Thursday, July 7, 2011


For several weeks now, I have known that I needed to get home.  I hadn't seen my parents in several weeks, we had talked on the telephone only long enough to convey various pieces of vital information, I was getting edgy.  Likewise, I hadn't seen my brothers in any kind of prolonged way for months, and for whatever reason, our phone conversations occurred only in quick snippets as I ran from one thing to the next.  But, I was moving and trying to see everyone before going, and I put off visiting home knowing that it would still be there when I eventually got there.  That, I know, is a dangerous assumption to make.  If one stays away long enough the home one left behind begins to disintegrate.  What was old and familiar disappears.  For me, this has not happened yet, but I know it can happen if I am not careful.

I have reflected on this fact to some degree in the weeks since I last wrote.  To a certain extent, my immediate biological family suffers as a result of my own vocation.  I know that they love me, I assume that they know I love them, but there are moments when I struggle because I am the father of a family here in Rapid City, and that fatherhood has to take precedence over what would otherwise be pressing obligations to my biological family.  They, however, are (usually) very deliberate about keeping themselves connected to me.  This is a fact for which I am very grateful.

In the last several weeks, I have run the emotional gamut.  Near the end of last week, I was exhausted in body and spirit.  Like my phone whose battery constantly seems to be on the verge of dying, I new I needed to be recharged, and I knew that a strategic withdrawal to Red Owl would be the only way to accomplish such a renewal.  So, shortly before the Fourth of July, I called my brothers and more or less begged them to come home, and I arranged to spend two days on the ranch.  They were among the best days of the summer so far.  I played catch with my dad, brother, and nephews.  I threatened to attack my mother with the garden hose.  I went swimming in a small stock dam.  I went fishing for bass.  I shot skeet with my dad and brothers.  I lit fireworks with my whole family.  I surveyed the garden and greenhouse.  I harassed my sisters-in-law, and held my baby nieces.  We played guitars and harmonicas, and ate food prepared over good hardwood embers.  We drank some beer, shot pistols (not necessarily in that order), and generally had a good time of it all.  The next day I helped slaughter a beef, and then I slept and slept and slept.  In the evening I fished again, and finally came back to town.

From all of this I acquired a lovely bronze hue in the face and arms, and a less lovely pink hue across the neck, shoulders, and legs.  More importantly, I got plugged in.  I was reminded of where I came from, who I was, and what I am about.  Most certainly, I rested, but more importantly, I really lived.  A good plunge in a stinking mossy water hole does a great deal to revive the soul.  Thus revived, a great meal in the American tradition gives a soul luster and sheen.  A family, though, is the thing that sustains it.  Early this week, my family did that for me.    


  1. Sounds like that is just what you needed :) Glad you had a good time! We miss you around here ... lunch Tuesday? Buffalo Wild Wings??

  2. I cherish the times when my family comes home. As I get older, I cherish it even more. I had not quite put together as astutely as you did, but now that you mention it, I too get cranky and curmudgeonly when I am away from my children and grand children for extended periods of time. Yes, man does not live by bread alone. And I think many forget the weekly or even daily, if you are fortunate enough to be able to get to one, Masses, bring this home also. We are a family in Christ, whether we have blood ties or not, but those we grew up with and around are so very important. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  3. Wish we could've joined you. Like Jinglebob says, we are a family in Christ, and hopefully a smidge more than that, too...if not in blood.

  4. This weekend was nice. Well spent and good times, glad we made it. With a suprizing Tuesday morning meeting. It is good to know that the lay off was not there to drag us down. Im glad we could spend the time together. I beleave you need to get your fly rod though. So that maybe we both could catch fish. lol

    Anyway glad you recharged and are all better now Tater


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