I wrote this on the last day of a 4th of July visit to the ranch where I grew up in South Dakota. It was a different visit than my usual Independence Day trips – no going to the neighbors’ place for a potluck picnic and fireworks show this year. (I did quarantine for two weeks at home and get a COVID-19 test before going to see my “high-risk aged” parents.) Rather than fireworks, I enjoyed the blissful quiet of being in the middle of nowhere, and watching fireflies, which are rare in Colorado.
I got some quality time in with my parents, and was my Dad’s manual labor for a few days. He is 85 but still manages the ranch and about 45 cows and calves with a little help from a hired man, mostly during the winter, especially with the heavy lifting. So, I got to unload 50-pound bags of cow mineral and 50-pound salt licks, pick up the empty wooden mineral boxes and load them into the pickup, and open gates as we went “out north” to take these supplements to our cows. And it was fun and rejuvenating.
We also dug up thistles, which was maybe not quite as fun but still necessary. Sometimes it is nice to do something physical instead of sitting behind a desk and driving a computer. (My husband came along on this jaunt last year and got to trim/prune the 50-plus-year old lilac bushes. Surprisingly, he declined to come along this year.) I was also able to identify a patch of weeds my Dad was dealing with in his alfalfa, using the plant ID app on my phone, which made me feel especially helpful.
On my Mom’s “Glenda-do” list were things like go through sewing materials and the garage attic. These things didn’t involve as much heavy lifting but created some mental fatigue. We went through her sewing boxes and bin, and she decided on some things to get rid of because she hasn’t had time to get to them in retirement. Now she is talking about her “second retirement” – I am not sure what that is going to involve, but she is apparently still going to be quite busy.
We also went through several suitcases of Christmas magazines that she kept over the years, from 1963 to the late ‘70s. As she told me, she had great plans that someday she was going to have time to read this story, make that decoration, or bake those cookies. She has decided now that she may not have time for all that, and the magazines should be passed on to others to enjoy. I have been enjoying the vintage pictures and fashions – that is for sure!
All of this means I was back on the job more relaxed and with a certain amount of recharge. We all need that, perhaps this year more than others. You may not be able to get away and see distant family, but I hope that as the season slows down, you are doing something to take a break and get away. A few days of not being at or thinking about work can do wonders for the quality of your work!
I am hoping we all get to see each other soon at member barbecues. We have scheduled them and are planning on them, but are aware that Colorado’s health precautions could change at any time. Just as you have worked to keep your staff and customers safe, we want to keep you safe at our events, and we will do everything we can to do so.
Stay healthy and have an excellent summer!