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Remembering Remembering

Loss is never easy to deal with, especially during the holiday season. Often, the best that we can do is to cherish our memories of our loved ones and in doing so, hold them close in our hearts.

Medford native Jacki Rubio, daughter of Dean and Sue Emmerich, wrote the following piece in remembrance of her grandfather Ken Emmerich who was laid to rest last week and I hope it touches you like it did me.

God made our farmer

The world needed someone to care for the earth, raise crops for her soil, tend to her animals, and provide food for her people.

So God made a farmer.

Our family needed someone too, so God made OUR farmer.

Our farmer took us for rides in his tractor where it felt like we were flying over the fields of corn, or hay, or whatever that year’s crop happened to be.

Our farmer let us tag along out to the field to check on the cows, up and down the rows in the barn to help close the stanchions and fill the feed trough, and up into the haymow to play on the sweet smelling, poky bales.

Our farmer sat with us at the table eating grandma’s delicious meals and called her Cook and laughed his explosive, hearty laugh at everything we said.

Our farmer called us funny nicknames and acted surprised about all the things we told him even though he had traveled the world as a soldier for our country.

Our farmer ate ice cream every night and made sure we did too when we were with him and gave us milk from the bulk tank to make us strong.

Our farmer was a veteran and told us tales of his travels and his buddies from the war, showed us old black and white pictures of young men in uniforms, and made us burst with pride when we would point him out to our friends as he marched in the local parades with the VFW.

Our farmer was a music man who blessed generations by playing his concertina and never turned down an opportunity to play for us and smile over the shiny instrument as we delighted in and danced to the bouncy, upbeat notes of “Just because you think you’re so pretty” or “the beer barrel polka”. Sometimes he would let us play a stump fiddle along with him and pretended that we did it well even if we had no idea what we were doing.

Eventually our farmer had to move off his farm. I will never forget that day or the first time I visited him in his apartment in town, without his wide open spaces around him.

But our farmer was still our farmer, no matter where he was, and he still told us stories about the farm, and asked Grandma to bring out the bucket of toys for our kids to play with that always contained plastic farm animals and little metal tractors.

Our farmer still laughed his amazing laugh and pretended he didn’t remember our names and welcomed our spouses and made funny faces at our little ones to make them smile.

Our farmer still played his concertina for us in his little living room and our kids danced around and laughed with glee.

Our farmer still had his ice cream every night and offered us cookies that Grandma had made.

God made our farmer and we loved him so, but God needed our farmer back, so to heaven he had to go.

And now our farmer is watching down on us, raising his eyebrows and acting surprised and laughing his laugh at all we do, driving his tractor through the fields of heaven, joking with his war buddies and his siblings and cousins who arrived there before him.

We’ll eat ice cream with our own kids at night and tell them stories about our farmer, and play some concertina music and dance around with them.

Our farmer will live on in our memories, and in our love.

We love you Grandpa Hayseed, thank you for being our farmer.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.