RISING SUN - I never thought that the squealing of a startled pig shocked by a hot wire would be such music to my ears. But after more work than it should have been, Chasca got our electric fence up and running–after hanging wire in the hot sun and always volunteering to touch the wire just to make sure the tester was right.
We have wanted to release the rapidly growing piggies into their bigger enclosure for quite some time and I’m as happy as a pig in slop to have finally done so. But, I can’t take much credit. Yeah, I helped scoot the pig tractor a bit and have thrown some slop, but really, Chasca has worked hard to make me and my curly tailed piggies pleased.
I’ve gotten lucky with Chasca and all of the things that always need to be done. Watching him work so hard with me and the kids this weekend getting our old house ready to rent made me think that maybe I should give him a rewrite. Especially now that it’s not so hot and I’m not so ornery.
Clearly, Chasca has been in my cast of characters since the beginning of From the Valley, but, probably much to his happiness for privacy I’ve never written solely about him before.
We met in high school when I was a freshman. I had just come to the school the year before and wasn’t very successful grinding myself into the wheel of teenage social life. I sat alone at the lunch table most every day, until our mutual friend Whitey invited me over to sit with him and Chasca. We all became fast friends and got along well, despite Chasca probably being the quietest person you’d ever met and me never shutting up. I’d help him with school assignments and he’d tell me funny stories and let me sit by him at lunch. What more could a teenage girl want? Our friendship and partnership has always worked well together like that. Easy and comfortable at most every turn.
We stayed friends forever, but never officially dated. A definite case of missed connections, where one or the other was always tangled up in some lackluster relationship. Yet, we made time to hang out and visit and catch up when we could. Eventually, it all worked out and we finally became a couple. It was a funny transition to move from knowing someone as a friend to knowing them as your beloved partner, but we smoothed out the bumps along the road just fine I think.
When we first got together, Chasca was immediately kind and generous to me. I always say he is a better person than me because of his generosity and ability to go without judgement or assumptions about people.
And so when he bought me a five-speed car that I had no worldly idea how to drive, I should have had more confidence in his ability to teach me. I was extremely hesitant to try to learn (and fail repeatedly at) some major new thing in front of my major new boyfriend. However, he diligently took me out on driving lessons on gravel backroads and around Gays Mills practicing my starting and stopping until I was completely confident and able to zip around with ease.
Fast forward, now, some nearly 20 years of friendship and it’s hard to imagine life without him. Perhaps the biggest most unexpected change is that he is ‘The Daddy.’
It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that being ‘The Daddy’ amplifies all of his greatest qualities that laid in wait under his quiet personality. The same quiet confidence he taught me how to drive with he now instills in our kids. Never the one to get overly frustrated or yell. He is also easily much more fun than me. I am truly the giver of comfort, reader of stories teacher of spelling and Chasca is the climber of trees, pretend to be a wild bull, explorer in the woods best fun dad.
It’s not so often that someone picks up all of the best parts of their lifetime and leaves the bad at the door, in the way Chasca does so effortlessly.All of us who know the hardworking, gentle, quiet and funny guy are lucky to have that opportunity. He makes me want to be kinder, less judgmental and definitely better with hand and power tools. And I like to think I am at least just a tiny bit (extra tiny bit with the tools!), but at the very least I know Bop and Thatch will continue to take after ‘The Daddy’ more and more every day.