Finding Joy

Southwest Kansas •  1970s

Southwest Kansas •  1970s

I am a Kansas girl, born and raised. Many sweltering summers were spent with my grandparents on their farm, typically during harvest time. Riding in the combine next to my Grandpa…I was a princess in a high glass chariot gazing over all of my golden land. My throne was a tiny metal chair, which sat right next to the King’s throne. Sometimes, I even got to steer. (Shhhhh. I promised never to tell my Mom!) I loved the way my Grandpa smelled as he would hoist me up to my throne. A combination of worn-in denim, weathered leather boots and a cotton shirt with pearl snaps soiled with the sweat and dirt of a day’s hard work…just as a farmer should smell. And it was only 8AM.

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It didn’t take long before I figured out who was the glue that held this operation together. My sweet Grandma would wake hours before dawn preparing meals for the day. When I finally woke, we would go out to the grain truck and scoop up a big coffee mug full of fresh-cut wheat and bring it to the house. Then, she would make her special hot cereal from it. Try as I may, to this day I will never be able to make it taste as good as hers. She always made sure that kitchen was filled with love. I will always remember how she looked standing over a sink of hot soapy water as she did a mountain of dishes. Never complaining, she would gaze out the window at the little family of wrens who had made their home in a birdhouse she had hung in the pine tree just outside. She would sing this sweet song to them. Tweetle-dee-dee-something….gee how I wish I could remember it! In that moment, standing at the sink, she would find joy. I loved that about her.