Springtime in South Dakota

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summer cornSpringtime in South Dakota Written by David Christenson

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-12

Where I live we really do have all four seasons; winter & summer, spring & fall. Sometimes it feels like spring doesn’t show itself and sometimes its fall that is AWOL. My Dad’s favorite time of the year was the month of September. Last August 31st, when he and Mom were in the Black Hills vacationing together touring that scenic area in their Chevy Camaro, Dad told her as they were waiting for their supper meal to be served that, “Tomorrow is going to be a great day. Because it will be September, my favorite month.” Little did they know but Dad wouldn’t see any of that month here on earth. He passed away that night in their motel room. The Black Hills is a 7 hour drive away from home. So Mom was out there with a long drive facing her to get back. Mom had a couple great young gals that were working in the motel that night that took care of her and helped her make the emergency calls and then those tough calls to the family telling us Dad had died.

Her first call to family was to one of my brothers on the farm. Roger told Mom he would make some calls and arrangements and head west to catch up to her as soon as he could. One of the motel girls then asked Mom if Roger was her oldest son and it was at that time that Mom recalled that I was also vacationing in the Black Hills with my in-laws and was only a 20 minute drive away. Plus, we hadn’t driven our vehicle out and had ridden with my wife’s parents instead. So our son and his wife drove Gretchen and me from Lead to Deadwood to the motel. Then we gathered up my parent’s personal effects and took Mom back to our cabin where I could then make some of my calls including the funeral director here at home. Then about daylight we headed east to gather at the family farm with my siblings, our pastor, and some friends set for that evening.

We were so glad that it was in God’s plans that we were so close by to help Mom with those terrible moments that day. They would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary 2 weeks later but that was not to be. Instead, my brothers, a nephew of mine, and myself took care of the fall harvest without Dad. It was the first harvest at the farm since Dad was discharged from the Army in the fall of 1958. It was bittersweet to say the least. Now the first spring planting season without Dad on the farm since 1959 is upon us.

When we were planning the funeral some Scripture really stood out to me to describe my Dad and his love of farming.

 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:6-11 +++

 

I received a copy of Dad’s will about a month or so ago. The Preamble of the will should tell one a lot about my Dad. If a person never knew him, they would know what kind of man he really was and I will share that here with this posting.

 

The Preamble: I confess joyfully that Jesus is my Savior. I have no doubt about my being saved by him or my being in heaven. God promises, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) I ask my children, whom I love and who have brought me great joy, never to forget these instructions of Christ to be faithful to Him until death and to proclaim His Gospel to every nation. Share God’s word of salvation in Christ with everyone at home and wherever you go in this world. May God grant you peace, love, and strength as He guides you through this life. Then, at the end of time, we will be reunited in heaven as God’s happy family.

 

So, spring is here….finally!. I have always enjoyed the fall just as my Dad did. It is then that a farm and ranch person can see the fruits of their year-long labor. But I’m a little bit different from my Dad. I have always liked the spring time a bit more. I don’t know, but maybe it is the cowboy in me. I know I have always loved to see baby calves romping around in the lots and out in the pastures. I have loved to see them seek out their mother at feeding time and the mother cow searching for their calf roaming around and exploring their new world with other curious calves. I miss my Dad but his new life started last September in his favorite month. He is in the Kingdom of Jesus and I get to watch the cows and calves do their thing. I get to speculate how the spring planting will go and then I hope and pray that I will be patient while all these new lives continue growing throughout the year. And I will pray that I will receive the Grace of God so that I will be able to spend eternity in His Kingdom and farm once again with Dad and serve our Lord Jesus.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 +++

About David Christenson: He is a lifelong resident of South Dakota, grew up on a farm north of Claremont and attended school in Amherst and Britton, graduating from Britton in 1977.

David married Gretchen Tisher in 1984. Gretchen is also a graduate of Britton and teaches math and drama at Britton-Hecla high school. David and Gretchen have two children. Zach is an engineer for Continental Ag in Norfolk, Nebraska and his wife Amanda is a nurse. Margo lives in Denver and works as a Marketing & Outreach coordinator for MyLifeLine.org, a cancer support not-for-profit entity.

David started a cow/calf operation in the 1980s and farmed on the family farm after his high school graduation until December of 1994 when he accepted a sales position at the John Deere store in Britton. David left the John Deere sales position in March of 2006 and became a licensed crop insurance agent in May of 2006. David also started a rental business in 2010 and remained in the cattle business until January of 2012.

David, age 55, has had some extraordinary circumstances in his life. He was run over by a farm tractor before age 6 and had three heart attacks a few months before turning 40. Then he suffered life threatening injuries a few months after turning 50 in a hit and run incident. David was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and skin cancer in 2014.

David started writing his recovery experiences on Facebook in December of 2009. Over the next four years those Facebook notes became what would become chapters in his book, “Why Are You Here?” which was published in December of 2013.

Photo by David Christenson in his lovely state of South Dakota.

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