Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Part One: Better With Age

Following a Memorial Day weekend spent out of town for a wedding, I came home to an alarming site:
Granola bars scattered across the kitchen floor. 
A Bonnie Mohr print that was once on a tripod, laying face down in the middle of the living room floor. 

And worst of all: My beloved fern in pieces across the dining room. 

Confused and quite freaked out, I spotted the bandit still inside our home, laying under the kitchen table...DEAD. 
But before dying, of course, it left droppings all throughout our house that sat empty for three days. 
A Starling. 
In our home. 
Reeking havoc. 
And demolishing my fern. 
I removed the disgusting bird (while crying and gagging simultaneously) with pliers and bleached the place down. 
Our home looked better, but the fern was a mess. It was as though the dirty bird nested there all weekend. I was sick. 
Sick over a house plant, you ask?

This fern isn't just any house plant. 
It is a symbol of things that 
get better with age. 

When I was a young girl, we visited Bob and Ula Marie House at Wonder View Farm. The names may ring a bell - or maybe not. They were the couple that sold Momma and Dad their (our) first Shorthorn cows. Rosewood was one of the great ones that came from the House family and Wonder View Farm, and today her story lives on at BSG.

Driving down their lane that evening was like stepping back in time. A beautiful, well-maintained yard. A full garden. No weeds in site. A modest white farmhouse which stood with great pride. While the guys went to the barn, I remember that Ula Marie invited Momma and I inside their home to exchange some information for our Home Extension Club. Momma was a fairly young member, and Ula Marie was quite active. As we entered the home, I couldn't help but notice dozens of ferns in the back entry way. Ferns of all sizes, in several different pots. Momma raved over them, and that's when Ula Marie told us about the profound significance of these ferns. 

Bob (who, as I write this, is 85-years-old) had a great-grandmother who maintained a fern at her homestead and would give "starts" of that fern to family members. She would separate the roots and place them into a new planter to begin, or "start", a whole new fern. 
Pieces of that original fern were passed down through the generations and the original plant spanned homes, families and decades. 
In 1951 Bob married Ula Marie, and Ula Marie was given her own "start" to the family fern.
The array of ferns that I observed as a young girl in the House Homestead was just a small sampling of how much that fern had reproduced - and thrived - over the years. 
I was amazed by it. 
Weathered by time, change, location, atmosphere, various owners and more - these ferns remained a testament to the power of all things that are able to stand the test of time and get better with age.  

As a young girl, the story of that family fern certainly remained in the back of my mind. Because of the symbolism they held for family and time-tested durability, ferns became my favorite plants, and I've used them widely as a homeowner over the last six years. Each time I bought - or buy - a fern, with gratitude I think of Bob and Ula Marie House and the "start" they gave my own family in terms of Shorthorn cattle. 

Aspiring to have a wedding day - and marriage - where even the smallest details hold great meaning, at our wedding last August we had nothing at the alter but ferns. 
My bouquet was made of ferns and The Growing Tree

BowSankey Wedding Flowers Getting Watered

As a wedding gift, Bob and Ula Marie gave Cody and I our very own "start" to the family fern. A gesture of heritage, dedication, durability and things that get better with age. 

Soooo.....It was our "start" that I found in the middle of the floor Sunday night. Perhaps you now understand why I'm nursing this plant back to life after the bird of death has demolished it.

In a world where few things actually improve over time, I find myself holding onto this darn heritage house plant with the hope that I can give someone else another "start" as Bob and Ula Marie gave my parents in cattle and Cody and I in marriage. 

Few things get better with age. 
But oh, some things do. 

Your friends
Your favorite song
Your favorite pair of jeans and boots
Love you give and receive
Your judgement
Your 401K plan
Your confidence
Your breeding program and legacy
Your antiques
Clint Eastwood and Sam Elliott
And let us not forget the The Wine.

Look around you. 
What things in your life can - or do - get better with age?
Do you appreciate them as you should?
How can you preserve them?
How can you make them better for the next?
Or Protect them?
Or Pass them on for the next generations?

I encourage you to be the kind of person who enjoys the things that get better with age. 

Because quite frankly, you're not getting any younger. 

This is the first of a two part series. 
Read tomorrow for the second half of Better With Age!

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