Although I was born in Canandaigua, New York, I spent my childhood from age 3-11 in Mitchell, South Dakota - the home of the Corn Palace (yeah - as cheesy as it sounds). My mum had family that farmed outside of Aberdeen and every holiday and at least once over the summer, we piled in the car and headed out to spend time with the relatives. These are some of my favourite memories and looking back it's was like being in a Normal Rockwell picture. We tried to climb the slippery haystacks, played on the hay bales, got itchy hanging out in the grain bins in the quonset, laughed, ate and just generally enjoyed being around extended family. I particularly remember one summer when the older kids went into the loft in the barn and created a crawl through covered maze out of hay bales. Even though I was slightly claustrophobic, I was too proud to admit I was scared and bravely crawled into the dark, dusty tunnel only to panic at the first dead end I hit. I screamed non-stop until they finally located me and pulled me out.
|Too clean and bright - mine was dark, dusty and covered. :)|
|One of my uncles teaching me to drive the tractor.|
|A trunk full of excitement!|
When I took 2 of the kids back in 2010, it was a smaller group. My kids enjoyed the attention of extended family and when it came time for fireworks, they were the main event. This time we went to a small recreational lake outside of Aberdeen where one of my cousins lives. The launching platform was the dock. Smart move! While Glen and the kids set off fireworks, we could see similar displays all around the lake. It was both beautiful and inspiring. I do realize the dangers of fireworks, but also know the other side. When handled properly, it is one of those moment in life that is really special and I am glad my kids have the opportunity to explore it.
|My grandfather's tractor rusting in the fields|
As we get ready to head back for this year's celebration, I realize it may be the last for awhile and life will change. So I will cherish each moment I am there. It is something many do not get to experience and it brings home the fact that in many ways, I live a privileged life.