Valley Gardening: Stop by on the 19th

It’s definitely getting colder…but the days have been really wonderful…except when that little biting wind comes along…and then, it is brutal. But on next Friday, the days start getting longer and we can begin thinking spring. In the meantime, wouldn’t it be great to get some snow…and more snow…and more snow. We need it so-o-o bad, like really bad!

I was thinking about an old friend this week, Renee Lobato. Renee was probably my first friend with cancer. She was a young mom who also ran the SLV 4H Fair. She was amazing. I remember selling Xmas wreaths and centerpieces I made in front of the old Safeway. And I also sold Stephany’s Mints. All to help with medical bills. Renee ran the fair while quite pregnant and battling cancer at the same time. If I remember right she limited treatment because of carrying her youngest child. She loved her children!  She loved Nicholas and Jordan.

As I was thinking about the 6th Annual Memories and Reflections celebration we are hosting at the Green Spot on this Wednesday, the 19th, I thought of Renee. In researching I found that she passed away 18 years ago on the 20th –something I hadn’t remembered. 18 years ago….I remember your smile, your determination, your strength. Maybe you are part of the reason we host a fundraiser for the SLV Cancer Relief Fund.

But the date, the 19th, is chosen to honor my Dad, Howard ‘Red’ Iveland. On December 19th Dad would get up early in the morning and hang the American flag. He would say “_____ years ago I was in prison camp.” It was the day he was captured by the Germans and spent the next 5-6 months in brutal conditions. The prisoners were marched every day, to nowhere. Back and forth they were marched. They could NOT take their boots off, EVER. If they took them off they couldn’t get them back on…and it was winter in Germany. Their diet consisted of blackened potato peel soup. When my Dad died unexpectedly from an aneurism, we (family) accepted it and moved on. He was 64. Years later, my sister located other prisoners that were in the camp with him. My Mom was able to meet the survivors. We found out that there were many prisoners who died the same way my Dad did. It was determined that the wearing of boots for months and months wreaked havoc on their circulation. Their early deaths was connected to their service to our country and my Mom was able to receive widow’s benefits 10 years after Dad died. My Dad died fighting for our freedoms. RIP Dad—you are missed every day. 

Everyone in my family knows and understands the 19th of December. We grew up in the VFW in Luverne, MN. The memories are always fresh, and mostly joyous. And honorable. We honor the flag and veterans. We stand for the National Anthem. We give thanks for our freedoms.

My folks were givers in their multiple jobs. School bus drivers, Watkins dealer for years, bus driver for seniors, walking the bean fields, detasseling corn, newspaper routes, managing the HUGE VFW in Luverne, Color Guard for every veteran funeral in Rock County, census takers, mowing lawns, babysitting, and more and more. When folks ask me why I work so much…well…I don’t know any better.  And I love my work. My folks instilled pride in all eight of their kids. We work for what we get and when we can, we give….all my siblings are the same. We are givers. 

I think we are missing the work ethic in our country right now. Work…pride…they go together. When folks get benefits for no work, I don’t know that they can ever truly appreciate where those benefits come from. This isn’t reflective on everyone, but certainly on many that I see on a daily basis in front of my store. Somehow, we need to turn this around—in my humble opinion.

More about hemp—it looks like the Farm Bill is close to passing, if it hasn’t already. This is a huge step forward for the SLV and the country. Every single day I field questions on what Hemp CBD can do for people—I am amazed. I think I have said it before, but it’s worth repeating….know your supplier….as there are beginning to be lots and lots of products that are simply ‘wannabe’s’. It makes me sad, because then folks think CBD isn’t working but the truth is…they got an imitation product. Get educated.

And…I hope to see you on the 19th of December sometime after 6 p.m. It’s going to be a special evening!