While my grandsons picked up clippings from our long overdue fence line clT-49ean-up, I began to think back to my early teen years. I told them this story.

 When I was about your age, maybe a bit younger, I worked for several farmers. With a group of other teenage boys, I would walk through the farmer’s soy bean fields. Our task was to cut all the volunteer corn and weeds out of the beans. Hoes in hand, we would begin in the early morning while it was cool and walk row after row of beans. Sometimes the gang was large. Sometimes small. On occasion, the farmer would walk the beans with us. More often, he would drop us off and do what farmers do early in the morning. About the time we were on the last rows, the farmer would return. He leaned against the side of his truck and watched us work. I always wondered how it felt to be the farmer and watch us do his job.

Today, I found out. I watched the boys cut the brush. I watched them carry it to my truck. I watched them load branch after branch. I watched as one of them stomped the cuttings down, compacting them so we could make fewer trips to the mulching station at the city treatment facilities. (They mulch them and add it to the dehydrated slurry to make compost.) I told them I now know how the farmer felt. I was proud of my grandsons as they put aside their differences and worked together to accomplish a task. I was relieved that the task was being accomplished before my Stem Cell Transplant, SCT. I was especially happy that they were doing it sort of as a birthday present to me. (I’m 68 today!)

My grandsons only made one mistake. They admitted that they were going to their other grandparents to paint an outside wall. I smiled really big and looked at my wife. “You can do some painting around here next.” They groaned.

An old friend of mine (I took her to the Jr/Sr. prom as a junior in high school) texted me wishing me a happy birthday. We texted back and forth for a few minutes. She commented that it was hard to believe we graduated 50 years ago. I don’t know how that could be. I don’t feel old enough to have walked down that aisle, cap and gown adorning my youthful body, 50 years ago. Surely Alice was wrong.

She told me her grandson was getting his SCT in early June. She said, “Nigel … will be 17 July 30. He has aplastic anemia with PNH (bone marrow failure). It is a rare disease and the only cure is a stem cell transplant.”  That’s way too young. When you think of me, remember Nigel as well. We both need your prayers. Just think. He and I will both have birthdays and rebirthdays within a few days of each other. That’s what most of the SCT recipients call the day they receive their donor stem cells.

Hmmmm. I wonder if I get gifts on May 22 AND July 11 from now on. It’s just a thought.

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