Letter to Dave

Over the past eight years, I have written amonthly letter to my brother Dave and used it for that week’s column. Dave is an older brother and lives with his wife in Carrington, North Dakota. He has been a mechanic over thirty years and most of those years has been as a service manager for Case/IH. I look up to him a lot. I hope you enjoy this week’s letter.


Dear Dave,

I found out just this morning that “are you awake” sounds just like “the cattle are out” when I am in deep sleep; more on that later.

I think I struck a chord with last week’s column. Apparently, I am not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with winter. Your wife, Mary, sent us an email with several pictures of the snow in Carrington, North Dakota. You have much more snow to love or hate than we do. The pictures of your streets looked more like bobsled runs than routes upon which cars might travel. Much like you, we had very wet soils prior to freeze-up and although most of our snow has been dry, I believe we can look forward to standing water in a few months.

I feel for farmers with corn still standing as there is going to be a few, intense weeks in which standing corn can be harvested this spring. Our neighbor, Paul Mosbeck, combined our corn in mid-December and I was surprised at how little the deer had eaten prior to harvest. We had six deer in our yard last year but haven’t seen anything yet this season. We did have a stray cat show up and so we are fussing over her at least thrice-daily. Her name is “Smudge.” Smudge prefers to drink half and half cream and enjoys canned cat food more than dry. She has become friendly enough now that Lisa and I can pet her and she enjoys rather than tolerates it.

I guess you and Mary never made it to Florida in December because of the weather, Dave. That’s too bad but then at least you got to take a trip to Nebraska to tour the combine manufacturing plant. Honestly, I’d much rather see the combines than any kingdom that calls itself, “magic.” I attended the park about 20 years ago and it was far from magic. The character, “Pluto” actually grabbed my ex-wife in an overly-friendly way which she did not report to me until he was out of smashing range.

Okay, let’s get back to my opening paragraph. I wake up nice and easy to an alarm clock but awake in a dead panic to phones or the human voice. Although we haven’t had cattle outside a fence for years, it’s always one my mind. This morning, Lisa innocently woke me by asking if I was awake which translated through sleepy ears into “there’s cattle out.” My heart got a nice little cardio workout and my body did a little diagnostic on my “fight or flight” response. Lisa felt so bad about my panic that once I’d again fallen asleep, she snuck up on me, placed her face inches from mine and touched my panic button once more before leaving for work. Honestly, I’ve spent a good part of our marriage hiding behind doors, popping out in front of the window by her chair and making sudden appearances outside her shower so I probably deserved it. The Russians says revenge is the sweetest dish, in Lisa’s case I intend to taste it, regardless.

Well that’s all the news; not much happens around here but what does happen, happens often. Tell everyone around there…well, you know.

You’re little bro’


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