One of the things that is sometimes hard to assimilate is how life goes on after life changing events. Things continue to happen, the world doesn’t stop turning and the sun comes up each morning. It’s strange how things can be so different, and yet life keeps calling our attention and it isn’t always gentle about giving us time to think about how different things really are.
Over the intense time of Mama’s illness and death, one of our little beef calves started to look a little peaked, and had intestinal issues. Certain Man came into the house greatly concerned one morning and said, “It looks just like the ones that died last year. I can’t figure it out. They’ve been weaned for a month, on pasture for that long, and now this one comes down with something.”
He started right away to treat it with the usual treatment for calves with diarrhea, but nothing seemed to help. Then the second one came down with the same thing. Certain Man called the vet, and got medication, and continued to treat and worry and worry and treat. All to no avail. The first one died Tuesday morning, and the second one last night. The third one, who looked great throughout it all, started with the same symptoms last evening. This morning he wouldn’t get it up. He looked pretty good — alert and perky, but just lay in the isolation pen that Certain Man had fashioned for him, all comfortable in the straw. As the day wore on, he seemed less interested in life around him.
Certain Man is greatly discouraged.
Somewhere along the line last night I realized that he was blaming himself for this whole scenario. Daniel, who tries so hard with his animals and all of his farm, can just about not take it when something is wrong that he cannot figure out. He goes over and over every possibility, tries to find the answers, thinks and thinks and thinks. Sometimes he reads labels and tosses the bottles across the room in frustration because he just. cannot. understand. the jargon. Or what it is that is needed, for that matter.
This morning he spent time on the phone with his farmer friends, the Department of Ag, and the Animal Medic and then went again to try to find something to help. He really wants to save this last calf, but he honestly doesn’t have a lot of hope. I look at the slump of his shoulders, and see him sit with his head in his hands, trying to figure something out, but also dealing with what, to him, is more than a monetary loss. Daniel likes his little animals, and he also likes to raise healthy, quality animals that he turns into an edible blessing for many others. He has been raising calves for 20 years. I can only imagine the frustration he is feeling with this situation.
And so, he is trying another recommended remedy. The little one doesn’t seem much better this evening, but he doesn’t really seem worse. That could be a bad sign, though, The night hours are hard on sick calves. At least it isn’t as hot as it had been.
And so life goes on at Shady Acres. The trailer home that housed our friends who had rented from us for over 20 years was vacated over the time of Mama’s illness and death, and H. and C. flew out of the country to Guatemala. It was a sad night when they came to say their final good-bye, and it seemed almost unfair that I didn’t have more time to give to them with their pending departure. The last night, as they were leaving, I stood in the garage, the tears falling fast. And then I heard my friend as she walked across the lawn one last time to her house. She was sobbing out loud, the noise of her sorrow came floating back to me, and I felt as if my heart would break. Ah, the memories we hold from their years as our next door neighbors are sweet and good, and I hated to see them go. But Lupe and her husband, Ervin, have been making a place ready, and I know they will enjoy life there with their daughter and her husband and the two grandchildren that they have never seen. It will be okay. I think.
We’ve been busy in the trailer. About once a day, someone stops to ask if it is rented. My heart aches to tell them that it has, in fact, been rented. This evening a young hispanic mama with three littles stopped and asked about renting it. I looked at the three little faces, so reminiscent of the faces of years ago and wished that there were five trailers that I could rent for the people that are so in need in our world. The trailer isn’t livable right now, anyhow, because there are renovations going on inside. The thing is, some of these people would take it just the way it is and it would be better than what they have. I’ve stopped over occasionally to take a look and it still is going to take some work, but it is coming along. Our new renters, Mary Beth Sharp and Preston Tice have a little over two weeks until their wedding, so we are really trying to stay on target and keep things moving. What has been done looks nice, but there is some (lots) of old water damage that will take some work, floors to replace and painting to do. I was desperately discouraged at first because of the short time frame, but was reassured by the “about to be marrieds” that they, with help from their families, were up to the challenge. It’s good to see young people with dreams and enthusiasm and starry eyes.
We are also planning for the annual Fourth of July picnic, Certain Man says it will be on its regular day — July 4th, Saturday this year. So everyone is welcome. I do appreciate knowing who is coming — especially children so I know how to figure prizes and such. (Oriental Trading Post, Dollar General and even Wally’s World, here I come!)
The one thing we really need for the picnic yet is someone with a lot more youth and a lot less creaking in the joints than this Delaware Grammy.to organize the games and relays So if coming up with with these sorts of things is down your alley, let me know and we will certainly work something out. It would be especially nice to have volunteers to fill the water balloons. This task is one that provides enjoyment to so many people, (especially the children) but is not one that I can easily fit into the hours before the celebration.
The same guidelines apply as always have: We furnish hotdogs, hamburgers, paper products, condiments and some of the drink. We are also looking to crank or electric freeze some ice cream to finish things off. Bring potluck picnic foods, anything that you would like to have at a picnic..
So come on out — bring your friends and the kids in your life. We plan to have the little train, “the Jones Express” running for the kids. There are horseshoes, and cornhole and whatever else gets brought along. We’ll be glad to have people bring outdoor games for sharing. Time: anytime after 3pm for fun and games, with the eating around 5:30-6-ish.
. . . and so life goes on at Shady Acres, while my heart gives grateful praise.