I grew up on a farm in western Kansas. My family are generational grain farmers. June is the time for winter wheat harvest, or as I learned, the time to make assembly line sandwiches for those hard-working combine drivers. Liverwurst was my all-time favorite, served with a thick tomoato slice hot from the garden, salty potato chips and a crisp apple. The years all seemed to blend together, lining up the bread, applying the Miracle Whip, except for that one. That was the year my brother brought home a baby deer.
This was a twin deer, the other’s life cut short by the combine blades. Such is farm life.
Charlie meant more to me than just having an unusually charming pet. Charlie connected me to nature, linked my heart to the smell of the earth, to all of creation that speaks in soft whispers. During my awkward 8th grade year, Charlie brought me profound joy. My heart weeps in melancholy as I reflect on his impact and only now understand the depth of the gift that I was given by his presence.
Those who have the opportunity to drive across Kansas typically feel that the state is quite blasé. Growing up only 10 miles from I-70 in desert climate, my perspective was quite different. After all, I had the best pet ever.