Friday, July 22, 2011

The Bale of Straw

While I was visiting my parents in Utah, my dad shared a funny story with his ward about when he and my mom were first married.

When my mom met my dad she was an eighteen year old baby (I'm sure she was a mature eighteen year old baby, but she was a baby nonetheless).  After he swept her off her feet at Ricks College, he carried her to none other than the booming metropolis of Moses Lake, Washington (which was even less booming in those days, I'm sure, than it is now).  They lived on the farm land of Gene and Opal Merkley, and as a service to the couple, in return for getting to live on their land for free, my dad helped care for Gene's cattle that lived in a pasture next to my parents' house.  This farm was about a zillion miles from town, a reality magnified by the fact that my parents only had one car (a two-door Chevy Chevette with no air conditioning), which my dad drove to work every morning, leaving my mom car-less, surrounded by sage brush and dust, and I'm sure wondering what in the blue blazes she had gotten herself into (that's what I would have been thinking, anyway), while she tried to adjust to life on a farm, something she knew nothing about at the time. 

Anyway, back to my dad's story.  So apparently, one day in this early stage of their married life, my dad had a particularly rough day at work.  My mom must have spoken to him on the phone, because she knew this, so she decided to "surprise" my dad by feeding the cattle for him before he came home.  She had watched him do this before, many times, so she got up the gumption to just do it herself.

As my dad pulled up the driveway, he saw my mom attempting to feed the cattle from the tractor, dust flying everywhere, and a very upset bunch of cattle that he hoped weren't about to stampede.

My dad, completely perplexed, asked my mom, "Dear, what, exactly are you doing?" (I can totally hear him saying this, too.  I can picture his exact tone of voice.)

My mom's response was that she was, "Trying to feed these cattle!  And I noticed these bales were lighter, so I loaded them onto the tractor, because they were easier for me to lift, but now they won't eat it." (I can totally hear my mom saying this, too, because she probably sounded a lot like me when I am about to have a nervous breakdown about something.)

My dad (probably trying not to chuckle, I'm sure) informed my mom that, "Honey, they don't eat straw, they eat hay."  It was a silly mistake to make if you know anything about farm animals and what they eat, but my mom knew nothing about farm animals and what they eat, because she wasn't a farm girl.  So my dad said, "I'll tell you what, let's fix it and go feed them together."

The whole moral of the story, and the point my dad was trying to make when he shared this story, is that you should always remember the bale of straw.  Your spouse may do things that you don't understand at times, but you have to be patient with each other.  You can never rewind life.  Don't say things to the person you love most that you will one day regret, because you will likely one day wish you could go back and change your words and actions.

Today, Chad and I have been married for six years.

That rounds up to ten.

That is more than half of a decade.

My parents will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary on August 7th.

That rounds down to thirty.

But that is more than a quarter of a century.     

I am so unbelievably thankful for my parents and the example they have set for me of a loving, committed marriage.

I am so thankful for Chad and the amazing husband he is to me, and the wonderful father he is to Kaden.  Without Chad I am like half of myself.  I seriously don't know how I was ever a person before we were married.  I know that sounds strange, but I just feel like he is the perfect complement to my personality.  He is laid back when I am up tight.  He is calm when I am frazzled.  I wouldn't want to share life with anyone else, not to mention the huge responsibility of parenthood!

I am so thankful for Chad's parents and the wonderful example they were to Chad growing up, because I know that is part of the reason I have such an amazing person to call mine.

A lot has changed for us in the last six years, but a lot has stayed the same.

Metaphorically speaking, I've pulled a lot of "bale of straw" moments over the last six years.

Thanks for still loving me, Chad, even though I still squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle after six years of you asking me not to.  And thanks for putting the toilet seat down (most of the time) even though I haven't changed my toothpaste habits.  I'm working on it.


  1. Katie...that is the sweetest post ever. I even have tears in my eyes after reading it. It is hard to believe you guys have been married for 6 years already. I'm still upset I didn't get to celebrate with you during your special day!!

  2. Cute story!!! Congratulations on your anniversary! Sounds like a wonderful 6 years!~

  3. I love this.

    And I love your parents.

    I love love.


  4. Jared J11:18 AM

    Wonderful post katie! It's funny because when I read the quotes I totally pictured Mom and Dad's voices perfectly.

  5. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Your dad is a very patient man who has had to deal with lots of bales thrown his way by me...I'm very lucky to have found him! Congratulations on your anniversary, we love you both so much! ~Mom

  6. Hi Katie...just am getting around to checking blogs today and loved this post. Like Taylor, I have tears in my eyes as well. So grateful that you and Chad found each other and that he gave me another wonderful "daughter". We are so thrilled to have you in our family. And thrilled to have our little precious Kaden!! Love you so much!

  7. Happy anniversary, you two! Six years just fly by, huh?

  8. So, random, I was looking at your blog profile (I am a little bored) and I saw that you have A Town Like Alice as one of your favorite books. I LOVE that book. It might be my all time favorite and I have never met anyone else that even knows what that book is. That and Kendall just won State Jr Miss (or whatever lame thing they call it now) and of course that made me think of you. So here is my shout out to a random afternoon thinking happy Katie thoughts. Hope you are having a good day!


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