how things change

img_7716Credit for this picture goes to Taylor.

4th of July…always a holiday that was a bit of a struggle to celebrate when the girls were little.

If there was wheat to cut, the day was spent “as usual” on the custom wheat harvesting journey. If there was work to do…it was #1 priority. But we always purchased a whole lot of fireworks knowing that at the end of the day, wherever we were or whatever we were doing, they would be lit and enjoyed.

So many memories come flooding back when this day arrives. A couple that come easy include the year that Mark Rathe purchased a whole slug of fireworks for the girls and left them on the seat of the grain truck as a surprise. He had a combine that year and was on his way to his next stop. They were SO EXCITED!

Another memory…While cutting in Norton, KS, the fireworks stand was just down the road from the trailer park. I think the girls (and Mark) wore a rut in the sidewalk buying what they could before the fireworks stand closed for the night.

There were times spent in the field. One 4th was spent watching the fireworks from the top of a wheat filled “Jimmy” (grain truck). “One of the best 4th of July’s ever!” according to Taylor.

One year we took the fireworks to the field and sat in the middle of a plowed summer fallow field and shot off our fireworks. The tradition of bbq hamburgers, hotdogs and Jenna’s famous Rice Krispie flag goes along with each of these memories.

IMG_42881In 2013, Miss America 2011 spent the afternoon with us in the field. How many people can say Miss America has ridden in your combine? I think Jimbo was a bit giddy…we hit a wall (a big, cement one)

img_1262I think in last year’s posting, I tried to mention every place we’ve celebrated the 4th. I also started to realize the changes I was about to experience due to the girls growing up and beginning their own traditions…distant fireworksJenna visited us in the field that afternoon. 

photo-2-1-Copy-e1404623819527Jordan (our 7th member of the family and most favorite dog) HATED fireworks. I relive this memory in my July 4, 2012 posting…celebrating the 4th “wheatie” style.   Jenna came to Garden City for the weekend. She’s here to get her combine fix with Mat and his brother and their crew. She came to Deerfield yesterday afternoon and hung out with me. We took a walk over to the “lake” and reminisced the times we stood at the edge of the water and watched Jordan. The campfires we had next to the lake which included Callie playing her guitar. It was the 4th of July that Jordan tried burning the place down with the firework that we laughed about the most. The lake is dry now and nothing looks the same as it did that summer. One thing is certain – change. 

100_3102I’m still not sure how we’ll celebrate America’s birthday this year. I know each of the girls will be celebrating in their own way. I am thankful for the many years of memories we had together as a family – in the wheat fields. Their traditions will now begin and something different will be what we have to look forward to until the “new” normal gets figured out. But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I don’t get a little emotional not having them all here with me like it used to be.




2 comments on “how things change

  1. Tom Stegmeier says:

    Time stands still for no one , thanks so much for the pictures & stories of your 4th of July memories. Is Jim the only Custom Harvester to have Miss America ride in a New Holland combine ? I can remember those pics on All Aboard Wheat Harvest from a few years back , your green hands from unplugging a weed choked combine !!! When I farmed we were always to busy to celebrate Canada Day. As I’am posting this I told me Sandi that this old plow jocky has never seen live fire works,go figger EH !!! Enjoy your 4th of July !!!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Ahhhh you’re missing out! You MUST take time to see the fireworks! I love them.

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