Monday, July 30, 2012

Second installment to 'My Story'

In a recent conversation with my dad, he casually stated,           

  “...of all you kids, your sister was certainly the easiest one to raise.”

He was gracious to stop there. 

He was speaking truth.

Certainly each of my brothers had their challenges.

However, if dad had finished that thought, he probably would have said,
.... “and you Rhonda were the hardest.”

Not all the years under his roof had been easy for either of us.

I stubbornly set out after high school to Overland Park, Kansas. A management job was the reason. 
My time there was short in the scheme of life.
A few deep lessons were learned and a few sweet friendships were forged.

When I returned to my home town my thoughts were pretty basic.
Either I need to get into college or find work that paid well. 

The railroad hired me in 1979 as a switchman.

The fact that there were only a few women working in the transportation department
fueled my desire to be good at my job.

The hours were ridiculous. The work was challenging. The pay made it worthwhile.
The economy caused huge layoffs and hundreds of us found ourselves furloughed.  

An excavation company hired me shortly after that.
Mostly, I ran a shovel. Sometimes the skid loader.
I could back a trailer loaded with equipment anywhere. 
We traveled several states doing large scale contracts.

There was something fierce in my heart.
A battle raging within me.

It seemed that I was always striving.
Never feeling like I was enough.
My thoughts were to try harder, go farther and be more.
On the outside I tried to display an appearance of
being in control and confident.

In reality I was trying to hide a deep,
empty place in my heart. 

Then I met him.

He was a friend of my brother.
It was July. His birthday.
Something just clicked with us.

My excitement faded when he said he’d call sometime.
Maybe in the fall. 
It was at least the most original line I’d heard.

In September my phone rang.
He invited me to a hayride.

At twenty four years old I thought that was an odd idea for a date, 
but I said yes.

He failed to mention that he was providing
the tractor and hay sled.

He failed to mention he was driving for the event.


Our first  date consisted of the two of us riding in the cab of his tractor.

As the sun set over that place,

we bounced  across the fields pulling the 

hay sled full of laughing people.

We discussed our dreams.

 The conversation turned to how we loved to work hard
              - - with our hands.

With passion in his voice he shared how he
loved the land and animals and being outdoors.

We talked about being independent and taking risks.

He spoke of wanting to try things so big that if it failed… it would be an epic disaster. 

He stole my heart.

My world would never be the same.

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