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Posted 7/11/18 (Wed)


I really don’t care for a lot of things that happen on the Fourth of July. I used to. I used to like fireworks, but as I’ve aged they have lost a lot of their bang. And when you have horses and dogs near a city, it is stressful. Because cities will announce that “no fireworks inside city limits.” So that means celebrators drive a mile or two out of town and set them off by our pasture.
I used to like parades, but as I’ve aged, parades don’t carry the same appeal they used to. When a five-year-old kid can beat me to the candy, it seems to be an exercise in futility. Last year I had my eye on several tootsie roll pops, and I couldn’t bend over to pick them up.
A few years ago, when I was younger and more foolish, I ran for a statewide office. Thank God I lost, but I had to go in a bunch of parades over the Fourth. I jumped off the float when it passed in front of The Rock and I saw several of my friends really enjoying the parade. It was much better from there.
But this year, I witnessed three of the greatest parades I have ever seen.  All on the ranch near Reva, S.D.  
Will and Jen and the boys are expecting a little girl this week. By the time you read this, the boys will have a little sister. And some time ago, doctors discovered she has a heart condition that will require surgery soon after her birth. So for the past few weeks, their family has been living in a camper near the children’s hospital in Denver.
As I mentioned last week, it is haying season. You have to make hay when the sun shines. And it has been tough to get it done. The Harding County ranchers came to the rescue.  They assured Will and Jen that they didn’t need to worry about the hay. It would be done when they got back.
The first parade I really loved was a couple days before the Fourth. I went down to Reva and four neighbors came with cutters and knocked all the hay down. Four neighbors that left their own hay stand and cut down Will and Jen’s!
The next parade was the morning of the Fourth. A beautiful morning. With two double rakes parading around and around the hay fields. Absolutely the prettiest parade I had ever seen.
And the greatest parade on earth took place on the Fifth of July. Seven balers and two front-end loaders pulled into the hay fields at seven in the morning. Some had roaded their tractors for over an hour to be there and help! By mid morning, the haying was done! And a neighbor brought dinner and fed the crew. I’m not lying when I tell you I made the least and poorest bales in the field. One of the neighbors pointed that out to me.
As we were making the last round, my hay fever started to kick in as I thought of these wonderful people leaving their haying operation to assist a friend. The allergies caused me to tear up a bit and I had a hard time thanking them.
It’s why we choose to live in a country where the grass is sometimes short and the wind often blows.
Forever thankful,