Mowing and Praying on Bittersweet Farm
This evening I had an idea while I was mowing. There is a little place in the east yard I associate with Hannah. When I mow beyond the cluster of Maples in the side yard I think of the winter day Dale hopelessly mired his truck there. It’s been about three or four years now and I’m sure Dale would like me to forget it. The ruts are no longer there but I remember sweet Dale when I mow there.
I could remember Dale installing the hickory hardwood floors in every room of the house and the kitchen twice. I could remember him for installing hardwood floors in our house in Riverview, which may have sold the house or for a hundred other really commendable things, but when I mow the side yard I think of Hannah and Dale on a very, very sad day and the shady little memorial statue there of a little girl to mark the place we remember their Lakeland Dale a baby they lost and mourned in that spot.
When I mow beyond the Carriage House I could remember Dale for the work he did there one Christmas when the septic system failed. I remember Wesley there and I remember Wes when I mow along the west side of the house. The dryer vent is there and the fragrance reminds me of the kindness he rendered one weekend when he flew back to Michigan from his home and and Dylan and the girls in Dallas to move the laundry upstairs. I was speaking on an island one summer and got a frantic late-night call. Lois had found a snake in the washer. I called my Eagle-Scout brother-in-law and he drove over immediately and removed it. Lois was done going to the basement. Since then I have had it to myself. So I think of Wes when I smell the fragrance from the dryer vent. (Come to think of it, Dale helped with that project, too).
When I mow around the Carriage House I think of Kyle, our firstborn who when I was talking of making a writing place in the loft said, “Buy a door and the studs and I will come down on a Sunday after church and frame you in a wall and hang the door.” (Come to think of it Dale helped on that little project too). I think of Kyle when I look up and remember him blowing the leaves off the roof or when I see the mulch in the flowerbed in the teardrop he installed for Mother’s Day one year. I think of his wife Elizabeth talking quietly to Lois, and the January day they came and we took family pictures of them out back.
Heidi comes to mind for some reason when I remember her on the stairs one day with tin foil in her hair. I’m not making this up. In my memory she has piece of tin foil in her hair and she is using her hands to tell her siblings a story as animated as a stand-up comedian. I could remember his a hundred places but remembering that day makes me smile. (And yes, I do have pictures this to prove I am not embellishing this story).
When I mow the back acre I think of our baby, Hope America and her handsome, quiet, steady Tim. They were married there at the foot of the cross on an August night in 2020. We set up a tent and laughed and danced into the night. There was laugher and joy that night. I left the cross there and when I mow the back I always remember that beautiful summer night and the joy of it and fight back tears.
When I mow past the front I think of Holly how send us a beautiful watercolor and made cards of watercolor pictures of our home. She is going to write a children’s book someday about coming to Bittersweet. I remember Jesse harboring a tree the week of the wedding. I remember him when I mow around the fire ring. He made it that weekend of native stones. I use it continually and always think of him. I also think of him on another trip painting the front porch with bright, clean, white, fresh paint.
Dan comes to mind as I mow around the round teardrop drive and I remember he and Kate and the boys leaving after Hope and Tim’s wedding. When they drove away, they were the last to leave and Lois and I look at each other with a powerful sense of love and accomplishment and gratefulness knowing the child-raising 40 years were now being us and a new chapter was beginning. I look down that road and remember Danny and Kate and the boys driving away.
I pranked Chuk one day by hiding an old clock that in his car. The clock didn’t work and it represented a difficult passage in his life so he returned one day and deposited a pile of rotten pumpkins left over from a youth event and deposited the remains of the clock on the top. That took a while to clean up. I could remember Chuk when I mow past the porch and think of him singing and playing Whispering Jesse or I could remember him for a hundred other wonderful things, like how eager he and Cecilia are to visit and bring the kids and how endearing that is.
Hazard the Wonder Yorkie now lives with Hope and Tim but it’s crazy. Sometimes when I come home I am still surprised he doesn’t greet me.
This evening while I was mowing a delightful idea came to me while I was mowing around the cluster of Maples where the little girl statue is. I always pray for Dale and Hannah when I mow there. I pray for their little foster-daughter Cia. When I mow around the cross on the back acre I pray for Hope and Time. Here is the idea: When I mow around or walk around the other place and see things that remind me of the children or grandchildren I will take that as a prompt to pray for them.
When I think of Aiden and Koen washing my tractor I will pray. When I remember Leon and Waylan exposing the stairs to the loft I will pray for them. When I remember Aspen sitting quietly in my chair in the writing loft I will pray for her. When I remember Laela chattering on about all the great ideas about what you could do with a loft like that I will pray for her. When I think of walking Keira out after the wedding, when I think of Koen shooting his gun or riding his bike. When I think of Denver, Gunnison, Routt, Aspen, Aiden, Bella, or Cia picking up windfall branches under the Walnut trees inturrpting my mowing I will pray for them.
When I think of K2, Oliver, Leland playing out back, tossing a football I will pray for them. I will pray for Haley, June, and Bode when I mow over the spot where their daddy worked so hard to dug up the drain that weekend after Christmas one year.
All around Bittersweet Farm are reminders to remember loved ones to the Lord. When I am done I have a feeling of satisfaction at the fresh beauty of the property and joy at remembering the people I love.
June 27, 2923