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I am from where the green grass grows and where corn pops up in rows, yes, cue Tim McGraw.  I come from these two beautiful people, Kenny and Kathy (Kuhlemeier) Bushbaum, will celebrate 48 years of marriage on this coming Tuesday.

They met at the local roller rink! Someone dared my dad to go ask Kathy Kuhlemeier to skate with him.  He took the bet and went and asked her by skating smack into her and knocking her down.  When he went to help her up he asked her if she wanted to skate.  Smooth operator and a man of few words he is, but I guess it worked as I don’t think they have been apart since that late night skate.

I come from determination. Dad saw what he wanted and went after it.  My mom is the same way.  When I was in elementary school she decided she wanted to go back to school.  She started with a business degree, but didn’t stop until she was student teaching during my senior year of high school.  She began teaching during my first year of college. When I think back to the determination that it took for her to complete her degrees while working full time, raising a family, keeping our house in shape, and being a farm wife I cannot fathom how she did it all.  I think she did it because she was determined.

I come from strength.  If you have seen my parents lately you know by watching my dad walk that he currently has a pair of knees that are pretty much bone on bone. He has the strength to power through pain like no one I have ever met.  He had a valve replacement in 2010 and handled open heart surgery like a champ, barley touching a pain pill the entire time.  This past fall he tackled 40 radiation treatments for prostate cancer without missing a beat during harvest. He is strong in body and mind.  My mom might say I get my stubborn “strength” from him.

I come from a man who speaks few words, but a woman that has lots to say.  My mom is a writer and has a creative gift. She makes beautiful quilts and used to write amazing poems, stories, and papers when she went back to school.  I remember watching her paint on barn doors and shovels as a kid.  I like to think that she gave me my gift of creativity and my desire to share things with the world.

I come from a John Wayne lovin’, western show watchin’, cattle lovin’ cowboy. Just ask me, I can quote just about any line from the Duke.  I get my love of the cowboy way and cattle from my dad.  I cannot imagine him any other way.  I have read a lot about the cowboy code and way of life and I think they are the finer points that my mom and dad instilled in us:

1. Live each day with courage

2. Take pride in your work

3. Always finish what you start

4. Do what has to be done

5. Be tough, but fair

6. When you make a promise, keep it

7. Talk less and say more

This brings me to the end of the 3 part series of where I come from.  There is so much more I could write about so many amazing people in life that are “where I come from,” but these last 3 posts are where I biologically come from and the mix of all of them creates the DNA that drives me to be the best version of myself that I can.  I don’t want to be a disappointment to any of them and I don’t want their struggles and challenges to be something that are easily forgotten, I will carry all of them each and every day of my life as I dream big and huge!

Where do you come from?

Jen

All because 2 people fell in love...

6

I know you’ve probably heard the old expression “if these walls could talk.” I was driving the other day and happened to notice my husband’s old hat sitting on the dash beside a new hat that my daughter won at the Floyd County Cattlemen‘s supper the other night. I had to snap a picture of them.

 I couldn’t help but notice the wear and tear on the old hat and then the fresh new hat with no dirt, no manure, no sweat stains on the new hat. It made me start thinking about all of the things that old hat had probably seen/heard in the last five years of its life. I’m sure my husband's hat would tell stories of being outside doing chores, working on equipment, watching our daughter at sporting events, and possibly even a date with me. 

We often wear hats that tell something about who we are or what we love. You might see a parent wearing a hat that sports their child’s team, a busy mom wearing a hat that says “mom hair, don’t care”, an employee wearing the brand of their company on their hat, or a farmer wearing their favorite seed hat.

My dad has always worn a hat. For many years you would only find him in a white Crow’s hat, in fact he wore it so much my little cousin thought he was a chicken farmer because of the bird on the hat. Some of my favorite memories are of him coming in the house after a long day of work, throwing his hat up the stairs and asking my mom or I to wash it for him. Even though he doesn’t wear that same white Crow’s hat (he switched over a few years ago when my brother started a trucking business and now proudly sports the trucking hat) I hear him do the same to my own daughters now and it makes my heart happy. Once it is washed it sits on an old olive green Tupperware canister to dry and get the shape back.

I can’t imagine all of the things his hats have seen, they would tell many stories. I have a vivid memory of him sitting in the front of an ambulance the night that my grandfather was in a car accident, he had his white Crow’s hat on, but it was tipped at a different angle than he typically wore it. I can see him smirking watching my nieces and nephews and my own children show their animals at the fair with his hat on. I can imagine his daily trips to the Farmer’s Co-op, bank and to grab a cup of coffee have included those hats. His hats have seen the lows of volatile markets, hail wiped fields, fences needing to be mended from Flood Creek, and the highs of a healthy calf pulled from a mama cow having trouble, higher market prices, a game winning shot by a grandchild, a blue ribbon won and years when everything went right.

When my grandpa passed away in the car accident I mentioned above his hat fell off while they were putting him in the ambulance.  I remember watching my brother run to the middle of the blacktop to grab Grandpa’s hat and he held on to it for the rest of the night. Once we returned home from the hospital my dad asked my brother for the hat.  I think back to that moment watching him hand that hat to my dad and what it really meant. The things that hat witnessed and the stories it could tell from the days before while grandpa dealt with the grief of losing my grandma and the many loads he hauled while trucking and the laughs and tricks that probably occurred while he was wearing that hat bring back a flood of memories. I am blessed to have one of each of my grandpa’s hats in my possession and they offer me great memories of their fun loving spirits.

My niece often wears this hat. I’m sure if her hat could talk it would tell stories that would include her roping with her friends on the ranch, trail riding with her family, camping out while working for the Vee Bar and stories of many nights of laughing with her friends.

While I know many of the people reading this might have a stack of hats that they’ve been bugging their spouse or roommate to look through or get rid of, just remember to take the time to really think about all of the places those old hats have been, the stories they have heard, the memories that they provoke and the highs and lows they’ve experienced through their life. They might just hold a real special meaning to your special someone.

I would love to hear about that hats in your home and see some pictures of the wear and tear and stories that go along with them. 🙂 Share away!

From the gravel road-

Jen

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