Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On repeat

It was 8:11am on Holy Saturday.  We were headed southwest in Brent's farm truck.  A 13 year old, ruddy-orange, extended cab Chevy pick-up with rusty fenders and 128,753 miles of memories.

The extended cab was full.  Six family members equals two booster seats, a toddler chair, an eight-year-old squeezed between mom and dad and their coffee mugs and smart phones, and a homemade livestock crate strapped down in the back.


Our destination was Garden City - birthplace and hometown of my true love. 165 miles to get there.  And home again.   (384 miles from my own hometown, by the way.  Love knows no boundaries.)

Our goal was to return with a 4H pig in that crate.  And, to make the most of a quick trip, have an Easter lunch with Brent's family - pork burgers, baked beans and all the fixins at the farm, arrange an Easter egg hunt for the kids and their cousins, and swing thru Target for a pair of nice sandals for the next day's Mass.

About 30 miles down the road, Brent inquired about the goings-on of my Dad and his farm.

"I'm not sure what he's up to today.  Let's call him and see."

My smart phone tracked him down 249 miles in the opposite direction.  He was headed out the door to check cows and work on his planter.  I gave him a full update on our adventure.  He laughed out loud as he envisioned the sight of us heading down the highway.

"All you really need to complete the look," he said, "are a few old tires and an opened bag of feed in the back and a round of slur-pees for all the kids."  He could barely get the word slur-pee out before the hilarity of his creativity consumed him. 

It's only so hilarious because he's been there.  The only difference - I was the eight-year-old riding shotgun, my seven-year-old brother beside me, stock-racks in the back of a '79 Chevy pick-up hauling our 4H pigs to town for the county fair.  My mom and younger sisters had to stay behind.  No extended cab pick-up.  And no smart phones to text them we'd stopped for an ice cream cone and would be home a little late.

So many moments of my adult life are repeating the days of my childhood.

Finishing up chores with just enough daylight to get in some batting practice.  Been there.

Getting by on used equipment and hand-me-down supplies.  Done that.

Taking a small farm in need of lots of attention and slowly working into something to be proud of.  Doin' it tomorrow.  (And the next day, and the next day...)

These deja-vu moments are frequent.

When I set out to make my own path, I certainly didn't expect to end up on the same road as my parents.  Sure, I shared my dad's love for the farm and my mom's passion for family.  Yet, the merger of two has yielded more nostalgia than I ever expected.

I read once that the goal of Generation X (Brent and I) is to reach the same standard of living as achieved by their Baby Boomer parents.  I'd say we're slowly, but surely, on our way.

By early evening on Holy Saturday, we were headed Northeast.  Two - not just one - pigs in the homemade crate.  Four tired and dirty kids with bags of Easter goodies stashed beneath the seats.  A pair of sandals for church.  About a dozen bags of groceries crammed in front of the pig crate for the next day's Easter dinner.  And two parents who, on most days, feel like staying one step ahead of this crazy life is all they'll ever accomplish.

And we'll be doin' it again tomorrow.

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