My neighbor, a fellow sojourner

I still have all four of my grandparents, and consider myself a blessed gal for it. I do love them.

Maternal Grandparents

Maternal Grandparents

Maternal Grandfather

Maternal Grandfather

Paternal Grandparents (both on right)

Paternal Grandparents (both on right)

So the other day as I was pulling out of my friend’s driveway, calling my husband back and hearing his distressed voice tell me his boss’s wife had passed suddenly was, well, a shock to my senses.

Yes, she was 83. Our time here on earth is uncertain, I know. Her mental health was questionable the last few years, forgetting often, but she still lived with her husband of 60+ years on the spectacular 6,500 acre ground he purchased from his father long, long ago.

This couple have been like grandparents to my husband, ever since he began working for them over 12 years ago. Country Man is a farmer/rancher, but his duties have been many. In his time there so far, he has:  spent countless hours in the field, fixed fences, worked cattle, chased cattle, changed their light bulbs, given regular army hair cuts to his boss, picked up groceries and prescriptions, and carried a dying woman to her car, where she was driven to the hospital but did not arrive in time.

The boss is going to miss his best friend. That’s how he said it at the service, as he placed the decorative “Happiness is Being Married to Your Best Friend” pillow into her casket.

Country Man is going to miss his friend, his dog  the opening of the door to a house of cookies and companionship.

As for me, I will miss the conversation of a fellow farm wife with a sweet smile, a town girl brought to the country who quickly learned how to cook and feed numerous hired men during the busy season. She may have told me that story a few times.

A woman who made sure I had a Betty Crocker cookbook after I first married (where I discovered a great apple pie recipe)…

A woman with a thousand stories in her eyes and many experiences in her hands.

A woman who, with that smile and those hands and love for birds, reminded me that life on the farm isn’t so bad after all.

South Dakota country


56 thoughts on “My neighbor, a fellow sojourner

  1. What a great post about an undoubtedly wonderful woman! Savor the time you have with your grandparents…I can’t wait to sit on that old front porch swing in Heaven with mine..they are missed so much!

  2. Makes me miss my own grandmother, a rancher’s wife until just weeks before their 70th anniversary. My grandfather used to say that they were like a team of horses. Condolences to you, Country Man, and his boss’s family.

  3. I love the photos of your grandparents when they were young — they look so happy and madly in love!! — and I am sorry for your loss of a sweet neighbor. Somehow you make it all seem beautiful, even when times are tough. Hope your neighbor husband won’t be too lonely without his best friend!

  4. I have also been blessed with grandparents and can tell you from the heart that my grandmothers have been my very best friends. I still have my paternal grandmother and cherish every second with her.

  5. A lovely tribute…it sounds like she made the most of her 83 years. May we all do the same.
    The photos of your grandparents are so charming. There’s something about those old photos, maybe it’s the black-and-white.

  6. How wonderful that you have all four of your grandparents. I only knew one of my grandmothers (she died when I was 16). I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. She sounds like a very special person.

  7. This is a very nice post. I’m sorry to hear about your friend who passed. and that is amazing you have all four grandparents! you are doing a great job of hanging in there!! it is good to appreciate those who we have and who have gone.

  8. A beautiful post. I don’t think it is a question of her being a special person. We are all special, in our own way. What matters is that she was loved. By friends as well as family!

  9. Our greatest gifts in life are the beautiful spirits we meet along the way… I agree with Doc; we’re all beautiful people with something to share and gift to others. Love is our greatest gift… and her love is what makes the memories so special and not forgotten.

  10. My condolences to you and your husband who is obviously so much more than just an employee to the ranch ower and his departed wife. Elders have so much to offer us, you are blessed to have had this woman, along with your grandparents in your life.

  11. A sweet eulogy, dear lady, for a life well lived and all of the lives that were better as well for being touched by hers. It *is* hard to be reminded of how fleeting our lives can be and that we’re all finite–but it also occasions a renewed sense of urgency about loving those we have around us, and that’s a good thing. Wishing you all comfort.

  12. I love the picture you have at the top. It’s so neat, like an old movie couple. My mother just recently found a picture of my grandparents when they were that age. It’s just so amazing to see what you’re grandparents were like at your age.

  13. Sorry to hear that she passed away and how her mental health had deteriorated before her passing. Lyme disease has been linked to some forms of alzheimers and there are now blood tests available in California when some tests show negative it may be because the bacteria has changed form and the test can’t detect it. In any event Knowledge is power.


  14. What a beautiful post. I love the pictures of your grandparents- they are so vital and passionate and loving and alive. You are lucky to come from such a legacy of love. My prayers for your neighbor and for you. -kate

  15. I can’t imagine the grief your friend must be enduring. Wishing him peace in his time of loss.

    Hope you and country man are faring well. I’m so sorry for your sorrow as well.

    Love the photos of your grandparents. Your family has generations of beautiful people, inside and out.

  16. Mmmm I’m so sorry for your loss, but so grateful for the opportunity you had to know her! Great pictures, by the way. It’s so special that you have them 🙂

  17. I think it’s so cool to look back at those pictures of our grandparents when they were young and see them in a way that we never knew them. And seeing physical characteristics of them that we see in our faces when we look in the mirror. I’m sorry to hear about you and your husband’s loss. You were blessed to have her as a mentor.

  18. I noticed your blog and read some of your stuff. You do a wonderful job, and I was wondering if you could maybe give me some advice on mine. I would fine that so helpful. Just starting up and feel like I need some help.
    -Alice Pleasance.

  19. Sorry to hear of your loss. It is always hard when someone we love and respect passes. But we also have to remind ourselves, they are in a better place, it is us we are sad for. Take care of your man and his boss during this transition. Praying for your comfort.

  20. What beautiful words for a dear woman who clearly held a piece of your heart.

    That said, I loved the vintage images you posted of your family. You might want to consider entering the first one in the Minnesota Moments magazine “Snapshots of Love” contest. Google the magazine for details.

  21. The photos of your grandparents are a treasure.
    I have to imagine that the Boss’ Best Friend would smile to read your lovely eulogy.
    How kind she was to you! A special woman for sure.
    ~ Lynda

  22. Pingback: cold sandwich and coke days | The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

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