Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Twice a Day for Ten Days

I'm writing this column wearing latex gloves covered in hand sanitizer because I'm a first-time mom and nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.    

Twice a Day for Ten Days:

I'd love to tell you those were doctors' orders for something far more exciting, but no. 

In our house if it ends in "cillin" or has both an "x" and a "y" in the name, is liquid and isn't part of the alphabet song, you can bet we've been prescribed it in the last three weeks. 

(Two) Double ear infections. 
5 teeth. 
Respiratory virus. 
Eyes matted so badly that we ran Caroline's tiny hands along the cows so that she knew she was home without seeing proof. 
Life in general. 


When I was 13 my Dad broke his arm after a suspense lever came loose on a loading chute. He went about his business for two days with his arm resting on a 2 x 4 board and took two aspirin. When his hand began to turn green he decided to get it checked out. I just wasn't raised in a home that over-medicates. 

So drugs in this house are like the gluten in a Seattle condo: they don't belong and we aren't sure how to use them.

I keep telling myself that by the time Caroline is school age, she'll get the award for 12 years of perfect attendance because she has been exposed to every germ on both sides of the Mississippi. More times than once. 
Indiana to Kansas. 
Kansas to Indiana. 
Indiana to Kansas.  
Does perfect attendance merit scholarships? 
Asking for a friend. 

During our last Pediatric center visit (Caroline thinks this is our vacation home) Caroline waved good-bye to everyone in the joint as though she knew she'd see them next week. Our daughter may be both intuitive and super social, and I link that to genetics. She is double bred. 

Our health insurance is getting a full run for its money because on Monday I had a dentist appointment over my lunch hour. 

Between the initial cleaning and the consultation with the dentist I fell asleep in the chair. 
Like....really asleep. 
As in chin to chest, drool, asleep. 
I woke to the young dentist (re)(re)reintroducing herself and trying to shake my limp hand. 
All while I was still trying to figure out where I was and how I got there. 

I wiped the drool from my chin and explained that I had fallen asleep. She laughed awkwardly and explained that - for the first time in 13 years - I have cavity that needs filled. 
Why does everyone want my money?

Last night - in an effort to clean out the deep freezer - I thawed steaks that had been stored too long. I was embarrassed, in fact, that cuts such as those as fallen to the back of the freezer and weren't grilled during the greatest opportunity. I thawed and seasoned them anyway. 

While praying over our supper Cody held my hand and Caroline's and closed with "And we pray that the grey meat Lindsay prepared doesn't hurt any of us."

Amen, buddy. 


But I have peace of mind knowing that anything that he and I consumed last night can be addressed with something taken "twice a day for ten days."

Two serious questions:

1. Does this count? 
2. Does our health insurance cover it?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Letter from a Stranger

I write a weekly column for our local newspaper. It reflects a lot of content from this blog, except I try to remember to remove the cuss words and also  keep in mind that there is a high probability that my former teachers will read every word in print. No pressure. 

I’ve heard from several, quite random, individuals that they subscribe to the paper and enjoy my farm life perspective and the adventures I encounter as a farm wife. I very much appreciate that feedback from the paper’s urban audience, as I write with transparency to tell our story of a family in agriculture. I tend to believe that there are few other public columns that will admit that this week’s farm adventure is a mouse in the silverware drawer. 
Even though we have a barn cat that sleeps on our front step. 
Figure that one out. 

Anyway, I’ve also received really poor feedback about grammatical errors or my inaccurate telling of our lifestyle, but I don’t think that negativity deserves mentioning here. I buried that hatchet in the back yard out by the chicken coop along side our dear Shadow, God rest her skinny, strung out soul.

But the feedback I received Monday night tops them all.

Under a stack of cattle sale catalogs, insurance bills, vet invoices, Elder-Beerman advertisements and a single (gorgeous, sparkly) wedding invitation, rested this letter inside our mailbox.

Though the note was addressed quite vaguely, it was delivered by the rural postal service (two weeks after being time stamped), anyhow. I do love rural America. 

Mrs. Smith, an out-of-town Gazette subscriber, wrote to tell me that she finds my column quite interesting (is that like saying I'm special?) and she reads it each time I'm published. She also noted that she is 91 years old.

You can imagine my excitement here, folks. I had just opened a time machine in my mailbox!

The reason for her correspondence was to tell me a story about her mother drying clothes before the days of electric dryers. My column about the farmhouse register brought back some memories that she felt compelled to share. 

Early in the 3-page letter, she asked if I was Stephen’s daughter?
By the end of the letter, she had apparently talked herself out of her previous guess because she wondered if “Perhaps you’re Phillip’s daughter?” I’m certain this is why she wrote c/o Phillip Bowman on the envelope. 

I think it is important to note that I have not lived with my Dad (and mom), Phillip, in nine years, and four years before that I resided at Purdue. Also, my parents don’t even have an Economy address. In the spirit of small-town America, the letter arrived to our rural homestead, anyway. 

I assume she got my city and state correct because at the end of my column it always reads, “Lindsay Sankey resides outside Economy and raises Angus and Shorthorn cattle with her husband and daughter. She is the writer behind Jean’s Boots Are Made For Talking,”

Mrs. Smith certainly pays attention to details.

This letter, though simple and scattered and maybe a bit shaky, is quite valuable because it came from someone who wanted to pass on encouragement to a stranger. 
For no reason, other than to pass on encouragement to a stranger. 
Because this lady took the time to sit down and write a letter to tell me that what I do makes a positive difference, I'll keep this note forever. 

And I will read it on the bad days. 

And so I challenge you 
(and by putting it in writing, I challenge myself) 
to write a letter to someone who 
has brought positivity into your life. 

Maybe someone at the gym
Maybe someone in the waiting room
Maybe someone you haven't talked to in years
Maybe someone at church
Maybe someone in your family
Maybe someone you do business with
Maybe someone you actually don't really care for
Maybe someone waiting on you behind the counter
Maybe someone at work
Maybe someone you've never actually met
There is no better time than now to let them know. 
Well, maybe yesterday. But now is a good time, too. 
Put it in writing that they are appreciated.

I will keep Mrs. Smith's heartfelt note forever.

And now that I know the 91-year-old is reading weekly, I’ll be TRIPLE checking to ensure that every cuss word is omitted from the weekly Gazette column. 

A detail worth passing on:
In her signature, Mrs. Smith put her maiden name in parenthesis. 
Some gals just have a hard time letting go of their daddy's name. 
I get it, Mrs. Jones, I get it. 

The best, 

Lindsay (Bowman) Sankey