Saturday, August 05, 2006


The hot-water bottle in my chest (see July 11 post) gets punched at predictable times, such as weekly and monthly anniversaries, but also at completely random times.

Last night we had a bunch of boys here for Ben's birthday party. It seemed like about 50 but I think it was actually only ten. Paul took them camping down by the creek, thus earning some special reward in heaven, I hope.

This morning I was taking these boys home. Drennan informed me that his dad is "running the squeeze" down at the Malpass warehouse, so I can take him there and he'll ride with his dad. (The grass-straw-baling business involves both a 'squeeze' and a 'press.' I think before this stuff gets shipped to Japan it should also go through a 'hug', a 'pinch', and maybe a 'squish.')

Anyway, I drove Drennan to Malpass's, and there was the baling business in full production. Straw blew in the wind, big trucks stacked full of bales drove down the driveway, and Dean in his "squeeze" efficiently moved big cubes of stacked straw bales from here to there.

I dropped Drennan off and left, and suddenly the tears erupted. Leonard's job was baling hay. At the visitation in South Dakota, I had a long talk with a man named Vince who had baled with Leonard just the week before. Vince was a fatherly type with six children in their teens and twenties, and he told how Leonard had seemed very preoccupied that last week. One evening he and Leonard got out to the field but it was still too dry to start working. I guess they always bale at night, because the dew makes the alfalfa less brittle. So Vince and Leonard lay on their backs in the field and watched the stars and waited for the dew to fall. Vince was debating about asking Leonard if something was wrong, but just then Leonard said, "Well, time to get to work." Vince decided Leonard was just tired, as they all were, and didn't pursue the subject.

This is one of a hundred scenes you wish you could rewind and edit and replay, this time with Vince insisting on figuring out what was wrong. But it's done. But I must say, this is a precious picture of Leonard to have in my mind: lying on his back in an alfalfa field, watching the stars, waiting for the dew to fall.


  1. These are the kind of moments that hit us like a massive wave somtimes. I lost my mother in a car accident, and I know about "the hot-water bottle in my chest" feeling.
    I have been blessed by your sharing about the death of Lenny. Although Cliff and I didn't know Lenny well, his parents are dear to us, and Lenny was in the middle of our 2 sons age wise. It has been hard to wrap my mind around their loss, and it makes me want to hang on tight to our sons. But I know that isn't the when I pray for them, I pray for Marcus & Anna as well.
    Thanks for sharing, Dorcas!!


    PS I would have liked to talk to you at the funeral, but didn't seem to have a good opportunity.....

  2. Dorcas, my friend...What a ministry you have, what a precious gift you are giving to all of us.

    And I loved that MWR article. Thanks for posting it.

  3. Sue, it was nice seeing you, even if it was brief. And "Gokum" thanks for the encouragement.

  4. about the birthday party...thanks a million, Paul, for taking the 50 boys camping...and Dorcas for comforting my little daughter when her mom was miles away enjoying her surprise anniversary trip...I hope you get some extra rewards, too. BTW, isn't your anniversary coming very soon????

  5. Dorcas, Dean says he wishes he had a bumper sticker for his squeeze that says "Have you hugged a bale today?" Pauline