The Universe Conspires

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.”

Here I am, viewing the solar eclipse from the peacefulness of a tiny Danish cemetery near my mom’s home town. The entire day was nothing short of amazing!

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


22 thoughts on “The Universe Conspires

  1. Hmmmm… the universe had better get busy then. What I want is going to take some conspiring — or at least some really good weather to dry everything out so I can hit the road myself!

    I’m so glad you got to see the eclipse, and in such grand surroundings. I enjoyed our partial view, but I’m looking forward to the totality here in Texas a few years from now.

    And congrats on that new truck. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a red F-150. That’s pretty spiffy!

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    1. I am sure we will head down to Texas to see the eclipse in 2024. I think it also crosses into southeastern Oklahoma which would be farther than Dallas – we have family in Dallas. I’m hooked after this year’s eclipse. It was fantastic!

      We haven’t splurged on a newer vehicle in our 17 years of marriage, so this is a big deal to us. I really enjoyed driving the trip, not worrying about a breakdown, or even having to stop for fuel. This truck has the larger capacity fuel tank. I can make an eight hour drive without having to stop for gas!

      Where are you planning to head out to? I wonder how the flooding in your area will have damaged streets and roads? I cannot imagine how long it will take for things to dry out and for the stench to dissipate, and the insects to die down. I think I’d be itching to travel right now, hopefully coming back to better conditions.


  2. We traveled from our home in San Antonio to Leavenworth, Kansas, for the eclipse, but because of cloud cover, ended up in Beatrice, NE, where we got to see the whole thing. The local public library provided chairs that we used on their lawn. It was great. Where you close to Beatrice? I’m glad you got to help your family AND see the eclipse, win, win!


    1. Kim, Beatrice is about sixty miles southeast of Cordova, where we were. What a great setup you had! The interstates and highways were congested something terrible in the eastbound lanes after the eclipse. We did not run into much traffic where we were, but my brother had a terrible time getting back to his place. Traffic was backed up for hours on the highway that runs in front of his house.


      1. We were particularly lucky when the eclipse was finished. We went west out of Beatrice. As we went west, we passed several miles of cars trying to go east! My husband was the impetus behind going to see the eclipse. He is a space nut fellow. I have to admit that it was very thrilling to see it in totality tho. I’m glad you saw it too. It was rather humbling somehow and made me wonder what the cave people might have thought upon seeing an eclipse.

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        1. I wished in a way I could have seen how Ronnie, Emma and Spike reacted to the eclipse. I had a bit of a nightmare later in the afternoon the day of the eclipse while helping my brother on the farm. He lives along Highway 34 near Seward and the eastbound traffic was awful! I had to try to dive into the eastbound traffic TWICE that afternoon while hauling limbs to his burn pile.I was met with lots of honking. It was early evening before the constant stream of vehicles dwindled.


  3. Lori, I’m so glad things worked out for you to be with your family and proud of you for driving all that way alone. It was hard for me, but I was so excited that I did it! It had to be this way you know. We both had family that needed us. ❤


  4. You are so good at recounting past and not too in the distant happenings. Lori, you did more than good on your trip. It’s a good thing when you can get a truck deal like the one you and FD got. You can always find a red vehicle in a crowed parking lot. Generally they stand out if not over-shadowed by a “jacked up- tricked out” truck.

    The pic of you is really a good one. You are looking lean and fit as a fiddle, I love that denim vest. I hope to find one like that I love vests to wear with my jeans.


    1. We drove to Whitesboro Texas to Holliday Ford for this truck. There was a bit of a snafu with the license tag (long story) and I have to admit these people bowled me over with great customer service and follow up regarding the problem. If we ever get another vehicle, we will be dealing with them. Of course I checked reviews before we drove all of that way, and they were exemplary. Every person we met at the dealership was friendly. We had already researched a few other vehicles in Oklahoma and north Texas (all the way down to Dallas), and they gave us a great deal.

      I was glad Sarah got a few decent photos of me – even though I had those silly solar glasses on! The vest I got on sale last year at the end of the season. Right now is a good time to find denim vests and cropped denim jeans. I’m a bargain shopper… the outfit I’m wearing is all sale items except the shoes. Sometimes a girl has got to splurge! 😀

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      1. Nice people in Whitesboro and now they got some good publicity. What store was the vest. I buy most clothes from re-sale shops. I need good fitting shoes so jeans ? Shoes always come from Dillard’s That’s my splurge. Cheap shoes don’t work for me and cheap jeans don’t fit right. Always buy NYDJ and Levi brands.


        1. I believe the vest came from Maurices. I have NYDJ, Flying Monkey, and Lucky Brand. I shop sales though – even on the good stuff. I get good comfort shoes usually at Dillards but there are other brands like Keen, Clarks, Bare Traps, and a few others that are known for fit and comfort – I order most of those online. I SWEAR by Duluth Trading Company work clothes. I am going to do a blog post about what Ive ordered from them – their clothing makes sense for hard work and they’re awesome. My sister Juli and her family took us to the Omaha store this past spring, and bought a few things. I was so impressed that since then I have placed four more orders! I’m hooked!!

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          1. I wear Echos and Clarks and Naturalizer. but Dilalrds always narrow heal size that I need for my size 8 shoe. I wear low heel boots in colder weather if I go in public but not always. Need new knee high boots so I best start lookking. I will check out Duluth Trading, Sounds good. Thanks for info.

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  5. Super cool. Sometime things do surprisingly work out when you are where you are supposed to be doing what you are supposed to be doing.
    We all keep our cars for long times. If you keep them in good condition and they work, then it makes sense. (Few consider that “new” anything is damaging to the environment as well as the pocket book) So when any family member frets and frets, then finally makes the plunge for “new” or “new to me” it’s a big deal ( and stressful) Sister-in-law on the ranch just replied her favorite, but marginal truck with a new-ish Ford – but I’m sure she didn’t get red…that one had too many miles on it!


    1. You know, that’s an interesting thought… that making the plunge is a big deal to many of us. We still wouldn’t have gotten a newer vehicle except that I need something super dependable now that I’ll be making more solo trips up north.

      Since we purchase the orchard, good things have been coming to us. I do not know if it is simply a change in how I see things, or if there is something going on that I will never understand. I am thankful for so many things… but that solo trip up north and the day of the eclipse was one of the most amazing times of my life.

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