God puts people into your paths at the most unusual and unsuspecting times!
When we began this harvesting adventure, Jim’s Dad went with us as the hired man for the first two years that we headed down the road. We loved having Grandpa with us and it was the BEST times and memories for Jamie and Jenna (all of us, really). Grandpa was there every day, watching the girls’ teeth being pulled, the first time riding a bike with no training wheels and there at the end of the day for a hug and a lap to sit in.
It was the third year of this adventure that we decided we’d make it a longer summer and maybe we should find someone to go with us rather than Grandpa. I remember Jim telling me, “I don’t know this kid personally but I know of him and I think he’d be good to take along-he likes equipment”. Mark was 16 when that conversation took place. I remember going to the store his mom owned to suggest the idea of Mark going along with us for the summer. Linda wasn’t real excited about the idea at first but after coming to our home and talking over the situation and what was to be expected, I think she was a little less concerned. Mark is the youngest of three boys so I can understand her hesitation of letting him take off at that age. Mark’s dad had passed away when he was 8 years old from a virus that attacked his heart. Before he could get a heart transplant, he passed away. Mark was the kind of kid that wasn’t afraid to try something and really wanted to go along with us. That probably helped with his mom’s decision.
The first summer he went with us, Grandpa also went. So, I had two men, a 16 year old boy and two young daughters to take care of. I didn’t mind the job, it was the rain that confined us for 30 days in Norton, KS that nearly drove me crazy. Seriously! I needed some adult female conversation and companionship in a bad way! Every day, there three men (almost) and two little girls sitting in my trailer just waiting for something to eat – nearly as soon as they had been fed one meal. I can laugh about it now but it wasn’t so funny at the time.
Mark became one of the family. He fought with Jamie and Jenna, just like an older brother. He was involved in our daily lives and fit in pretty well. There were times I think he and Jim probably felt like would like to kill each other but all in all, it worked out well. So, it wasn’t a surprise to us when he voiced his wanting to go on harvest with us the next summer. Grandpa didn’t go with us after the summer of ’92. Mark had finished his junior year of high school prior to that summer harvest. He had his own trailer house and probably felt like a big shot harvester by then. 🙂
Mark had made the decision of going along with us again for the third summer in 1994. He was a senior in high school when on the morning of April 1, he got word from his school administration that he needed to go home. His mom had complained of a headache that morning before he left for school. He told her goodbye before she decided that she needed to go lay back down for a while. She never woke up. It was determined that she had had a brain aneurism. My heart broke for him and his brothers! I can remember telling Jim that Mark needed to come live with us. When Mark’s dad passed away, Linda had appointed some friends of the family as guardians of any minor children in the event something happened to her. So, Mark had a family to live with and call home.
That summer was a tough one on Mark. We sat on the tailgate of the pickup many nights just talking and crying. Someone else claimed guardianship but Mark had become a part of our family two summers prior to that horrible event. God knew the plan that was being laid out for Mark and the Zeorian’s that very first summer!
Mark bought his own combine in 1995 and went on harvest as a partner with one of our friends for several summers. Until he met Candi and they were married. After they got married, Mark and Candi bought the local convenient store and made that work for quite some time. Three years ago, however, he sold the store and went to work for the local New Holland dealer. His heart really desired to remain involved with agriculture. As with Jim, Mark is a farmer at heart with no farm to farm. He also suffers from the same harvesting addiction that so many of us do.
As soon as he started selling the yellow combines, Mark tried convincing Jim to change colors and give the yellow one a try. Well, you can see he eventually won out because of the color change we made this spring. Mark and his family just spent their second year working for the New Holland Harvest Support team. Now, he and his family follow the harvest trail from TX to ND with the ripening wheat offering help to those of us New Holland combine owners. He’s following his own harvest adventure and I’m so very proud of him and all that he’s accomplished! Mark is still one to make things happen. He doesn’t know the word “no” or “impossible”. His level of persistence can sometimes get aggravating but it’s what has made him who he is and I wouldn’t want him any other way! I love ya, Mark!
Mark and Candi have two little girls, Brooklyn and Jillian, who call me Grandma and that’s just ok with me! They are the cutest darn girls in the whole world and loved whole heartedly by all of the Zeorian family. They were even flower girls in Jamie and Curt’s wedding in April.
Harvest can sometimes be more than just the adventure of heading down the highways from state to state – it can be a life changing event. I honestly believe people are put into our lives for a reason. What could be a better way to be involved in someone’s life than with harvest? Harvest is working together every day, working towards the same goal, and promoting team work. One job is not more important than the other. Harvest has put a variety of people in our lives and we’re blessed because of the experiences. I’m so thankful God put Mark and his family into our lives!
The Happiest Place on Earth!