Sweet, Sweet Home

It’s amazing how days just roll by here. So much, and so little, has happened it’s hard to know where to begin. Suffice it to say the farm in the summertime is a hopping place.

Really.

Last Monday morning we woke up to our first Nebraska morning. Cooler than I thought it would be but far from actually being cool, our first day was spent primarily in the sour cherry trees out in the orchard. Completely full of ripe fruit and not able to wait another day, the six of us stood on ladders and large buckets picking and picking and picking until we were all soaking wet and sticky with juice. With so many buckets of newly picked cherries, the only thing to do next was to pit them all. Sitting on the deck getting stickier still, I was once again captured by the quiet of the place. Peaceful. Tranquil. The breeze stirring the trees. A far-off tractor. The boys laughing off in the barn. It was enough peace to silence even the clamor that occurs in my own head.  Usually, when faced with a mundane chore like pitting cherries, I plug in my iPod to create rhythm and a quicker pace. Not here. I wouldn’t dream of interrupting the soothing sound of the place itself. And the clock isn’t running either so there’s nothing to be gained by rushing.

And so we spent our first days: picking from the garden, mowing the yards, planning what to do next. The boys were thrilled to catch a glimpse of the only kitten to be born this year on the farm. “Sparky,” as Milt named her, is just a tiny fuzzy, black thing with huge eyes. It only took us a day of hand feeding her to get her to a place where we could pet her. And now, almost a week later, she’s tame enough to pick up, cuddles up against us when we sit outside, follows us when we walk away from her. The boys are smitten with her. The fish we carted from Pennsylvania largely forgotten–except by Nicholas who still checks in on them daily.

On Saturday Orlando’s family began to arrive. It’s a tradition for he and his sisters to gather at the farm for the Fourth of July. As his sisters and their families trickled in, the house filled with kids and dogs and general chaos. Of course I’m used to it—we do this every year. And of course we all visited the local fireworks trailer to pick out rockets and sparklers for the holiday. And of course we made meals for twenty plus people and tried to squeeze them all around a single table. And of course we went to the pool to cool off from the heat that crested 100 degrees on the garage thermometer. And of course, when the day came, we went into Seward, the neighboring town and self-proclaimed “Fourth of July City” for all the festivities. We watched local pilots turn their tricks in the airshow, run by local crop dusters and pilots who love to wow the hometown crowd with their courage. We browsed the quilts and art at the huge craft show, complete with any kind of Go Big Red ware you could possibly want. We waved to the horsemen and antique tractor riders and clowns and politicians and Czech queens in the local parade, standing with the crowd as the flag passed and giving a standing ovation to every single serviceman who walked by. Patriotism in its most honest, purest form. And of course we enjoyed a cookout complete with watermelon and homemade ice cream.

But the best part came later. We gathered the boys in the van and drove back into Seward for the fireworks display. Of course it’s a busy place so we had to leave the van several blocks away from the park where they blast the things. As we walked through the neighborhood, true to Nebraska tradition, every home was shooting off fireworks of their own. And they weren’t little either. The boys’ eyes were as wide as saucers and we walked through a veritable war zone of sky rockets and roman candles and artillery. The boomers clashing and spraying sparks overhead, it was both exhilarating and frightening. And beautiful. Even in my adult knowing that shooting fireworks from the middle of the street while cars drive by isn’t a smart thing, I must admit that it was cooler than cool to walk through the canopy of colored sparks and sprays.

But then, sitting on a blanket in the beautiful evening air, we sat together with the boys as the “real” fireworks burst overhead with every color and fizzle imaginable. They “ooohed” and “aahhed” with the crowd, snuggled closer for the really loud booms, and came away sleepy and content, feeling like they’d just lived through the “best day ever.”

And as we drove down the country road and the lights of the farm came into view, it was Dominick in the back seat, sleepy-eyed but watchful, who declared, “There it is! I can see it! Sweet, sweet home!”

And Orlando turned to me and smiled.

So we’re off to a good start. And even with the uncertainty of Orlando’s job and whether or not we get to stay or go, the sweetness of our new home and faith in the One who sent us is building within us. And for now, that’s enough.

Picking cherries

Nicholas and Dominick watching the tractors go by

The Midwest's smallest airport--in other words, that plane landed on top of that Suburban

Sparky

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6 responses to “Sweet, Sweet Home

  1. Wow – you took the hard working, yet mundane life of the farmer, that a lot of us have lived through, and made it a fantasy land of so many people’s imagination. Funny, even though I know that the ‘farm’ life is a very tough one – these are some of the same memories that I hold dear. Time has a way of easing the hard parts of our lives.

    I am so happy that you and your family are settling in to your new life!!

  2. Jennifer Cline

    Praying for you guys and all of the uncertainties yet to be answered! Sounds like a place I’d love to visit 🙂

  3. I love your life. You will be writing a book about this someday!! Enjoy it!!

  4. Barb (Schaffer) Charles

    Thank you for posting this message. It is so good to hear that your family is doing well on the farm. You are in my daily prayers as you wait to hear about Orlando’s job.

  5. Great to see you all arrived in one piece and are enjoying the bucolic life! My girls were very taken by Sparky.

  6. Hello, Roths! I heard from a mutual friend that you moved to Nebraska, then spent the time finding your blog and reading up on your adventures. I can’t believe how big the boys are! I still remember Anthony, Benjamin, and Nicholas in diapers and with Elmo phones! 🙂 How time flies!

    Yes, I’m not so surprised that my English teacher is writing a blog of her life and one so well done! I hear your voice and see your family in your writing! More importantly, I see the faith you have carried with you no matter the geographical location you are at. I was refreshed, inspired, and blessed to read about what God is doing in your lives. It increases my faith as Andy and myself move toward the next stages in our lives. Thanks for your openness and realness.

    Enjoy your country life. I am enjoying my bit of country here in PA. There is just something about it that can’t be described. I’m not sure I want to ever go back to the city or suburbs. May the peace of God reign there at the farm and wherever you are led, as you live a life of faith in the Greatest One there is!

    Many blessings!
    Kristen Inch

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