I have always been close to my family. We had a small house growing up because my parents always wanted us to know what it meant to be close. There were slamming doors and fights. There were parties and games. We did it all right there in that little house. It was mom, dad my 2 sisters and my brother. We were always a close family as a result. My siblings and I were all within 5 years of one another. My mom and dad were “busy” as they say. If you know what I mean. We lived in a small town. We were always given the advantages that many were not afforded because my dad was a hard working farmer that made a good living. I remember that it was the greatest thing in the world when I was 14 and they finally decided to add a small add-on to the house so we could get two more small rooms and no longer have to share space.

He employed a handful of people full time and many more during peak season. We lived a happy life growing up but it was not always the easiest life I don’t want to misguide you. We had to work on the farm too. You see, there was plenty to do and anytime dad had to put extra hands to work above and beyond his regulars, he would always start with us kids. That’s right we worked on that farm. We would drive tractors, irrigate, plant, harvest, pretty much anything we were told. In return we got a lot of stuff other kids did not. I had my own horse. So did every other member of my family. We didn’t even think twice about how lucky we were because we were taught to work hard and it will pay off in the end.

My sisters both grew up and stayed right there in that little town. They both married men that worked in the factory. They began to raise beautiful little families. I also stayed right where I was because as dad aged he really needed my help with everything that the farm demanded. My brother on the other hand moved away early. He left as soon as he was out of school. We continued to have family gatherings regularly at the old farm house. It got a lot bigger once the kids were all out… My brother would very rarely come out for the holidays. He really didn’t come to many gatherings at all for several years. We would each stay in touch with him through the years but he didn’t come back too often which was why it was such a surprise when he joined us for Christmas dinner one year.