Bob and I moved to Wisconsin in 1978 so he could continue farming with his Dad.
I left behind my family in Illinois. It was a tough move for me. My family was tight knit. When holidays rolled around, family got together to celebrate. We didn't go out on the town, instead we gathered at someone's home, ate, laughed, sang, and played penny poker. When the move came it was like I left half of myself in Illinois.
Except for our family, I didn't know anyone in Seymour. It took a while for me to find friends, which made me miss my family even more.
I knew exactly when mail would be delivered to our house and looked forward to any card or letter that came my way. Connecting to my parents and my sister by phone was special, too.
I couldn't make a long distance call to Illinois every day. Even if I wanted to talk to Mom, we couldn't afford the additions to our bill. If I did phone home, it was cheaper if I called early or late.
When our phone rang before seven in the morning, I knew it was from Mom, Dad, or my sister Karen - even without Caller I.D., which no one had back then.
These days we have all kinds of ways to connect with far away family and friends using the phone and the internet.
Bob and I Skype with our grandchildren. Arianna and Eli are a hoot when they Skype with us. It's like a performance with singing - mostly by them, and laughing - mostly by us. It's a wonderful way to connect when you can't be in the same room together.
Of course, physical visiting is the best because you can hug. Recently, Rachel and Dave brought Arianna and Eli to the farm for a visit. It was such a treat to have them here, even if it only was for a few hours.
The twins are 3 1/2 now. They are growing so fast and tell Grandma all kinds of interesting things.
I learned that Eli didn't care for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich he had here for lunch. The bread wasn't like at home - I had made French bread, which I thought would be perfect. They have wheat bread at home, but I expect mine wouldn't have been the same, either, probably a bit chewy for their taste.
Lucky I didn't say anything about the peanut butter being different. Ours is the kind you have to mix the oil in before using, all natural. Eli probably wouldn't have even taken a bite if he had seen the peanut butter in its original state. But he sure loved his grapes. Grandma knows those always get eaten.
Arianna ate her sandwich, grapes, and even a bit of the pizza we adults were munching. Both kids were trying hard to eat lunch so they could have some of their Easter candy treats supplied by Aunt Rebecca - I gave them clothes.
Those outfits will come in handy, but they were not as neat compared to Easter baskets and candy. Anyway, they ate some lunch because if they hadn't their Mom wouldn't let any treats get munched.
Having the twins here meant we could hold them and hug them and play with toys together.
I'm sorry to say that there was a little accident that afternoon. Eli was on my lap hoarding the trucks and cars that came out of the toy box we keep here for them. Arianna was on the chair next to us. She held a tractor backhoe by its shovel in one hand and car in her other.
As she slipped down from her chair, she lost her balance. To save herself from falling, her arms swung out. Of course, she didn't let go of the toys, and the backhoe swung around and whacked her brother on the noggin.
It all happened so fast, I didn't have time to react and block the blow. Eli looked more stunned than hurt. Lucky for him it was a glancing blow. A kiss from Grandma and one from Arianna made things all better. Not one tear was shed . . . that time.
They went home too soon, but soon we'll be with the rest of the grandkids for Easter. Ethan and Seth are too big for my lap, but with them the games are a bit more challenging.
Happy Easter and happy spring, everyone. May your find time for family and friends today and many days to come.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd., Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;