I want to start by giving a big thank you to all who sent sympathy cards and emails when they read about Booker's untimely death.
I may not get rich writing, but I'm rich in other ways. I have caring friends all over Wisconsin and beyond.
When I started writing this column in 1980, I never thought that would be one of the main benefits I would receive. Again, thanks for being there for us. Bob and I really appreciate it.
As they say, life goes on. Bob is working harvesting our oats on rented acres about five miles from home base. Yesterday, before he drove out of the yard with the combine, he told me he was going - nice to know, but he doesn't always do this.
"Do you have your cellphone and is it charged?" I asked. Too often Bob lets his phone get down to fumes, just like his truck and tractor as he thinks they will run forever without fueling them up - wishing doesn't make it so.
Bob touched his pocket where he keeps his phone. "I'm set. Come pick me up in about 45 minutes so I can bring the truck and wagon over to the field."
I set the alarm on my cellphone for 35 minutes so I wouldn't forget - I'm easily distracted and lose track of time. It's best for both of us if I set reminders for myself.
I was in the midst of checking my email when the phone rang. The caller ID said it was Bob. Oh-oh, that's not a good sign.
"Could you bring me the two containers of antifreeze that's on the shelf in the shop? I'm on the road about a mile from the field."
Without asking any questions, I hurried, found the needed antifreeze, and headed out to find my husband. He'd be easy to locate. He would be the one sitting in the John Deere combine on Cicero Road.
And there he was, just past French Road, waiting for me.
At first, Bob didn't recognize me. I had decided to drive his truck instead of my car. There are more tools in the truck, just in case he needed them.
When I arrived, Bob was grumbling, not at me, but at himself.
"I was sure I checked everything before I left home. The engine's overheating, but nothing seems to be leaking. Hope it just needs antifreeze."
He kept muttering as he poured the jugs of fluid into the radiator. After he got things going again, I followed him to the field - the level had been low. The combine ran fine after the antifreeze infusion.
I had thought about following him to the field when he started out that morning. I would have been right behind him when he ran into problems.
On the other hand, that would have meant I would have had to drive home first to get the needed antifreeze.
Coming from home meant it took me less time and soon he was rolling again - also on the positive side, the last time we were at Fleet Farm Bob had bought that antifreeze, just in case.
That proved to be a happy coincidence; otherwise we'd be filling the radiator with water to get by. Of course, eventually that water would have to be drained and replaced with antifreeze.
Bob combined our oats when the dew had evaporated. The oats didn't have the best yield, but at least there was something to harvest. Right now he's raking the straw, getting ready to bale - life goes on.
Our dog Sunny did look for his brother Booker for a couple days, and then he stopped. I'm been spending time spoiling him. Sunny doesn't want to stay in his pen, not even go there for a quick wee.
Instead, he points to his leash with his nose, wanting to go for a walk. Usually, I relent and take him - good for him and good for me - but I think things will be a little different when the weather turns bad in the winter.
But then again, if he looks up at me with his big, sad, brown eyes, I know I'll be going out with him, even in a blizzard - he's not fond of bad weather and our outings will only be a short ones.
So thanks for all your kind words of sympathy. Anyone who has had a pet knows the pain of loss, but we also know the joy, laughter, and love a dog can bring.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;