Greetings to all! Hope everyone survived the holidays, since it seems everyone gets a little blue during this time. Actually, it kind of got to me a little this year. My wife and I were out doing some shopping at our local mall in Idaho Falls in early December. Almost every year we stop at the Hickory Farms shop and order a gift pack of meats and cheeses to send to my old Vietnam buddy Steve Nelting. As some of you may have read in my blog, Steve passed away in January of 2008. As Angela and I were passing the Hickory Farms shop, it hit me hard that I didn't need to send that package this year. This brought on a few days of mild depression and thoughts of Christmas times spent either with my friends (shipmates) or being in touch with them. The memories of years spent away from home and loved ones, while serving my country. All these things bring back some good and bad memories. I want to share one of the good ones with you, it is of course about Steve. I call it Farmer Steve.
Now Steve was born in New York and then his family moved to Florida. He was a “city boy” like me. He had never spent any time on a farm. Around Christmas time 1971, Steve came out to visit for a few weeks. Angela and I were house-sitting for Angela’s parents. It is a small farm with some cattle, sheep, chickens, and a few pigs. The morning after he arrived I asked him if he wanted to help me do the chores. Two city boys off to play in the snow. He helped me load about 15 bales of hay into the back of Bill’s (my father-in-law) old blue Chevy pickup. I gave him my pocket knife and he stood on the back while I drove the truck. He would cut a bale and start throwing out chunks to the sheep and cattle. I was driving in a big circle to cover the pasture in front of the farm house. The snow was about two feet deep and I had the truck in low. While making the corner I swung too wide and had to stop and back up to start again. When I let the clutch out the truck lurched and Steve got flipped off the back into the snow. I looked back and one of the ewes was licking his face. I was laughing when I got out of the truck and he was getting up and giving me a dirty look, so I told him that if he was really that desperate we could try to find him a date and if he was really set on sheep that he should pick a better looking one. Of course this lead to him chasing me all around the pasture, I was pretty light on my feet then and had no trouble outrunning him. After 10 minutes or so he was winded, so he got back on the truck and we finished the chores, but he still didn’t like it when I would ask him if he was feeling a little sheepish.
Happy New Year to you all! I hope your year will be a very good one.