Sometimes it is just good to get away. Not long ago our family took a quick weekend trip to the snowy, cold single digits of Kearney, Neb. We went to sell goats, but came back with revived spirits and a renewed vision for what we might be able to accomplish someday on our own small farm.
Of course, the good thing about taking small trips with family is the funny things that happen. No one in our family will likely ever forget our trip to Iowa last fall that involved my daughter getting her foot stuck in a hotel toilet.
Then there was the time somewhere in Missouri a year or two ago, when we searched long and late for that motel with the swimming pool slide that circled out and around the building. Ironically, we found it in the town of Cameron (the name of our second oldest son).
Once my husband and I took all four children with us on an impromptu flight to Chicago where we rented a car, picked up a work van he purchased on eBay, and then attempted to drive back through big city rush-hour traffic with two vehicles in tandem to return the rental car. That, coupled with a fun night in a downtown Chicago hotel, was an amazing experience. Of course, the ride back was a bit crazy. We purchased beanbag chairs and blow-up mattresses for the back of the cargo van, loaded in the kids and their iPods, and took off back to Kansas. Thank goodness we never got stopped, didn’t wreck, and found enough change for those unexpected and numerous toll baskets along the way.
An even more unforgettable family trip memory was the time we spent the night in our Suburban, over 10 years ago, in an underground parking garage in Minnesota, flanked by several patrol cars, as we all rode out a tornado-filled night in the concrete bunker.
Weather sometimes plays a big role in family trip memories. Our goat run last weekend had been put off a week because days earlier, when we were supposed to deliver the 10 bred, dairy goat does, it snowed 12 inches at our destination point.
When we got to Kearney at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, it was -6 degrees and snow-packed, with drifts two and three feet tall on each side of the farm driveway. Despite the darkness outside and late (or very early) hour, conversation inside the enclosed goat barn and heated milk parlor was warm and invigorating. We saw a successful commercial goat dairy, visited with farmers who were in the process of making their dreams come true, and sold our Kansas goats for a nice profit.
The funny thing was, in passing, I noticed some nice goats and commented on what their bloodlines might be. Imagine my surprise, when the owner said those were his best goats; they originated from Gravel-Ends Ranch in Kansas, and he purchased them from someone else going out of business a few years ago.
Wow! Small world, those used to be our goats, sold as kids to another breeder, who then sold them to this successful dairy operation. Maybe we are onto something raising dairy goats in the middle of cattle, sheep, and swine country. Maybe someday we will get our own commercial goat dairy up and running. We learned on our recent trip that we have the goat genetics to do it.
It is good to get away and make some fun family memories every now and then. It is also good to come home, renew faltering dreams, and fix one’s sights beyond the sometimes-limiting horizons of daily life. A small trip can do that. Good thing we live in a small world.