Always stay humble and kind

In the High Plains Journal office, as well as on the farm, life can be a pressure cooker!

My son informed me he would not be able to help this weekend with the pickling. His boss was on vacation, he was headed out West to the Ashland Rodeo Saturday night, and he needed to be back to work Sunday morning by 6:30 to unload semis of incoming cattle to the starter yard. I would be on my own.

I rolled out Saturday morning;  fed the bottle calves; topped off their water and the horse’s water; and headed to the garden. This week the Roma tomatoes turned. But, the big surprise was the watermelons. By the time my son came home at 1 p.m., I had lugged out a big pile of melons to the shade under the tree where he parks. He snap-chatted a picture of that to his friends!

Shortly, he drove off for the rodeo. In the living quarters of his horse trailer was the biggest watermelon for his old boss at Englewood, plus a pail of tomatoes and several yellow squash. And, there were five big bags of cucumbers for some of his friends.

I hunkered down and cooked and froze bacon and sausage for breakfast burritos. Then, I made enchiladas and packaged those for his weekly lunches. There was only one load of jeans to wash and hang out, to my relief. Then it was time for to feed the bucket calves again. I watered the garden, washed a pile of dishes, and called it a day.

My cowboy rode in at 1:30 a.m. and was back downstairs before 6:30 to unload the incoming cattle.

After chores, I started peeling and slicing cucumbers.

We were blessed with an unusual cloud cover all morning. My son was back early—by 10:30—and I started helping him tackle some yard work. He then went to find out where the horses were getting cut, and I went back to pick garden one last time; it’s easy to miss something.

At a late lunch, my son snapped a bit. I blinked back tears and went to give the garden a good dusting. Soon, I was surprised to see my son come out the door and make a beeline my way. He apologized, and it melted my heart. I knew he was bone tired, but he still cared enough to make things right.

By 6:30 that night, I had 16 quarts of cucumber, onion, and green peppers packed; but I was “done.” Thump, thump, thump. My son always runs down his stairs. After a nap, he mercifully jumped in to help—measuring sugar and vinegar, and I tossed in the spice. He caught when I forgot the salt. Then, he caught again when I forgot to stir the mix on the stove burner. Oops! But, in short order, we got ‘er done. And, I insisted we whip out the egg burritos for his breakfast, too. A man’s gotta eat.

Back in the office Monday, I’m still thinking of that Tim McGraw song, “Always Stay Humble and Kind.” I love those lyrics. We can all overwork and get snippy. My son likes this Pastor Andy Stanley saying: “With the people you love, you only have two choices. Hope for the best, or expect the worst.” I’m thankful for a son that always practices mercy; and he provokes me, as well, to treat people right.