In my generation, there are 4 Sebecks able to carry on the family name… my brother Dan(ny), my cousin Jere (who’s both my 1st and my 3rd cousin- figure that one out. It’s perfectly legal.), my 2nd cousin Joey, and his brother Jeff(y). All are handsome devils who will have or have had no trouble charming the bobby socks off a nice country girl and starting a family. If they all do as well as Dan did with Sarah Ball, we Sebecks may be able to take over the world.
Joe(y) and Jeff(y) and Janay belong to Nancy and Joe. Joe’s dad and my grandpa were brothers. Savvy? Dad and Joe grew up together- hunting and schoolin’ and farmin’ and apparently causing all sorts of trouble, though it’s hard to look at Joe and see a mischievious sort. I rather my father was the trouble and Joe was the hitch. He is the only man that can set my father in his place- no small feat for a Sebeck. If you’ve met any of us (perhaps especially the girls) you’ll quickly notice you can’t tell any of us anything because we know everything about anything already. You’re grinning because you know it’s true. And also because you love me.
My strongest memories of being ‘home’ in Pennsylvania in the summers between overseas moves involve my father’s huge and ornry and hard-working family. There was always Dairy Queen the first night… and then a trip out the Farm where Danny and I would be let loose in the sheds to ride the lawn mowers and turn the keys and ride on fenders of big tractors while the boys talked about life. How hard it was. How things were changing. How things weren’t changing. How Dad ruined a hunting patch for them 20 years ago. How Nance made Mary introduce her to Joe. How all those girls were trouble. How milk prices were going up and how that meant things were ok for now and better than they’d been in years. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Curt loves to be with these people and talks about them long after we’ve left… about how they love to laugh and how easy it is to like them. I’ve always thought so, too.
Joe(y) will take the farm someday, I am sure. He is the kindest boy- man, I suppose now, at 22- that I have ever met next to his father. He would be a good teacher if he’d be a bit more specific about where ‘there’ is when he’s talking about throwing feed. ‘Down there,’ to me, implies below me… but I was wrong. “It’s ok,” he said, “They’re not picky ’bout where they eat.” But I guarantee you I’ll hear about it the time time we show up to help. And the next time and the next time. Janay is headed to college after graduation this year- and, girl, I absolutely adore you. If I’d ever had a younger sister you’d have been the best there could be. Jeff(y), at 19, is mysteriously absent most of the time… hiding from the ribbing, I’m sure, that comes with people knowing you since you were in diapers.
Curt and Dad milked in the morning 3 times while we are home- up at 5:30am for work at 6am. I have never seen Curt(y) so satisfied. There is something to the simplicity of farm work- you know what you have to do. You know you have to do it. You know it will be that way forever. It’s certainly not for everyone. And it certainly wears on the soul… all that quiet. All those hard years. Wondering if the kids will love it or want to leave. Hoping Kate doesn’t waste a bucket of feed by throwing it under the cows. And, while we are grateful for our lives and our work here, we love and support that life and that kind of heart. It has reaffirmed our desire to be simple, to be honest, to work hard, and to love well.
So, thank you for loving on us this Christmas… for pizza and books and stories and breakfast after milking. For your work and your family and the way to do it all the best you can every day… in and out. We love you and we’ll see you soon.
I think I’ll go have a glass of milk… and daydream about farm animals.
If I could be a farm animal, I’d be a duck. A white one waddlin’ around quackin’ as I please.