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3

If you haven’t read part 1, go back and read that now!  This is part 2 of where I come from. This post is the result of wanting to make sure that I am living to my FULLEST potential because I am here on this planet for a purpose.

I come from Horace (Pat) and Patricia Kuhlemeier. They married when she was 17 and he was 21.  They met in Rockford when Patty was a house keeper for Pat’s mother. They made their home in that same house for 42 years until my Grandma passed away.

I come from fun. If there was one thing I know about my maternal grandparents is that they had FUN with a capital F.  We have copies of my great grandmother’s diaries and they were always talking about going to the movies, taking the train to Mason City, playing cards until the wee hours of the morning, and I have even seen a few black and white reels of fun parties that they had at my aunt and uncle’s house.

I come from a fighting Irish Woman (born on St. Patty's Day) and struggle. My grandmother's last name was Bahnsen. She passed away in 1984 from complications of alcoholism. She struggled in private for many years, not a social drinker, but a private drinker.  I don’t know much about this time, but I know this was a painful struggle for my family. I know that my mom lost her mom at a young age and I am sad that I didn’t get to know my Grandma like my older cousins did.   Addiction is a horrible disease that can rip families apart, although, I was too young to remember much of this I know that the struggle that my Grandpa, mom, aunt, and uncle endured didn’t rip them apart. I am proud of them for what they made it through in this scary, rough, and painful years.  I have many special pieces of memorabilia from my Grandma, my most special piece is this ring that my mom gave me on my 16th birthday, and it is the diamonds from her wedding band.  I wear it every day as a great reminder that I come from struggle and love.

I come from white t shirts and rides in the truck.  Many of my favorite memories include wearing my Grandpa’s big white t-shirts when we stayed overnight at his house.  I loved standing over the big vents on the floor beside his chair and letting the t-shirt puff out.  He would laugh and then let me sit in his chair with him while we watched tv.  Our nights watching tv usually included popcorn and a malt.

Although it is no longer bright white, it is special to me because my Grandpa wore it.

My grandpa had HUGE hands and a giant heart.  He would let us ride in the truck with him on trips to Hofler’s Seed Company.  He had a trucking company with my other Grandpa.  I collect Hofler’s seed sacks and memorabilia to this day, someone asked me why those sacks are so important to me the other day.  I think they are important to me because I know how much my family enjoyed the people that worked at Hofler’s and worked hard to deliver their product where it needed to go.  Deep down inside sometimes when I walk by the sacks hanging in my house I wonder if just maybe one of my grandpa’s touched one of those sacks.

I come from starting again. In 1989--- my Grandpa remarried and started again as a newlywed with Luci. They made their home in Hubbard so I didn’t see my Grandpa as much, but when I did see him it was always fun.  We played SkipBo, played with Luci’s makeup, and made trips to the Dayton Rodeo. We never left Grandpa and Luci’s house without a bag of MaryKay AND I bet he is probably one of the only old time farmers that could tell you what the new spring colors were in the Mary Kay line or what each moisturizer was meant to do.  You see, when he started new again, he didn’t leave the business and finance “stuff” that he loved with farming and running a trucking operation. He just moved on to something different, which just happened to be makeup because Luci was a director with MaryKay. 

So, not only do I come from love, strong work ethic, and kindness. I also come from fun, struggle, big white t-shirts, truck rides and starting again. ALL of these pieces make me who I am today. I truly believe my fun loving spirit comes from these two people and I am blessed to have had them in my life.I believe the things they lived through were for me to be who I am today.

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

Part 3 tomorrow!

Items from my Grandpa Path and Grandma Patty.

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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