Tribute to a Loving Man- my Pappy

Dear Pappy,

When we stopped by your place on Monday, you were sleeping, which means that the last time I talked to you was a week ago.

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You were sitting at the dinner table across from Grandmother and I caught a glimpse of the man from years ago. You were so pleased to be back in your well worn overalls. You’d fished out your billfold and your heart was full of good intentions: “I don’t drink except for a Pepsi every once and awhile, I don’t smoke. I don’t chew tobacco and if I want to use my money to give to widows and the fatherless, then that’s my business. I’m getting tired of the petticoat government around here.” We all laughed and I squeezed your gnarled hand as I headed out the door. “Good-bye sweetheart. Take you time agoin, but hurry back” you said…

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Well, I stopped by tonight, but my “hello is anybody home” will never again be met with the standard “Nobody here but us chickens!” Because you were finally called to that Home you’d waited for so long.

So tonight, dear Pappy, as I’m swimming through the flood of memories that’s been unleashed in the last several hours- I wish I’d told you a lot of things the last time we spoke, but it’s too late for that now.

You knew it anyways.

Famous for your wonderful quirky sense of humor, your love of your wife of almost 67 years and her good food, your zeal for butcher day and your constant gift of fresh homegrown goodies- honey comb straight from the hive, black walnuts, sweet corn, red potatoes, and Dentyne gum; you left a legacy of hard work, putting extra effort into loving the widows and the fatherless, and worshiping our Creator for the 91 years you were on this earth-by always having a song on your heart.

 

And so I rejoice with you over yesterday. I will never forget stopping to see you and asking what you were up to and you replied “Putting in time, just like I’m in jail.” You’ve finally been released, and though we all wished for this, now that it’s here, I’m still really sad.

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For one brief moment, I wished I was still a little girl that could crawl up on your lap and you’d give me a “bearding” with that few days of growth on your face… And we go over my list of favorite food, and I’d show you my latest mortal wound and you’d pull out you pocketknife and say “Here, I can fix that, let me cut it off”. And then I’d run as hard as I could before returning for round 2… I’m so thankful for all the memories.

You knew I loved you, right?

One more reason to be excited about finally going Home…

Rest in Peace, dear Pappy,

Kendra

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The House By the Side of the Road – Sam Walter Foss

often quoted by Pappy

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by;
They are good, they are bad, they are weak,
They are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban? –
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

 

 

 

 

#15for30: Watch a Launch #missionFAIL

The truth is- I’m not just disappointed in this entire event. I’m disappointed in me.

Briefly- my mom has an old schoolmate who has blessed our lives for as long as I can remember. And when I first asked for ideas of things to do during this somewhat extensive project, right away Enid said “Watch a launch” her husband has been involved with NASA for years. So I googled it and saw that launches not only happen in Florida, they happen on Wallops Island which is right beside my beloved Chincoteague. I thought it sounded like an adventure, but similar to the book idea, I shelved it to “wait and see”.

Then in July during my Beachathon, I spent 5 lovely days on Chincoteague and somewhere during the course of the stay, they announced on the news that there was going to be the first launch since the somewhat disastrous occasion in October 2014, where the Antares rocket unfortunately exploded seconds after lift off. So I began following the process, skeptical that it would work, but curious.

Fast forward over a number of postponed launch dates and innumerable messages with Enid (bless her patient heart) It looked like we could coordinate our trip to the DC airport with Deb’s Kennell obsession and a trip to the eastern shore. I woke up Thursday morning, checked in on the NASA website to discover that the launch was postponed til Sunday, Oct 16.

I knew we were getting a lot closer than we’d been, because my Facebook feed started showing pics of pieces of the rocket en route to the launch pad. And it being lifted into place. And the full moon rising behind the rocket in position.

I was optimistic enough that I booked a motel room in Exmore. Everything on Chincotuague was sold out. Good sign.

Sunday Morning, I checked the site a dozen times, as I loaded the vehicle, and crowed about how much fun I’m having with my list of 30. We worshiped at church and then met Em and after checking the website again, we were off.

We drove down the road, My heart was full of the blessing of being surrounded by such good sports. Em and I got out our cameras and brushed up on our videography abilities. We sang loudly and laughed about life and memories and ate piles of snacks.

Father and Mother and Em and I. We didn’t even care that riding for hours in that fine Escape is miserable. I was so excited.

Until we were almost off of I64, when Enid messaged the bombshell. A cable hadn’t performed as expected and the launch was postponed a day.

Oh boy.

So somebody totally flipped the switch on the morale in the vehicle. How on earth I always get my family into wild goose chases is beyond me. And how on earth they summons up the courage to head out on round 3,678, I’ll never know, but I hope they don’t discover this unfortunate pattern before I discover a cure…

So we still headed for the island. We paid the $8 to drive out onto to Assateague and walk up the beach a ways, and sit by the water and watch the sunset.

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We headed for the Crab Shack and were not surprised at all that they were out of the Clam Chowder that most of our gang ordered. Nothing was really happening as we were wishing.

I was in a complete quandary, because I had a few things I needed to get home for, but nothing that couldn’t be rearranged.

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The rocket waiting and waiting and waiting…

To make matters worse, Em and I thought we could save a small fortune on motel costs, so we came armed with the appropriate gear to share a room with my snoring father. Did you know that the best snores can penetrate shotgun earmuffs AND earbuds?

The lack of sleep did nothing to enhance the mood Monday morning.

Congress drew up a Bill of Rights and it passed with flying colors, until the President vetoed it without a backwards glance, and we were westbound and down.

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sometimes snapchat filters mirror the mood perfectly

I’d like to say that I handled this major failure with the grace and maturity that all 29 year olds should, but I didn’t. I thought by the time I was at this stage of life, maturity would be accomplished and I could more or less breeze along. Maybe it’s because I haven’t gotten around to getting married. Maybe these qualities can not be full realized until one says “I do”. Perfect excuse, KH

It crossed my mind to ignore the launch after we got home, but, Monday night, Emily and Kerry came over for supper and we watched the launch live over the internet, and then watched the red glow shoot across the sky and I couldn’t help but be super excited and feel a little sick at the same time. We were so close.

The entire object behind my #30for30 is to seize the opportunity to learn. And that was successful. My bro-in-laws got all excited about this and pulled up facts about the Orbital ATK Antares rocket that were incredible- it was over 13o ft tall, and was loaded with 5100 lbs supplies for the International Space Station. The rocket performs in 3 stages and had an incredibly specific window of opportunity (when it would meet the station- someone said 5 seconds, someone else thought 5 minutes, regardless required lots of precision)  It will be “grabbed by a robotic arm” once it reaches the ISS…

I also learned -again- that life doesn’t go as expected. But that’s ok. And a good sense of humor is never a wrong thing

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Thanks Ben, for creating a meme for our “pointless trip”

And when we fail, hopefully we have the chance to make amends and try again:

So this is not the end. Assuming there will be more launches on Wallops Island, I am determined if I live and keep my health. And should my family decide they have better things to do, I’d be happy to add your name to the list of people going to witness this firsthand. But go ahead a pack a big suitcase, We may be staying a few more days than planned…

Kendra

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#14for30: Write a children’s book : “The Adventures of Farmer Stan”

Winter nights at the Horst household in the late 80s/90s included story hour. We loved it. Father read the best stories. They always included lots of sound affects and whatever twist to the story he felt like adding (and Mother prompting him to stay with the actual plot…) So I knew that he was the perfect option for my next project- but there was also some trepidation with this idea…

Let me back up- Way back when I asked for ideas for my #30for30 list, Cousin Marj suggested writing a book. I stored that idea away and didn’t really think about it until one Sunday, I got distracted in the middle of church with the perfect book idea. (unfortunate, I know) I was so excited, that I told my parents on the way home from church my entire plan. Well, dear sweet Father got on board and totally changed my plot to incorporate a joke he’d heard years ago. I kinda stored that idea too… But when I had my book almost complete, he rolled in to see how his addition was… And I went back to the drawing board…

Snapfish was running a sale, so I printed 10 whole books. Since I’m not counting on this being a bestseller, I thought I’d better start out small.

And so, I present to you, the abbreviated version of the Adventures of Farmer Stan:

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The book opens with Farmer Stan (incidentally did you know my dad’s first name is Stanley same as his Fathers?) and his Good Wife Joy embracing the morning over a cup of coffee.

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They whip through the morning chores. Stan milks the cow, while the Good Wife Joy gathers the chicken eggs. She holler “BE CAREFUL” over the noise of his trusty ol tractor as he heads to the back 40 to harvest wheat. That field is pretty steep, and safety is of utmost concern. BUT he has such a busy day ahead, that he forgets…

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TO WEAR HIS SEATBELT… and the tractor hits a bump and poor Farmer Stan flies through the air… (at the point, my sister’s assure me that my book should be rated PG-13 and will traumatize children for years) Fortunately, the Good Wife Joy knows what to do and she calls 911 where a friendly operator assures her that help is coming and help Farmer Stan stay calm.

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Help does arrive in no time as the ambulance bounces back the farm lane and EMT Bob soon has Farmer Stan out and on the stretcher and headed to the hospital. The Good Wife watches and tries not to worry. They still had so much work to do, and now Stan was hurt! How would they manage?

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But then she heard a noise off in the distance- Farmer Frank and Farmer Fred (with credit to the men who’ve blessed us on a number of occasions) come and bring equipment and soon the wheat is all harvested…

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The next morning finds the couple back at the breakfast table, Stan nursing a broken leg, rejoicing in God’s goodness through the blessing of good neighbors.

And thus ends my part of the story. note- I did take the privilege of adding a few details to the following- my dad’s contributions to Farmer Stan’s adventures

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Several weeks later, Pastor Phil sets out to check on Farmer Stan. He waves at Neighbor Jake as he goes past, sees Brother Bagger combining in the field and shouts encouragement to him… But then he rounds the corner and comes across something that makes him scratch his head.img_8049

Farmer Stan’s trusty ol tractor is setting beside a pile of straw with Farmer Stan’s daughter Maggie beside it forking straw in the hot sun.

Pastor Phil goes over to talk to her “You’re working way too hard, you better take a little break and cool down under that shade tree.”

“Can’t” she said, “my daddy wouldn’t like that”

He watched her briefly and then insisted “Look, I have on my good suit, or I’d help you. Why don’t you take a little break while I run home and get my skidloader and I’ll return and have this loaded in no time flat”

“Can’t” she still didn’t pause “my daddy wouldn’t like that”

“But this is ridiculous! You’ve got to quit for a little! You”ll have a heat stroke”

“Can’t” she stated “my daddy wouldn’t like that”

“Look” he plead “I know you’re daddy is a hard worker, but he’s also a reasonable man. Let me go have a chat with him. I know he doesn’t expect you to work THIS hard.”

“Sure”she said, still forking like mad “I know he’d love to chat, he’s under this stack of straw, I’m getting him out as fast as I can!”

When Pastor Phil heard that, he didn’t worry about his suit and soon Farmer Stan was out breathing fresh air…

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The Good Wife Joy served the entire gang watermelon as Pastor Phil apologized for jumping to conclusions and Farmer Stan thanked them kindly for rescuing him from his itchy prison.

As the Farmer reflects on that year with all it’s unusual misfortunes, he thanks God for taking care of him, and sending just the right help when he needs it.

The book had it’s maiden voyage with my dear friend Andrea’s adorable and energetic sons. Father read it with all the appropriate sounds and motions. The boys hung on bravely til the end and there were no tears, I’m happy to report to my sisters.

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And the Go0d Wife Joy just smiles sweetly.

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May you be able to see God’s hand at work in your life, bringing just the right person when you need them. Even if it does totally change the plot of your story (πŸ€”) Good ol Farmer StanπŸ˜‚

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus pics:

After Story Hour, the boys showed us their puppies… Too much cuteness!

And… Deb’s addition to our family excitement, Mr Kennell ruptured his spleen at an accident at work… So Mother has been enjoying the chance to brush up on her nursing degree. We are glad that he’s recovering so well. And that his bro and family visited from TN… And Nate, good sport that he is, humored me by reading Farmer Stan to his nephews. Mother brought out Farmer Stan’s barn and that was much more exciting than staying to get Stan out from under that straw stack.

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