We were back home for the first time in weeks. I’d almost lost track of how long we’d been gone. Friends had been looking in on our pets and kept them fed and watered. We had an assortment of cats and an Alaskan Malamute/Doberman/Dane mix dog. He was half Malamute, a quarter Doberman and a quarter Great Dane. His name was Ukluk val Doonst but we just called him Ukluk. He’d been allowed in the house when he was a pup but as he got bigger and bigger and BIGGER, a wag of his tail could mean disaster. Someone suggested we could have it docked but I’ve never seen the logic of rearranging what God has created so ears and tail remained intact. Ukluk was overjoyed to see us but the cats didn’t seem to be able to care less. One day, a man drove up to the house. He refused to get out of his car but he complimented me on my nice pony. When he asked if he’d bite I said, “He hasn’t yet but I wouldn’t want to push him.”
No one was as glad to be home as DH. Saying he’d been through the wringer would be putting it mildly. It wasn’t over, either. There were frequent physical therapy visits and dental work to be done. He ended up with a permanent bridge in the front. The teeth were much larger than the ones they were replacing and he looked strange. It took months for me to get used to them. He was able to eat corn on the cob and apples. That made it okay with him.
He’d started out with crutches but it wasn’t long until he was able to get rid of them. The treadmill and exercise program the therapist gave him plus his sheer will to literally get back on his feet shortened what would have otherwise been a long haul. There was an acupuncturist on staff who wanted to try to straighten the arm he’d injured so long before. DH claimed the needles didn’t hurt but I couldn’t see how they wouldn’t. After several weeks, that was given up as a lost cause.
Backtracking, I don’t remember exactly when it was but DS2 was 14, I know. That means it could have been anywhere from September 13, 1978 to September 11, 1979. DS1 and DS2 were feeling left out because there were three of us now with a different last name. We had a family meeting and it was decided that DH would adopt them. The necessary papers were filed and everything was a go except DS2 was old enough he had to give his permission. He was anxious for it to happen. That was no problem. Along with the last name change, they could choose given names if they wanted. They kept the ones that identified them. DS1’s first name was the same as his biological father’s. DS2’s middle name was also the same as his father’s middle name. DS1 chose to be named for my father and DS2 chose his favorite Bible character. When people asked why DS1’s last name had changed, he’d grin and say, “I got married.”
One of our rancher neighbors decided to build a grass strip through his wheat field. If we would buy a trailer, we could put it beside the strip which was to stretch to a mile long. He planned to put up a metal building which would serve as a hanger. This was right up DH’s alley and he went for it.
We went shopping for a pre-owned trailer, aka mobile home. ‘Way back right before we got married, we were looking at a trailer with a green and gold theme. Well! We found one that was in excellent shape that was 14 feet wide, 70 feet long, was decorated in green and gold and there was even a bay window in one end. It was beautiful inside for a trailer. The owner had built some cabinets in one end of the living room that could be put to good use housing our books and music collection. We took out a loan and bought it.
There had been a trailer on the ranch at one time and everything was still there—plumbing, septic tank and electrical hookup. A storage shed was at one end of the lot and in front of that was a small garden plot with some of the most delicious everbearing strawberries I ever tasted. I was a very happy camper.
We moved in and boxes were lined up and down the hallway. DH had been giving hang gliding lessons to a fellow who worked in a waterbed store. A swap was worked out for him to learn to fly and we had a new waterbed.
I got busy and decorated the place nicely. I was feeling more at home there than any place we’d lived so far. God hadn’t said “No” to my green and gold trailer. He’d said, “Wait awhile.”
DS1 had finished the 8th grade and wanted to go to the Seventh-day Adventist academy some 150 miles East. His application was accepted and we started collecting the necessities for dorm life. It wasn’t easy to have him so far away. He was working hard in the dairy to help pay his tuition, room and board. That meant getting up before daylight and milking I-don’t-know-how-many cows. There were days he had the afternoon milking to do, too. He never complained. Besides that and his school work, he was in the school band and choir. I knew he had a good singing voice and now he was putting it to use.
Even though I missed the boy, it was more peaceful at home since DS2 didn’t have his brother to fight with. DS2 went out for team sports. He was too small for football but made the basketball team. He was shorter than most of his teammates but he was quick.
DD was my little shadow. DS1 was growing up. DS2 was either at school or out exploring. DH was trying to get back into flying but DD was always there. She “helped” me plant a fall garden of kale and was good at assisting with unloading the dishwasher. She was a happy little girl who loved all cats, even the neighbor’s cat. We had our own but this one had softer fur and she liked the way it felt. The ever present “night night” was clutched in her hand. I’ve wondered why I had more pictures of DD than anyone else but she was available when the others weren’t. She loved the camera and the camera loved her. Her favorite “toys” weren’t toys at all but a pencil and a piece of paper. People were amazed she didn’t hurt herself but she’d always preferred to “write” and draw. When she started feeding herself,