Friday, September 21, 2007

Daughter's Scary Dream

This post will connect somewhat to the previous one. The morning after Sam's funeral my daughter the college student sent me a text message on my cell phone. It said, "Give dad a hug for me. I had a dream that he died in my arms last night and so did brother. I didn't sleep good because of it." Husband was standing nearby so I hugged him and showed him the message. Before I could even feel a bit fearful, something dawned on was because of my daughter's words, "he died in my arms". The same words that Sam's sister had said to me yesterday at the funeral.

Because I've had many experiences that seem to indicate some sort of thought transference going on, especially with people I'm close to, like my daughters and my mother, I wondered if this might be what happened. These are just my theories, based on what I've experienced over the years.

Yesterday, when Sam's sister was telling me about Sam's death in her arms, we were crying and hugging, making for a very emotional moment. Perhaps in this emotional, somewhat distressed state, my mind sent out a message, and my college daughter's unconscious mind picked it up. She would have been in class right then, though, so her conscious mind was in command. Maybe the message concerning his death "in my arms" lingered in my daughter's unconscious mind and came forth in a dream that night. The message was distorted and garbled, but it contained "he died in my arms", a brother dying, and a father dying. Sam was my friend's brother, and my friend had also lost her father tragically many years ago, and that memory was in my mind as I spoke to her by Sam's casket.

This theory may sound crazy to some, but it seems possible to me. I want to also say that for a few seconds there by Sam's casket, when his sister was describing his death in her arms, I almost felt like I was on holy ground. Her faith in God is very strong, and she must have been a great comfort to Sam in his last hours. None of us would wish to have someone die in our arms, but maybe it is very much a privilege when that happens.

I quickly replied to my daughter's text message, telling her I might know the reason she had the dream, and that she should just relax, say a prayer for dad and brother, and not worry.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Special Funeral

We're past the middle of September now, with sure signs of autumn and harvest all around. Today, even the orange ladybugs (Asian beetles) arrived! How nice! Hoards of them leave newly-harvested soybean fields, and fill the air and invade houses. Most of the time, they don't bite or sting, except on very warm days, like today.....then they do. They get into every little cranny possible, between window sashes, in door frames, in woodwork. When smashed, they smell bad, and once I accidently chewed on one while eating popcorn, and believe me, they taste as bad as they smell!

This morning, on my walk, I missed a perfect photo opportunity.......I was walking by the edge of a cornfield from which a huge flock of blackbirds suddenly arose and flew en masse up to the adjacent power lines. They hovered for a few seconds over the cornfield, with the luminous morning sky in the background......that would have made a great photo, if only I had had my camera with me. Darn. In the ditch along our gravel road, there are lovely purple asters blooming, with Indian grass waving above them. Other various foliage are turning gold and red. Not many leaves have changed color on the trees, though, yet.

This afternoon I attended a funeral at a nearby country church. The deceased was the 37-year-old brother of an old school friend of mine. Sam had been born with special needs, and his family had lovingly cared for him all these years. His father had died suddenly when Sam was only three, and his mother was left to care for him and run their farm. She was incredibly devoted to Sam. Anyway, the funeral was unique and special, as I knew it would be. First of all, before the service started, as we were awaiting the entrance of the family, part of a light fixture suddenly fell from high in the ceiling, fortunately falling onto an empty pew. As if someone up there wanted to get our attention!

The pastor gave a nice eulogy and then there was a chance for anyone in the audience to stand up and share remembrances of Sam. There were a few that did, mostly neighboring farmers with memories of how Sam enjoyed riding along in the combine at harvest time, or how he would peek out from behind trees to watch them working in the fields near his home.

Sam never learned to speak, except that he could say the word "no". He could write some words, too. The only TV show he seemed to like was "M.A.S.H.". He loved to watch trains, and was delighted whenever he and his mother had to sit and wait for a train to go by at a railroad crossing. He enjoyed musical toys and had many of them, and loved to annoy his mother by starting up all the toys at once to make lots of noise. When company came over, he would play his musical toys for the visitors.

The church building we were in is only six years old, because seven years ago a tornado ripped through the neighborhood, destroying the church and several farmsteads, including Sam's. Sam's mother had gone to get groceries that afternoon, so Sam was home alone when the tornado came through. His brother and sister-in-law, from their farm across the section, could see the tornado approaching. They phoned Sam and told him to go to the basement, but he was stubborn, and would not go. Later, when Sam's brother arrived, he found the house flattened and no sign of Sam. He started searching and eventually found Sam covered in dirt and stuck down in the hole of an uprooted tree! He had a badly broken leg, but otherwise was OK. It was an amazing story which made the local news. Sam's sister, my old friend, made a wonderful scrapbook, which we looked at before the funeral, showing the tornado story, and the subsequent building of a new house for Sam and his mother.

This was the first funeral I've attended where the casket was left open at the front of the church during the service. Maybe it was because of what the family planned to do at the end of the service. They took Sam's favorite musical toy up there, and wound it up and let it play. It was a thanksgiving turkey stuffed toy, but I couldn't tell what the song was. When the toy was done playing, they put it in the casket by Sam and the funeral directors shut the lid. All of a sudden we could hear the toy start to play again......quite a moment......I literally was laughing and crying at the same time, as were many others in the crowd!

The pastor gave a meaningful little message about Sam's life. He said that sometimes in God's rose garden there are rosebuds which never manage to mature beyond the bud stage, for some unknown reason. They are beautiful in their own way, however, as Sam was to his family and to all who were acquainted with him. The pastor also said that the family told him that Sam had been stacking boxes by the door of his home lately, as if getting ready to go somewhere. And go somewhere he Heaven!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Filling Silo

Fun, fun.....we're filling silo today! That means we're chopping the whole corn plants into bits and blowing the conglomeration up through a pipe into the top of the silo. Our neighbor and his son from across the road are here to help. They brought their big newish John Deere tractor and their chopper. We have a chopper head to put on it.......their chopper head is the wrong size for our corn rows. The chopper blows the corn mix into a silage wagon pulled behind it. The full wagons are brought to the silo and unloaded into a blower which forces the silage up the pipe and into the silo. Its a great plan if everything works! So far, things are working well today.

For the guys' lunch I fixed maid-rites, with corn, grapes, chips, lemonade, and raspberry crunch with ice cream for dessert. We had a fun visit around the table, catching up on the latest neighborhood and family news.

The weather today is really, actually. I love September warmth, though, because it is less humid than earlier in the summer.

Guess what we did on Labor Day, the day before yesterday.....we labored! But, it was fun labor. Husband baled hay into big round bales and we spent the afternoon bringing them up from the field. I got to drive the old John Deere 630 tractor pulling two hayracks, onto which Husband would put several big round bales with the skid loader. As I drove the Johnny-popper back and forth from the field, it reminded me of being a kid and driving our old John Deere A tractor.......the first tractor I ever learned to drive. I don't know for sure, but I think the A is from the early 1940's, and the 630 from the 1950's. There are many similarities in the two. The have the same hand clutch on the right side, and the same gear shifting apparatus. Throttle up above the steering wheel on the right. The 630 has power steering......the A did not, hence the need for the spinner knob on the steering wheel. Both tractors have that characteristic popping sound when they run.

When I was a little kid, we also had a really old Farmall F-20 tractor. It had to be started with a crank, and I would cover my ears and almost cry when it was started, it sounded so scary to me. I think its still sitting in my brother's barn. We also had a Farmall IH 560 tractor, which I drove alot for fieldwork and hauling corn wagons. It had no cab, and my dad would put the canvas "heat-houser" on it when the weather turned cold, to help keep the driver warm. I loved the 560, and the sound of it accelerating......great fun to drive, for it felt so powerful! We didn't get a cab tractor until I was in high school......that one was an IH 656......having a cab to sit in seemed like an absolute luxury!

When I got married, I had to switch allegiance from red tractors to orange, because Husband's family used mainly Allis-Chalmers tractors, and then Husband bought the JD 630 later. I think we should fix it up nice and drive it in parades.....that would be fun!

Anyway, silo-filling here will take a couple of days, and then Husband will help the neighbors do theirs. I'm glad we're doing it this way now, so there's enough help. My father-in-law is just not able to help with this anymore, and our sons are in school, leaving us with not many helpers around.

I need to go fold laundry and sweep the kitchen. Part of the lawn needs mowed, but I'll wait until later when the sun is less intense. I got sunburned the other day out on the tractor all afternoon. I also need to go hunt for our mother cat.....she got in a fight with the dog this morning and went sulking into the machine shed. Her kitties are crying for her, even though they're old enough to be weaned.

I could never have a job off the farm.......there are just too many things to do around here!