2005-The year that was
I looked forward to 2005 for most of my life because it was the year that I turned 65. In recent years the government regulations have reduced the significance of being 65 as it relates to retirement. Nonetheless, my farming operation was winding down and my wife, who reached the milestone before I did, had planned to retire in 2005.
I think everyone who completes a long a long career hopes to go out in a â€œblaze of gloryâ€. I know we sure did. I planned to have a machinery auction early in January. I envisioned a warm, sunny January day with hundreds of people coming to socialize and bid on my mechanical treasures. With large the number acquaintances I have, I figured it would be the biggest farm sale in Cass County in many years.
The last week before the sale, I could see that things were not shaping up to fulfill my dreams. Weather forecasts were for a winter storm to hit shortly before the anticipated day. Friday night the weather turned ugly. Winds picked up and the snow started to fly. Fortunately the snow didnâ€™t last long. However, the wind was strong enough that we were without power for several hours.
The next day the sun shown, but the wind chill was the lowest of the winter. The temperature was only 10 degrees, but the wind was strong enough that it blew the rented portable toilet across my farmstead. I could probably make a joke about that incident, but at the time I did not see the humor! At least the buyers had the perseverance to endure the tough conditions. My items sold well to the 160 people who came.
I also had grand illusions about a huge retirement party for Sharon. She was one of those rare, talented teachers who was very popular with both the parents and students. Three separate retirement celebrations were planned. The public party sponsored by the school district should have drawn a huge crowd.
Unfortunately, the school secretary failed to announce the affair in the local newspaper, so most of the individuals we thought would be there did not know about it. I would like to think the oversight was unintentional. I am not sure. So much for her blaze of glory!
Farming my little piece of Eastern Nebraska went well. The crops were planted on time. Rains just frequent enough to prevent stress came at opportune times. I made plans with a neighbor to work for him in exchange for doing my harvest. Meetings in August and early September were scheduled for several functions around Nebraska. It was going to be a good fall-I thought. The last weekend of July I had a fever that came and went. Doctors thought it was some kind of sub clinical virus that would go away after a few days.
For three weeks the temperature was on and off. I did not feel the best, but I was not really sick either. Then, on August 16, I awakened in the middle of the night with terrible muscle spasms in my back. I got down on the floor and could not get up. Sharon had to call the rescue squad to move me. For the next four days I was mostly unaware of my surroundings. Doctors finally diagnosed a Strep infection that went first into my blood, then settled in a heart valve. It was a condition that would have been fatal if not diagnosed and treated.