Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Barbie's Brand

There is a special place in my heart for First Ladies

I've never done a book report on any of them, not yet read a biography and could only pick the last nine or so out of a crowd. 

Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, Pat Nixon, and Lady Bird Johnson

Women of class, patience, structure, grace, nerves of steel and put-together faces, each of them. But beside that, each made a difference in their own ways:

Betty Ford removed the stigma of alcoholism after sharing her own battle and opening the Betty Ford Clinic. 
As first lady Nancy Reagan became almost synonymous with her Just Say No campaign against drug abuse.
We'll always remember Barbara Bush for her work and legacy in literacy. She was the one who encouraged us feverishly to read to our children.
Michelle Obama will be remembered for her campaign to eliminate childhood obesity. 
And on the other hand, Dolley Madison will always be remembered for her fantastic personally-packaged baked goods. 

Wrong gal?

We were watching the coverage of Barbara's death last evening in the living room, the three of us. Ironically, as decades of First Lady footage played on our television, I sat with Caroline, a stack of bedtime books next to us. We don't go to bed before reading around a dozen each night. 

Once I got Caroline to bed, I sat and continued to watch the coverage of a life well lived by a woman who gave so much to her family and the world. As we watched in silence, I wondered about my life's mission and if one day people will be able to so easily recall my mission as they can with Betty, Barbara, Michelle and others. 

Would it be my constant calling to find the best in (almost) every day?
Would it be my willingness to forfeit comfort to save a few bucks?
Would it be my preference of humor to alleviate life's general, nagging pain?

My mental quest for answers was interrupted: 

"I almost forgot! I picked something up for you today," Cody said, breaking the silent observation of Bush coverage and jumping out of his recliner. "Be right back." He left the house, but was back in less than two minutes. 

He came into the living room and tossed this onto the couch where I was sitting:

"Your own bale knife! 
I know you love that Elanco one you've had forever 
but this one is pink. 
And I know you hate pink 
but at least you know I won't borrow it," he continued. 
"And in was in the sale bin 
- less than five dollars - 
so I knew you'd be happy about that."

My husband - with whom I share my home and life - travelled throughout his day and was reminded of me when when he spotted a $3 pink blade knife in the bargain bin.

I guess in terms of creating my 
brand, mission and legacy, 
I have a way 
- as in, many, many miles - 
to go. 

Oh Barbie, teach me your ways. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Forever Gone

My sister is just returning from a spring break trip with her family. They went to a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, passing a whole week by soaking up sun beachside, sipping fruity drinks and enjoying unlimited ice cream after dinner.

Cody, Caroline and I returned a few weeks ago from our family spring break trip. We went to an all-inclusive resort in South Dakota, and by resort, I mean his sister’s house. There was a bull sale on the high plains we didn’t want to miss. We enjoyed jalapeƱo beef jerky from the Dakota Butcher meat shop and each of us packed our insulated work boots for the haul northwest.

If there was ever a brief comparison story to illustrate the differences between two sisters, our spring break destinations would be it.  

While we were gone, I failed to have our mail stopped. Between trying to pack Caroline and I’s clothes and coats into a single carry-on bag, detailing the chores for our help on a single sheet of paper, moving cattle around so work load would be lighter, wrapping up a few writing projects so I wouldn’t have to take my computer…stopping the mail delivery completely slipped my mind.

You can imagine my surprise when I walked to the mailbox on our first day home to find no mail. Not a single piece. Not even the newspaper. I called Mom to ask if she’d picked it up, by chance. She hadn’t. I visited the post office to see if they held it, by chance. They hadn’t. In fact, our deliverer confirmed that we had a normal, heavy load of mail each day we were gone.

I’ll tell you, it is an uneasy feeling knowing that there was mail and communication directed to you and it is forever lost. Especially over a series of days. We have no way of knowing what we’ve missed, what importance it held or who has that information now.

I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that forever gone are the annoying, constant AARP solicitations that I began receiving when I turned 30. Yes, I still remember when thirty was old, and I really don't like to think about it. 

Forever gone are the Reid Health bills that I inevitably would have had to call for clarification on. That actually saved me some time. 

Forever gone are the sale catalogs from all over the country promoting the next great one

Forever gone are the Elder-Beerman coupons that would have been really valuable this weekend. I heard they’re still honoring their 70-percent off yellow dot clearance, and you can’t put a price on that! Let's not even think about possible spring catalogs for Pendleton or Rod's that I'll never see.

Think of the money I'll save. 

Forever gone are the invitations to switch internet providers, cell phone providers and insurance agents. Adios. 

Forever gone are any possible payments we might have received on cattle or genetics sold over the last couple months. How do you tactfully request payment when you’re not sure they didn’t already send it?

Forever gone are the VOTE FOR ME election propaganda postcards.

Forever gone are the list of possible bills, save the dates, spring wedding invitations and extension office reminders. If you’re reading this: can someone please resend those?

Forever gone is an entire list of possibilities: personal letters, Easter cards from great grandmothers who live far west of here, Cattle Business Weekly editions we’ll never see again and even Publisher’s Clearinghouse opportunities. What if this was our shot at the big check? Except, I think that is probably one of those things you actually have to play to win.

We’ve come to terms with several days of lost mail. But if the person who swiped it is reading this: Will you kindly return anything of importance? Or, just pay all bills in full, and on time, and we’ll call it even.

The last thing I need is some postal pillager giving me a bad credit score.