The dairy farm that I grew up on was at the foot of “Paradise Mountain“ in a little valley known as “Eden Valley”.
Moving away from that immediate area made me realize that every neighborhood has a mayor. Sometimes that position is self appointed, sometimes it just happens. Eden Valley was no different.
The Shank family has been our neighbors for as long as I can remember. My first definite memory of them was going to supervise the cleanup of a wagon that had rolled during chopping season. (Julia takes time to smile for the press, I’m too focused on the task at hand for such things 😂)
Mr Galen lived smack in the middle of Eden Valley and was the best neighbor you could wish for. If we had a mayor- it was him.
I have so many memories of their trusty Dodge pickups rolling in to move cows to town for us, or hauling load after load of straw to other farmers.
Mr Galen loved to travel and during harvest, we’d spend hours in the field chatting about whatever car tour he’d just been on. Or what part of the West he’d recently explored. I loved his stories of traveling in the Rocky Mountains.
Mr Galen was a true gentle giant. He was the first neighbor that I called when our silo was collapsing (full story Here) I knew that the calamity we were facing was going to require reinforcements. And roll in they did. I love this pic- Mr Galen and Mr Maynard were sighting in the silo’s movement and when it started to shift significantly- they warhooped and Father and his JCB roared off to the sidelines to safety.
At the cleanup the next day, Mr Galen’s dad- Norman wanted to help. So Mr Galen brought a four wheeler, and ice cream sandwiches and his dad was kept busy handing out treats to the volunteers.
But most memories don’t come with pictures. Mr Galen took my dad aside right before Julia’s wedding to address the elephant in the room “Eldon, I feel TERRIBLY sorry for you! You’ve got a big job ahead of you- giving away a daughter is so hard…”
Another conversation he had with Father, as his dad was slowing down after he’d turned 90… “I tell you, I don’t want to live to be that old..”
And today, Mr Galen got his wish.
Go rest high on that mountain
Son your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin’
Love for the Father and the Son
We will miss you, friend. Your cheery smile, friendly wave, your sense of humor. You showed us by example of how to be a great neighbor. And your stories will be retold in our family for as long as I’m around.
Thanks for watching our little valley… We will take it from here.
Kendra for the Horst family