Earlier this year my friend Lynda, from Life on the Farmlet, approached me about the possibility of her driving from Alabama to meet me here, and then going on north to Nebraska together to view the solar eclipse. The center line of the pathway of totality was indicated to run very near the town my mom lives in. Having met Lynda in Alabama once before, I knew we would do great on a trip together, and it all sounded very exciting to me… until FD and I had some unexpected expenses. With all of the work in the orchard, pushing ourselves and our equipment, trying to clean it up and mow it in order to hopefully find a harvester, either the tractor or the brush hog suffered breakdowns and we incurred one repair expense after another. Then, in early June, there was an unexpected trip to the Jaguar dealership’s maintenance shop when our old 2001 car had some mechanical issues. When we went to pick up the car at the shop, the mechanic indicated that the car had about another year before we would have to drop some major money on it, and of course it was so old, it just was not worth it. Our other vehicle is a 1996 Ford F-350 diesel. It is in fair shape but I had to admit I felt a little sketchy about driving it 450 miles solo. And normally, FD would have been glad to accompany Lynda and me to Nebraska, but he had just started a new position with the company he works for and there was no possible way for him to break loose. I took it all as a sign that it was not a good time to make such a trip. So, with much sadness, I had to decline Lynda’s offer to go on the eclipse viewing trip with her.
FD and I have both known for a while that we could not continue to coast along much longer with old vehicles without a dependable ride. We had plenty of close calls lately on both the car and truck, and we had been lucky. Being the manager of our personal finances, I offered that we could probably afford payments on a newer vehicle by November. By then, I would feel more comfortable after having a few other recent expenses knocked out. Of course that plan blew up when, in the last few days of June, a friend advised we had better find a vehicle before July 1st unless we wanted to pay a lot more in taxes. Apparently, Oklahoma House Bill 2433, recently passed in the legislature, removed the current sales tax exemption on vehicles, thus imposing a 1.25 percent tax on top of the existing 3.25 percent excise tax beginning July 1st. I can tell you that, hearing this, I went right into tightwad “squealing like a pig” mode. So, that very next weekend, we went vehicle shopping and, on the last day of June we bought a 2016 Ford F-150 with only three thousand miles on it. We could not believe our luck. It had all of the specifications we had hoped for – even down to the last silly detail – in just the color we were looking for, ruby red.
But now I would be very uncomfortable about our financial situation, at least for the next four months, and would have to shift into “super tightwad mode”. Yes, we saved a lot of money by beating the July 1st deadline, but this purchase really put us in a bit of a pickle. I did not have time to think too much about it though. I was in the middle of harvesting produce from the garden, mowing the yard, and working in the pecan orchard. And then of course, just like every other summer, we had been busy entertaining visiting guests off and on. My days were much too busy to worry about money. Oh well, I thought, we would manage somehow. And we did.
Then, worry of another kind ebbed into that place in my brain that spins and whirls and makes me crazy. My youngest sister Juli had not been feeling very well. She has had pancreas issues in the past few years and her condition worried me terribly. On days that she was in pain, I wished I could be there to help her. I also knew that my mom had not been feeling well either, and had finally gotten to the point where she had asked my siblings for help. I knew mom would not ask for help unless she really needed it. Our conversations had become more serious of late, and though they were happy and assuring to me, I knew she was telling me she was prepared to move on. She felt that poorly. And to boot, I talk to my brother almost every day – sometimes twice a day – and knew he had been stressed about all of the work to be done on the farm. Last year, he had been out of commission with a hip infection and the work to be done had snowballed into this year. With the weather showing signs of autumn being just around the corner, I could tell he was overwhelmed that there was so much work to be done before winter. It upset me to be so far away that I could not help any of them.
By early August, the urge to head north was strong and I could no longer deny that the only thing that would make me feel better was to make a trip to Nebraska. FD was sure I could manage solo and felt better knowing I had a dependable vehicle to drive. I, on the other hand, was not keen about driving an eight hour trip all at once, so I made arrangements with a niece in Wichita, Kansas to spend the night at her home on the trip to and from Nebraska. This was a bonus since I rarely got time to visit one on one with Rachel and her fiance’. Knowing I could easily make the trip via the Wichita stop, I called my sister, Juli, who was elated that I was planning a stay. Fortunately, her work schedule also coincided with the dates surrounding the solar eclipse. Suddenly, the heaviness in my heart lifted. I was going to be able to lend a hand and spend time with my family for a week. And I would be able to take in the solar eclipse after all! I thought of Paulo Coelho’s words in his book, The Alchemist, “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…