How many times has a special event or occasion that we were once looking forward to pass right on by without notice? I felt like I had plenty of time and just like that the day has come and gone. I cannot believe how I missed it again. How many times have I told Patty that next time or next year we will do something no matter what. A cow is calving or needs to be treated. The hay has to be made. A gate or fence needs to be mended. If I repair this tonight, tomorrow should be easier. I thought it would only take another 10 minutes, which turned into at least an hour. I thought I had all the parts I needed, but I am one short. These are a small sample from the book of excuses Patty has repeatedly listened to over the years.  
    I have heard it said over and over, “The older you get the faster time goes.” I never believed that until around the age of 40, but now I believe. After much thought as to why time seems to go by faster each year, I have come to a general conclusion.
    At age 10, one year is 10 percent of your life. At 20, a year reduces to 5 percent of your life. Now into my 50s, a year is reduced again and represents about 2 percent of my life. The older we are privileged to become, the smaller, as a percentage of our life, a year becomes. Incidentally, the goal would be to get one year to be 1 percent of our life, which would mean we reach the age of 100. That goal is a gift from God attained by only a very few, fortunate people. One would be wise to live as if the next year were your last, taking nothing for granted.  
    Throughout our marriage, Patty has been the long-range planner, and I am the short notice type. I think many of our goals and bucket list items are similar. Working as a nurse her entire life has meant planning very articulately, since trading hours and shifts with co-workers is nearly impossible. I, on the other hand, try to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Patty has learned that I have some very good intentions, but circumstances seem to extinguish many of them. Cautiously she agrees, knowing full well that until we are out of the driveway, we are still at home.  
    The weather tends to dictate a farmer’s life and his dependence on God. This year was no exception. We could not enjoy planting because we had to rush in between the frequent rains. The planter stayed on the tractor for nearly seven weeks. We could not cut hay on any schedule due to the wettest spring and summer I can remember. Spraying was difficult resulting in dirty bean fields. The first two weeks in September included 10 inches of rain while trying to do corn silage.
    One signature characteristic of mine is coming up with a reason and bringing people together. Patty and I have experienced the feeling of a house warming. Neighbors surprising us with car after car coming in the driveway honking their horns. We have initiated new neighbors, newlyweds, birthdays and farewells. In the cold of winter, we started shop parties to break up the drudgery of the season. Getting together and sharing stories is energizing and creates lasting memories.
    The older I get the more special certain moments become. For the last 10 years, my approach has been to set a date, put it on the calendar and do it. The work will still be there tomorrow.     
    Post cards were sent to friends and neighbors. A surprise 30th anniversary party was planned for us on a Saturday night. It said a meal would be served at 6 p.m. with a hay ride to follow. Thank goodness they set a date, because it was the first day we could chop corn silage since it had rained 4 inches the Tuesday before. Greg and I began opening up a field. It was going great, but a few things were happening that were not normal. Johnny was loading straw on a hay rack and two-cylinder tractor. My sister Marcia and her family arrived with no warning. Laura had two extra people helping with chores and started early. Car after car drove by slowly. At 6 p.m., we finally stopped chopping to join the party. The kids had surprised us. The day had been perfect. Skies were beautiful with no wind and temperatures in the upper 70s. At 7 p.m., it was time for an old-fashioned hayride. Dad’s 1949 John Deere G had the honor to lead the way. After the ride, nearly everyone stayed around to enjoy the occasion and appreciate the moment. The kids understood the reason to celebrate something important together. So, in the midst of our troubling times, think of something positive to do. It does not have to be a surprise, but you have to set a date and do it for better or worse.
    John Rosenhammer farms with his daughter, Laura Scholtz, and brother, Greg, on Roseview Dairy near Sleepy Eye, Minn. They milk 200 Holsteins and run 580 acres of cropland.