August 1, 2014
By: Jerry Miller

The Summer That Started It All

The last few weeks I have spent preparing. Preparing for the party that really is a milestone for us. My farmer and I.

In 2008 I made my very first trip to South Dakota for my husband and I to meet face to face for the very first time. It was a horrendous trip, I won't lie. I left around midnight. And it was a bit spur of the moment...ok, a lot spur of the moment.

I packed my bag and jumped in the car. What was supposed to be a 12 hour trip ended up being more like 18 hours. I drove slow at night and then I hit some awful traffic in Iowa and then in Minnesota blew my tire. Which isn't a problem, however, I had this new SUV and of course it had to have some cargo unit installed in the back which meant I couldn't get to the lever that would lower the spare down. So, I was stuck on the side of the road calling my mechanic grandpa to see if he could help me get around it.

While we were chatting this police officer pulled up and was not very friendly about me being parked on the side of the exit ramp. I pointed at my tire and he insisted I start following him to a Walmart right around the corner. I barely made it before they closed for the night. That took some time and then I was finally on my way.

I met my husband for the first time on the exit ramp by our house. He then had me drive to his parents just down the road so I could shower and then I went to his house, which is now ours. I then met just about every person that was important to him. I was tired. And all I wanted was a bed. But, it was pretty exciting, the rush of it all. Just meeting him, then his family, and then his friends.

It was the second year for what we now deem our "Annual Neighborhood BBQ". And the house was filled with people!

This year we celebrated the end of summer with the eighth Annual BBQ. It's hard to believe that I have been in South Dakota six years this month. So hard to believe. Time has flown by for us. We have been together those six years, married five years, a beautiful two year old little girl, and lots and lots of memories.

Every year we spend the summer readying our house for the BBQ. It's a really great deadline actually. To get all those house projects done before our big party at the end of July. Especially since in a little over four weeks we should be chopping corn silage.

This year I started cleaning, organizing, and shopping a lot sooner that I have in the past because now I have a very busy two year old. But, even when I fall into bed exhausted by the end of the night, I am so happy we have our party. It's a really great time to reconnect with our neighbors and our friends and to see how everyone's children have grown.

The party gets bigger and bigger every single year, as new people come into our neighborhood, or we get involved in bible studies with new friends. Or friends that live far away are back for the weekend for a visit. This year I would say we had around 50 people. And it was actually a relatively small year for us!

Every year as I plan for the party (I design a new invite every year!) I get excited to see our list of guests grow and it's such a warm reminder for how important it is to simply spend the evening in fellowship. The night is filled with laughter and children's happy screams. It's also really nice to see the farmers in our area enjoy a night off before Harvest!

A little dark, but a picture I took of us right after the first BBQ I helped host as we were newly engaged.Life flies by it really does. Friends are in and out of our lives. Family sometimes lives too close of too far away. But, if anything I have learned since getting married, it's to stop and share life with others. And to simply enjoy those moments and to never taken them for granted!