jerry’s place back on the farm’. Whoa Nellie! Seriously? But almost as soon as I said it, I thought, ‘yes, of course that is what you should do’. He had been struggling with accountant work. He was bored and itching for a change. My husband had been raised on a farm, and he IS that boy on the billboard sign: You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. Yes, that is what he should do; that is who he is; who he has always been.
So I did not marry a farmer. But I do find myself married to a farmer.
The “busy” times of farming are suppose to be spring and fall, but truth be told, life on the farm is always busy…there is always something that needs to be done. My husband is working harder than he has ever worked in his life, but he is happy and fulfilled in what he is doing. And even though I have done my share of complaining, I like this new adventure. We are a team, and I knew, in my heart, this move was the right thing for him. And if it is the right thing for him, it’ll be the right thing for me. We are figuring it out and making it work. That “other life” seems far in the distance now — it’s like he has always been farming. It is who we are; who we were meant to be.
We didn’t exactly move “back to the farm”. Our new home is still in a neighborhood, however, it is very rural. We live in a small town of about 700 people, and most of them still travel by horse and buggy or bicycles. We are in the mid-west and reside in the heart of an Amish community, Shipshewana. Farming and buggies — it seems as though I have stepped back in time.
Instead of pictures of our home farm and equipment, I thought it would be fun to share pictures of how our neighbors live and work. The Amish do not use modern equipment to farm — no tractors or combines! They use the original “horse power”.
Here is a peek at my “rural America”. (click on pictures for a larger view)