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Home is in the Fields

Along Soldier Creek near Fort Robinson State Park grow thickets of honeysuckle in the summer. The smell grounds you in the moment and solidifies the memory.

Often as a child I would accompany my dad to work. This gave me so many experiences in the pastures in the sandhills of Western Nebraska. As an adult, I still love going to work with him whenever the opportunity arises.

Crossing the grasslands on foot to find a lush patch of trees near a stream or lake or riding in the truck on dirt roads and sneezing from the yellow clover in the ditches are places in which I find comfort.

The smell of the honeysuckle and the beautiful yellow blooms were not the only thing present that day. I had crawled over fallen tree trunks to get closer to the water where the yellow blooms were the thickest when my dad came to see what I was doing.

I had been so engrossed with capturing the perfect angle of the the most perfect blooms I didn’t even know what Dad was pointing to at first. He said, “Look,” and as I did in the direction he indicated, it took a moment, but the bull snake came into sharp focus camouflaged on the fallen tree trunk.

Now, I am not afraid of snakes, nor most other things, but I don’t like being startled. I think a lot of people would have reacted the way I did upon realizing a three foot snake had been watching your every move from a short distance away. I ran. I ran straight up the bank and out of the trees.

Cottonwood leaf in fall.

It’s not just the smell of honeysuckle that permiates my memories with Dad. The photo of the cottonwood leaf is another I can smell and evokes even stronger memories. It takes me right back home. The leaves collect on the ground in the fall and have an earthy smell. Those still in the trees make a distinct sound when joined by the rustling of aspen leaves.

The smell and sound remind me of gathering firewood; learning to use a chainsaw. A skill which has become handy due to the strong Nebraska winds and the adventures of home ownership.

Dad has taught me so many skills which have become the foundation for my success as an adult. Sometimes the lessons were a little gruff, but even that taught me to pay attention and get it right the first time.

So, with that, I would like to wish the dads here a happy Father’s Day. I hope you create memories today.

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Chosen Bonds

I don’t remember exactly where this was taken, but I do know what it reminds me of.

Framed Reflection

You see, relationship is the most important thing to me in life.

This photo gives me a feeling of comfort. It reminds me of camping with my best friend and her family at The Pits in Bridgeport, NE.

The best part of relationship is celebrating each other. The hardest is watching the other face challenges. We have been lucky. Even though life has given us some doozies, I feel we have celebrated more often than not. In 34 years, since 1987, that’s a lot of celebration.

I had no idea at five years old, when she moved in to the house caddy corner to ours, we would still be friends at almost 40 and with no sign of slowing. I can’t even clearly remember a time she wasn’t part of my life.

There’s a strange and strong bond that forms when you choose your sister. She has always known when to call and what to send to cheer me up, support me, or just make the day better. I think she is the better friend of the two of us…she would likely say I am. That’s just the way we are.

Born two weeks to the day apart, we celebrate our birthdays more like friendship anniversaries. Everyone needs a friend like that.

My ultimate goal in life, if I accomplish nothing else, is to terrorize the nursing home with her.

Even though I know her favorite flower is the daffodil, just like my mother’s, I still occasionally give her roses in the favorite color we share; yellow signifying friendship.

By the Artist