A Friday night filled with surprises

Susan Manzke
Amanda Sersch, president of the Seymour FFA Alumni presents Susan Manzke with an award for supporting agriculture in the community.

I set my alarm for 6:30 p.m. last Friday. I didn’t want to miss my family get-together for our weekly Zoom. It was time to catch up with everyone and then to play Yahtzee.

When I joined the family online, they were talking about flowers Rachel’s family received after they had to put down their 15-year-old puggle, Jade.

A few minutes later, my doorbell rang. That noise jarred me. No one rings my bell. It was also dark and no one stops in the evening, not even with a delivery.

I walked away from the Zoom meeting without saying a word to my family. I thought they had heard the loud buzzer. As I went to the door, I grabbed my face mask.

Two members of the Maass family stood outside, along with two other people. I assumed Mike Maass had stopped by to talk about tiling on my farm, but their visit had nothing to do with the farmland.

“We have a surprise for you,” said Mike. About that time I saw that Mike’s daughter Melissa was holding a bouquet of flowers.

I couldn’t think of why anyone was bringing me flowers.

“We have an award to give you. Your family knows about this.”

Susan's family gathered on Zoom to view the presentation of the award. Unknown to Susan, her entire family was in on the surprise presentation.

I was gob-smacked. An award? I didn’t know what to say. All I could do was invite my masked visitors into the kitchen.

My Zoom meeting was turned toward an empty corner of the kitchen. My family told me to turn my laptop around so everyone could witness the presentation.

I was introduced to the Seymour FFA Alumni representatives who stood before me. Amanda Sersch, Seymour FFA Alumni president, made the presentation.

I’m not exactly sure what was said. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

My family had known about this award. Mike connected with my daughter Rachel and they were messaging and planning this presentation for over a month. Even my grandchildren were involved. Eli and Arianna feigned a school assignment and interviewed me so Rachel could pass on more information. (My whole family is sneaky.)

Too bad COVID 19 made it impossible to have everyone together for the Seymour FFA Alumni banquet – my family had to adapt. They decided our Friday Zoom meeting would be the perfect time to spring this surprise on me.

I don’t know exactly what Amanda said when she presented me with the award. My mind went blank. This is what was posted on the club’s Facebook page: Seymour FFA Alumni Chapter: Last night, President Amanda Sersch presented Susan Manzke with our Distinguished Agriculture Award for all she has done promoting agriculture through her writing for the last 41 years. Thank you to the Maass Family and the Manzke Family for helping us pull off this surprise!

Susan Manzke says the presentation of the FFA Alumni Chapter's Distinguished Agriculture Award for promoting agriculture through her writing for the last 41 years was a surprise.

The award reads FFA Alumni Distinguished Agricultural Service Award Presented to Susan Manzke for promoting Agriculture, Agribusiness, and FFA Alumni in the Seymour Community. presented by the Seymour FFA Alumni, February 2021.

Rachel also wrote on Facebook: While we were on our weekly Friday night family Yahtzee Zoom tonight, the Seymour FFA Alumni surprised my mom by showing up at her house and presenting her with the 2021 Distinguished Agricultural Service Award. So well deserved. Congrats Susan! We are all proud of you!! (She ended up winning Yahtzee too ... quite an exciting night.) note: I not only won, I got 2 Yahtzees, meaning I rolled five of a kind TWICE. It really was my night. I should have bought a lottery ticket.

Today, I’m still reeling. I don’t know how to express how honored I feel receiving this award. It will hang prominently in my home.

Sending a big THANK YOU to the Seymour FFA Alumni. Hopefully, next year we can celebrate together at their usual banquet.

FYI: My cat just pulled my lunch off the table. Car-E has a way of bringing me back down to earth.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;