We have all heard it before, you can’t live forever. I know this, but to live it, well, that is just something entirely different. We all knew my wonderful father, Jim Ralston, was not going to live much longer. He was suffering from a terribly fast paced lung disease. One that was taking his breath to the point that he could not walk across the room without needing to “catch” his breath. It seems so terribly cruel for a man who had some of the strongest set of lungs anyone could ever wanted. My father was an amazing musician. The voice on him could be heard singing houses away while he sat on the back porch playing his guitar and singing. This was a nightly occurrence, if weather permitted. One that was not entirely appreciated as a young person. Thankfully I came to know what a talented person my father was. I had the pleasure of singing with him weekly at church and for a occasional wedding or a public function. My dad influenced many people to pursue their own dreams of singing and or playing music.
This terrible disease known as, pulmonary fibrosis , stripped my Dad of his ability to sing. I asked him why he didn’t still play the guitar, he answered, “it’s no fun playing the guitar if I can’t sing too”. I know people who would have given their right eye to be able to play the guitar like my Dad. Apparently they were like peanut butter and jelly to him. Can’t have one without the other. He loved PBJ’s too!
Another one of my Dad’s great talents was landscaping. We use to joke when I lived at home that he needed to move on to the neighbor’s yard. He had done all that he could with our 1/4 acre lot in the suburbs. My parents eventually did start a landscaping business. Many homes around the Bowie area still have the gorgeous landscaping my father installed for them.
The love of plants and the love of being outdoors is one of the passions I inherited from my Dad. His love fell on the side of beautiful landscapes and hardscapes. I very much appreciate that as well, but for me the love is in the medicinal and culinary purposes of a plant. Though I do love to grow flowers that are non eatable.
Some how it just seems completely natural to me to be able to identify plants. People are often surprised how many plants I can identify. This I thank my father for. One of the other many things to be thankful for that my father instilled in me is the love of working with my hands. I love to get my hands dirty from hard work that will produce whatever it is I was looking for in the work. A newly pruned tree or shrub, a cleanly edged garden bed, tomato plants tied to the support, or a weed free garden. Trust me the list could go on and on!
This has been a very difficult week, to say the least.
Last week my beautiful rooster, Prince, was less active than usual. Some thing I always keep an eye out for with my chickens. My husband said, “he’s probably cold”. This you would think would be the case since the temperatures were barely leaving the 20’s, but the chickens definitely do not seem to mind the cold nearly as much as we do. They will lift a foot and tuck it under their body when it is real cold. Or they will tuck their head in closer to their body. Besides that, life continues as normal for them during the winter.
I hate to say it but my observation was correct. Prince was on his way to the other place we will all eventually journey to. For Prince I hope it will be a place with no predators, fresh clean water, all the feed any chicken could ever want, pastures to hunt for insects, hens to watch over, and a clean safe roost for the night. Prince went to his pasture heaven January 12, 2015 just one day after my Dad left his physical body to go to the next realm.
My wise retired Hospice nurse Mother has said for many years, “death is part of life.” This is so very true. Rest in peace my dearly missed father for one day, hopefully in the distant future I will happily be with you forever again.