Remember the trip we took early this year? We went back home to see family. Here we are with Joshua. He is gonna be totally crushed that he's not the tallest one anymore! Jared has probably got at least a full inch on him now. That picture is at my mom's house and I was exhausted and had a terrible ear infection. The kids were so happy to see their big brother and their grandma again.
There are Jared and Caleb and my friend Sam's son Patrick. Patrick was just a kid when I worked for his dad at the dairy farm and in the bakery they had, now he is married and helping to run his dad's farm. He is also building a really nice house and has grown into quite a nice and interesting young man. Jared likes Patrick's truck..... too bad he didn't learn how to drive a manual transmission before he wrecked Patrick's truck. Patrick being the really nice guy he is told Jared not to worry and still took him and Caleb to a basketball game after the day's work was done on the farm.
I don't care where you take Jared, if there is water he will be in it and he doesn't care if it's February and cold outside. At least he wasn't swimming in the waterfall I guess, that's what I did the last time I went down there. You can't see the waterfall, it's far off to the right, and it's one of my favorite places in the world.
I wish I could show you what it looks like in the late spring or early summer!! Missouri is truly one of the most beautiful places...... but this was mud season, you know, the time between winter and spring.... it's hard to look pretty during mud season.
Jared is sitting there patting the cow (who could care less really), notice in the background Caleb is trying to get Patrick to let him fix the motorcycle and go for a ride through the pasture. Sometimes it's hard to see these boys as brothers, they are so totally different.
This is one of Caleb's favorite pictures ever. He is on the right, Troy is in the middle, and Troy's dad is on the left. Troy's dad could barely see in this picture, he had suffered a small stroke a little over a week before Taeler took the picture. We hadn't realized it because our family hadn't been close but Caleb had never met his grandpa until the trip he and I took back home. Those two go together like peanut butter and jelly, you would never guess that they hadn't spent every day together.
Taeler is standing on the right and the pretty girl on the left is her cousin Genevieve. They are almost exactly 9 months apart in age, Taeler is older, and as little kids they were inseparable. They were always together and we all just naturally said Gen-Gen everytime we said Tae-Tae..... yes, we did call them those goofy little kid names too.
Music has always been a really big part of life in Troy's family..... not on the radio, but live in the livingroom. Troy's dad was thrilled to hear the kids sing and play and was just tickled to pieces that they love bluegrass and gospel as much as he does. I was tickled to sit on the sofa and listen to them play some old gospel songs and listen to the memories they have together. Troy's dad is the one on the left toward the back of the picture, Troy is playing the guitar, his sister Kathy is standing beside him, Taeler is in the blue sitting down on the right, and Jared is sitting on the left. This was a Sunday evening after church so the kids were ready to sit and visit and sing for awhile.
Fred makes a cute cow rider..... that poor cow put up with almost all of us taking turns sitting on her. Yes, I did ride the cow, and NO you can't see the picture!
Taeler and Jared don't really care for milking the cows. They both felt much better watching that particular activity. They both remember doing it when they were younger and not liking it much then. They would rather feed the critters or cut wood or clean something than be in the milking parlor. They didn't stay in there long, they went to wash milk bottles instead.
Caleb loves to milk the cows, didn't mind being in the milking parlor at all and thinks that being a dairy farmer like Sam is the best thing in the world. I could totally see him doing that too, it may be one of the few things he is perfectly suited for.
We had the best time on our visit back home. The time flew by and before we knew it we had to leave. This picture is of my sweet friends you have read about here a few times before. The lady on the right is Miss Willie, and I don't know what I would have done as a young Christian without her. The Lord worked it out so that she was my next door neighbor and her husband Fred is a very nice godly man and was a real blessing to have as a neighbor too. We were able to spend some time with them and I hated to leave. Willie is one of the kindest people I have ever met..... when I was just a foul mouthed, very loud and very lost person moving in next door to her she was kind enough to share her faith with me. The friendship that we have nurtured all these years is beyond anything that either one of us have ever been able to put words to, other than to say "Thank you Lord".
This time of year I get a little extra homesick. I miss my family and friends there, I miss the dairy farm, and the way the woods smell when you go out to cut wood before the hard winter months get there. I miss the Saturday gatherings to cook for Sunday afternoon, and the hunter's breakfasts we would get up at 3 am to start getting ready. I miss sending the kids out to do chores and seeing them running around in their mud boots and carhart coats. I miss all the work we would put into preparing for the winter and for the holidays coming up, and how the ladies always threw in together to get it all done. I miss the "countryness" of it all, and the lack of formality about things.
I miss the hills and the rivers, and even mud season (which happens in the fall too). I look forward to the day when no place on this earth will be a place that I miss, and when I will never again have to say goodbye to someone I love.